What’s the most exciting thing about moving to a new home or upgrading an existing one? It’s imagining how the family will experience it together. Creating the perfect family room starts with imagining a space that everyone will love, regardless of age.
It’s a place for laughter and conversation, for curling up together on cold nights and for playing together on sunny afternoons. It’s a place for taking photographs that will be treasured for years, and for making memories that will never leave. it’s important to take the time to get it right.
From the ground up
Family rooms need soft flooring. Babies ad young children will want to roll around on it and older children will often want to sit there, or to wrestle. Wooden flooring with a large rug can look beautiful but create a potential trip hazard. Soft carpeting in a warm but neutral color is best, allowing for lots of flexibility in designing the rest of the room. It can be brightened up with smaller rugs which are easy to replace as children’s tastes change.
This should be a relaxing room and not overbearing, so neutral unfussy walls are a good idea, but a single feature wall painted in a warm, bright color or covered in striped wallpaper can add character. Small subsections of wall such as the space above the fireplace are a great place to put clusters of family photographs in different sized frames.
The right light
Lighting is essential to making a room like this feel welcoming. Having several different lamps makes it possible to adjust the tone of the light at night, and LED bulbs allow for subtle changes in color to be created at the touch of a button. Softening the light in the evening and giving it a rosy tint will help children to feel naturally sleepy at the right time.
In the daytime, bright light feels good, and plantation shutters make a great alternative to curtains, helping to declutter windows and let the light stream in. They provide great insulation when closed and they can easily be painted to match other features in the room.
A family room should be a comfortable room, but not everybody in the family will find comfort in the same kinds of seating. Where there is an older relative living in the home or frequently visiting, for instance, it’s a good idea to have a taller, firmer chair reserved for them.
Most younger adults like soft sofas and armchairs they can sink into or cuddle up on, and children like things like pouffes and beanbags which feel the right size for them. Having moveable seating is useful for those occasions when everybody wants to gather round the coffee table to share a light meal or play a board game.
Keeping books in the family room is a great way to encourage children to read, showing that reading is something people do when they’re relaxing together. Shelves should be solidly built – a great excuse to choose high-quality real wood – and bolted to the wall to avoid accidents with kids who like to climb.
For larger scale storage of items the family will use together, such as board games, ottomans are ideal because they can double as window seats, helping children climb up to get a good view of the outside world. There should be space in the family room for a few favorite toys but not too many, or it will be difficult to keep the floor from being covered in them.
TV and music
Most people want a big television for the family room, for watching programs, streaming films and playing games. A wall-mounted screen is ideal because there’s no risk of it being pulled over, but careful though will still need to be given to how devices like Blu-ray players and games consoles are attached, with no cables hanging down low if there are young children in the household. Good-quality speakers enhance the experience and are also good for playing music, but surround sound can scare young children and they’ll need to get used to it.
If there’s space for it in the family room, having a piano is a wonderful way to encourage children to create their own music, it’s relatively hard for boisterous children to damage and it adds a touch of elegance. A well-designed family room combines the kind of style that makes it an appealing place to entertain guests with the warmth and personality that belongs at the heart of the family home.