Family Room Makeover Series
It has been twelve years since I designed my family room. Those of you who follow us may be familiar with this photo –
But now I will let you in on a secret – it is my own family room. Even though this photo continues to be added to inspiration idea books on Houzz and Pinterest as recently as I write this… I’m ready for an update. With the new year comes this new project and I thought I would bring you along through the process of how to think like a designer each step of the way.
We are going to start at the beginning and it will take a while. Good design always does.
Before the first fabric or accessory is selected, the function of the room needs to be defined and the types of furniture requirements thought through.
Let’s go back to 2009 -
When I designed this room twelve years ago, I had three high schoolers and seating was my main focus for our family room that opens to the kitchen. This space was and still is the “heart of our home”. Back then, this room had to accommodate five adults and I was determined to make sure my teenagers could be comfortable hanging with us.
These were my requirements for this room:
- Seating for 8. With any luck my kids would add a plus one at some point and I wanted to make sure the room could easily adapt from 5 to 8.
- “Lay Down” space. Both my husband and I like to put our feet up when sitting on a sofa and luckily, after 35 years, we still like to sit next to each other. An occasional nap is a necessity, and I needed an adaptable spot that we could be comfortable and close.
- Good Lighting. This room has a common 1990’s architectural feature of a 2-story ceiling so lighting this room without shadow was tricky. I knew I needed to triangulate the light and have the right shades and wattage to adequately light the room for tasks.
- Landing space – Not only did we need a spot to land a cup of coffee, (or glass of wine), but also the countless electronics that lived in this room. Laptops, ipads, and phones needed a spot to land and recharge but still be available for easy access.
- Maximize the view - Our house angles into a small pond in the back and it has always been my favorite window exposure. The nature and water are so calming, it was not a question for me that we would face the view when sitting in our furniture.
My first selection was a long sofa with a chaise end to anchor the tallest wall. This large piece would give good weight to the tall wall and allow us to watch TV together while both being able to lay down if desired. When the house is full it would accommodate four people comfortably.
Adjacent to the long sofa, I added a loveseat for another couple seating area. This also gave room for a third lounge position.
Two swivel chairs flank the fireplace for a little individual seating and a cozy way to spin around and face the fire or look at the pond.
Adding lamps and end tables took care of the landing and lighting wish list. New end tables (updated since this photo – see below) provide a spot for a lamp and cup along with an open shelf for easy electronic storage and cords.
A little drawer is handy for all kinds of things including extra remotes, pens, coupons. The original end tables you see in this photo became nightstands in the master bedroom. Once your home has a good consistent stylistic flow, you can move things around and repurpose with ease.
It took four lamps instead of three to get this room lit adequately. The usual design “rule of thumb” is to triangulate light (place fixtures in a triangle shape around the room) but with the ceiling height and how difficult it was to keep this room from feeling shadowy, I added a fourth lamp to solve the problem. High wattage bulbs and open white shades also help to maximize the light.
Fast forward twelve years and I am looking at this room as a clean slate. Being in the design field, I love the idea of something completely different, so I set out to redefine my new requirements for this room.
- Seating for 8 - Well, this did not change – I just now can put names to the three in-laws.
- “Lay Down” space - This is still a requirement even though there are only 2 of us most of the time.
- Lighting -same room – still needs good light.
- Landing space – Maybe just a little less, but we still need good spots for laptop and ipad.
- Maximize the view – even after twelve years, I choose the view to the pond over the street so the orientation of the furniture in the room will stay put.
I spent a few weeks thinking about different configurations I could do in this room, different pieces, different layouts, my chance to change it up. After multiple floor plans, I decided it is not going to change. Believe me, I wanted to change it but every new alternative I came up with eventually went by the wayside because I really thought it through completely the first time and … It works.
Because I design for a living, I do have to make a few changes. I’m going to tweak the floor plan in the following way to get us ready for the next twelve years.
The new sofa and loveseat are going stay in the same spot. Swapping the chaise end of the sofa for a coffee table/ottoman combination will free up space for slightly larger swivel/glider chairs in front of the fireplace. Recapturing about a foot of length on the sofa will scoot the loveseat a little closer to the TV. The loveseat will now become a “condo sofa” which is a new sofa size that falls between a traditional loveseat and sofa. A single bench cushion will make the loveseat comfy to lay down on and provide a little extra landing space to squeeze in my two new grandsons arriving in 2021.
The lighting and end tables will be updated but will stay where they are.
This tried-and-true layout that works like a charm will have a fresh look in a few months. Follow this family room makeover series on the blog for the next steps and final reveal.
We are all spending a lot more time at home now. Does your space work for you?
If you’re ready to start a project today and would like our help, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call 224-678-9040. We can help.
Cheers to a new look in 2021!
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