Family Rooms

Which room is the family room anyway?  These days rooms are multi-tasking, so this question isn't as silly as it sounds.  Older homes tend to have a formal living room and a den, while the newer, modern homes have a 'great room' which combines a family room and living room.  So, the family room specifically is an informal, all-purpose room usually used for recreation.  So how do you decorate this room to make it a pleasant, special place for the family to come together and enjoy themselves?  It presents challenges, particularly if you are decorating a family room on a budget.

Create a Focal Point

Whatever makes your family room stand out should be the main focal point. So, if you have a beautiful painting or a stunning fireplace, accent it with lighting or furniture arrangements that draw the eye to this feature.

Try not to make the television set the focal point of your family room - we all know it really is, but you don't have to advertise it!  If you have a big, old bulky TV - use an entertainment center so you can hide it when you have guests.  The flat screens are much nicer to work into a decor, as they are not so obtrusive and don't take up so much room. Either way, just try not to have it as the first thing you see when someone enters the room.


Two things to keep in mind when furnishing your family room are comfort and durability.  Must-haves for family rooms are:

  • A comfortable durable sofa and/or soft large chairs that you can relax in
  • Plenty of tables to set drinks on
  • A table to play games on
  • A television with a cabinet, preferably with doors so it can be closed off when not in use
  • Lighting that can be adjusted for function
  • Plenty of storage space for books, games and toys

Large Family Rooms

If you think decorating a small family room on a budget is difficult, decorating a larger family room or great room inexpensively is even more of a challenge.  Keep the following in mind when planning your decorating project or budget makeover for your family's larger space:

  • Divide the space up into different areas with furniture – don’t place your furniture around the walls in the room. 
  • Create little areas for specific tasks within the room. 
  • If you have a fireplace, create a seating area around it. 
  • Make a play area for kids in another portion of the room with a table for them and places for their toys.
  • Create a seating area for watching television.
  • Make sure there are plenty of places to put snacks and drinks - the old Southern rule is everyone seated should be able to reach a spot to place their drink.

Keep these tips in mind when decorating a family room, and remember, your ultimate goal is to make your family room a place that you will all remember as a warm, inviting gathering place where life was lived and memories made.