First…this is not the living room….no formal seating, no boring adult design. The family room is one place the whole family can comfortably gather. Pull up a chair….or a pillow, flop down on the sofa or stretch out on the floor. Anyone who walks in the family room should feel an open invitation to relax and play, and to accomplish this feeling takes five key family room design essentials.
Key #1 – FOCUS
Family room design starts with finding the room’s focus or purpose asking “who, what, where, when and why.” Who will use the room and why? What will it be used for? When will it be used? Where will it be located? Decide which activities are most important to family togetherness, consider ages and interests, and plan accordingly.
Key #2 – SPACE
Once focus is decided, how to use the space is next. Think versatility. Successful family rooms are open areas divided into zones, each accommodating different activities. Some zones could foster togetherness like watching movies, playing games, having lively conversation, or enjoying a snack. Other zones could support independent activities like reading, relaxing, or computer use.
Key #3 – FINISHES
Think “low-maintenance”. Any room with heavy use and lots of activity with generate messes and spills (if food is allowed). Find fabrics that are durable, stain resistant, and easy to clean. Same with walls and floors. (See Kids’ Room Flooring Essentials for best floor materials to use.)
All furniture surfaces should wipe down quickly and avoid glass topped anything in the family room….who wants to worry about fingerprints and water rings!
Key #4 – FURNITURE
Keep it comfortable. No stiff backed chairs here. Think plush, soft, and cushy….and plenty of seating clustered by activity. Versatility here also if space is tight with pillows that can be stacked when not in use, storage that doubles as seating, or soft floor coverings for lounging.
Family rooms accumulate clutter quickly. Activity appropriate organized storage is the secret to a neat, clutter-free family room. Ok….responsibility is important too, but if you want the kids to clean up, they need a place to put stuff.
Key #5 – LIGHTING
Proper lighting, usually forgotten or neglected, is essential for any family room activity from reading to crafting to playing games to watching TV. Light levels should be flexible for each zone. Can’t play if you can’t see.
If you use all five design essentials, your family room will be the star room of your home! Any of these photos make you want to relax a while?
For other posts in the Family Room Design Series see:
- Family Room Design Essentials
- Family Room Design: Tots to Kids
- Family Room Design: Tweens to Teens
- Family Room: Kids’ Media Central
- Family Room Noise Control