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Do This (Not That!) With Your Family Room Decor

Four tips (and mistakes to avoid) to maximize the living room’s more informal cousin: the family room.



Is there really a difference between the living room and family room? We say yes, and that getting your family room’s design just right is imperative to its purpose.

The living room can sometimes have a more ceremonial feel than its “family” counterpart. In the Victorian era, the living room acted as the home’s formal display space—the interiors’ “best foot forward,” if you will.

More recently, though, another gathering space has garnered attention for its more informal (and, funnily enough, livable) nature: the family room, a space that is less about making a good first impression to guests and more about spending time with—you guessed it—your family.

In their book “Peeking Through the Keyhole,” authors Avi Friedman and David Krawitz explain this distinction in more detail: “In the years following the Second World War, new spaces were created to accommodate activities unsuited to a formal living room or parlor.” These spaces included "the family room, outfitted with a television and with furniture that could actually be used by children, an informal place where people could relax and spread out."

The family room is where we watch our favorite movies, play board games, and gather around the fireplace. It is where we go to be truly comfortable—and to connect and unwind with our closest loved ones.

Here are four tips (and mistakes to avoid) to create a room in your Colorado home that is a tad more durable than your formal living space—ready for genuine family-bonding time.

DO THIS: Find a focal point. If available, let the fireplace and a view of the mountains take center stage. Arrange your furniture in a way that promotes the way you and your family prefer to relax. If you’re movie buffs, arrange a comfy sectional around the big-screen TV. If you love playing games, arrange swivel chairs around a game table.

NOT THAT: If your “focal point” prevents you and your family from enjoying the space—and causes you to move to other rooms for TV time, for example—then rethink it.

DO THIS: Add artwork. Your family room, while informal, shouldn’t be without flair. Artwork is a great way to reflect your personality—and your favorite work of art can serve as inspiration for a color scheme.

NOT THAT: If you love watching the big game, then don’t hang a largescale piece of art in the spot where the TV is best suited. If you’re hoping to have your small children enjoy the space with you, then rethink any freestanding sculptures. Never sacrifice function for personal style—especially in the family room.

DO THIS: Decorate in layers. Position furniture and accessories at different heights; high, medium, and low layers will add balance to the room. Make use of different shapes and scaled objects so the eye is encouraged to look at elements up, down, and around.

NOT THAT: While minimalism is in, don’t skimp on maximizing texture. Nothing speaks more to comfort than cozy textures—and one can never have too many throw blankets.

DO THIS: Make a list of words that you want associated with this room, then pair those words with colors that come to mind to create the perfect setting.

NOT THAT: Don’t get so aspiration with your “feel good” color palette that you’ve created a space where you’re afraid to curl up with a glass of wine or cup of hot chocolate because you went with all-white.

Brent Simon is one of the owners at Colorado Style Home Furnishings, a South Denver retail furniture showroom that offers over an acre of fine furnishings and accessories. View their profile or contact one of the Colorado Style Home Furnishings experts at (303) 741-4240.

Content for this article provided by Colorado Style Home Furnishings.

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