I knew Trav and I weren’t quite off the hook once we finished the DIY Fireplace – we knew we needed to revisit the entire design of the family room to make sure we made our “why” a reality.
Of course, this new gorgeous AND functional statement piece was key. Even when there’s no fire crackling, the tiled hearth orients us toward each other and group activities like board games rather than TV time.
But I wanted to ensure that the entire room would intentionally foster that quality family time, from the perfectly-sized sofa to furniture placement to window treatments.
Here were my big takeaways from my Family Room Refresh.
Sofas – the ultimate challenge in balancing looks and function! For our family, we knew we needed a durable fabric that could stand up to romping and snacking and this fabric is super durable yet soft. In terms of color, I fell in love with this gray shade (you know I love a good gray!).
It serves as a warm neutral but with a nubby linen texture to create some visual interest. For the lines of the sofa, I needed to thread the needle of interesting but not distracting from the statement piece tile and comfortable while still elegant.
To add some complementary patterns and contrast here I added these pillows from Elsie that are handcrafted right here in So Cal.
An important key for sofa comfort is seat depth! Some designers suggest a range of 20-24” but I find 20” way too shallow! Feels more like an office waiting area type of sofa. For homes, I like to go between 24-27” deep. I found the Pottery Barn Jake Sofa with wood base and it was the perfect depth for a petite person like me!
My legs were not hanging off the end and yet it was deep and cozy. This style is great too because of the unique wood trim. It adds an extra touch that makes the piece feel coastal but not overly fussy or fancy.
Once the sofa was decided, the coffee table is next! Since the hardwood floors are dark and the statement tile wall is busy, I wanted something reflective. A glass coffee table seemed just right.
With the Pottery Barn Leona table, it gave me an extra layer to decorate but nothing feels heavy. The size looks bigger in images, it was perfect for a small space living room.
And to accent everything, these Rejuvenation end tables are sleek and simple. I can see them in my home forever.
Image Credit: Rejuvenation
Of course, I love rugs! Initially, I wanted the blue Rejuvenation rug I used in the Real Simple Home 2019 living room. I absolutely fell in love with it in NYC! But it proved to be way too busy of a pattern and it clashed with the tile wall – such a bummer!
Not gonna lie, I panicked for a good three days. I even almost regretted the tile if it was going to prevent me from adding beautiful rugs in this room – layered rugs are one of my design must-haves.
But I took a deep breath decided to take the situation as an exciting design opportunity. What pattern would play nice with our bold, statement piece tile? When I found this Rejuvenation rug with a muted palette and LARGER pattern, it fit the bill perfectly.
Image Credit: Rejuvenation
And by layering it under a jute rug, I gave myself the flexibility to switch it up as often as I like! The key lesson here is playing with the scale of patterns.
When you have a busy wall, look for subtle, muted tones with a pattern of a different scale to complement rather than compete.
If you’re feeling stumped, also lean on the brands you love – Rejuvenation and Pottery Barn both have designers who can help you pick the perfect pairing. And remember it’s all going to be okay 🙂
LIGHTING + DECOR
My reason for this family room refresh is to foster more conversations and interactions and less TV time. I definitely think I achieved that goal through a mix of decor and architectural interest.
Of course, lighting is a big part of that! But all lighting isn’t created equal. Here I focused on creating multiple sources of soft ambient lighting, from the Rejuvenation sconces to the beautiful clay table lamps, signaling our brains to “come to the light,” sit down, and relax.
The mirror is another design surprise that I reveled in! When designing it, there was a small part of me that feared it would overwhelm the wall. But in person, it is CUSTOM. Even though it technically isn’t.
It matches so well that everyone thought it was made for the wall. Nope! This proves that proportion is always key and daring to go a little big is fun and the payback is ten-fold.
One design element that often goes undervalued is window treatments. Usually, they’re installed as a practical matter for privacy. However, I have learned as a designer that the right window treatments can completely warm up the space and add design just by virtue of visually bringing your eye up!
Your brain translates that vertical height as something tall, grand, and refined. Then it sends the message to you that the room is special and you want to be in it more! This is what the Pottery Barn Emery linen drapes did for the family room.
Gone were the wood slat blinds that were SO heavy to pull up every day, physically and energetically dragging us down. Whew!
Lastly the infamous corner. This corner was the bane of my existence since moving in. Now with the symmetrical window punched out, it’s as if there never was a problem!
This is proof that when a design dilemma can’t be solved by styling, you have to double down and go for the construction design. It’s proven out in my own home and for my clients!
I wanted to make the most of this new and improved space with this super comfy West Elm chair. I actually designed this chair for the Real Simple Idea Home 2019 and when I sat in it in NYC, I was sold! It’s slim-lined so it can go anywhere, even in a small studio.
Even though my home is 2100 square feet, the design isn’t always smart. So I’ve had to utilize small space living techniques over our ten years in this space. That is why the West Elm ottomans work so well too!
When space is at a premium, it can serve as extra seating or even a mini coffee table. When there are no people around, it acts as a comfy accent and cozies up the spaces you don’t know what to do with.
That’s a wrap on our family room reveal! This project really has everything and perfectly showcases how a combination of construction design and interior design through furniture, textiles, and plants is the way to go! Now my family can sit here and talk to each other, play games, and watch movies with ample seating. No one is left on the floor or feels like they rather spend time in their room (insert teenager here).