How to Make Your Family Room Family-Friendly

fullsize-family-room-with-logoThe time has come to replace our family room furniture. I would like to blame it on my kids, but this time the redesign is a result of shoddy material and a cheap ‘leather’ couch that was actually just leather-looking. For the last several months I resorted to covering the couch with blankets and encouraging the kids not to pick pieces off, but  now that I’m embarrassed for people to even see the sofa, it’s time. 

Redesigning a room is always fun, but especially when you have a qualified colleague who can help you! Not only was the sofa and matching chair too big for the room, the dark color combined with the dark side of the house made this main living area downright depressing. I tried rearranging and adding lighter area rugs but nothing seemed to brighten things up the way I hoped. I’m anxious to get Barbara in there to transform the space!

All the furniture in this photo will stay, but also take note of the mantle and built-in book cases that need some attention. Like many families, toys tend to take over most of our spaces, which is OK, as long as they all have a home at the end of the day.


This is the other side of the room. As you can see it’s quite a big space, but behind the kitchen and family room is a retaining wall which makes this room the darkest in the house. Our cabinets aren’t terribly dark, but they aren’t light either, so I almost always have accent lights on in the kitchen.

The Challenge:


I would like to keep the budget under $2000. While I realize this is ambitious, I’m confident and excited to try some new DIY projects and explore some affordable furniture options. In that budget I would like to include: a sofa, a chair and ottoman, curtains, at least one additional piece of lighting, a new rug and some decorative additions to bring it all together.


My theme is obviously functionality, but because we spend the most time in this room and it’s in the back of the house, I would love insight on how to make the room as light as possible. I had a couple electricians give me estimates on four new can lights but it was over $1000 which would blow the budget, so we’ll look at some DIY options first. 

Durable and safe

With an 11, 7, 3, and 1 year old our furniture needs to be durable, but not so expensive that I will spend time being concerned that they or their friends will damage or destroy it. Of course I want the room to look good, but its first job will be to offer seating and a friendly and usable area for my family and friends. Safety is also a concern so we will avoid sharp edges, glass, poisonous plants, and things that are not child-proofed. 

Aesthetically Pleasing

One of the challenges I have in every room of our home is putting the room together so that the whole house flows well, but so that it’s also functional and not too much of a ‘hodge-podge’ of things arranged ‘just because.’ I will ask Barbara to help me arrange the framed photos, books and accessories so that the wall looks clean and organized, but also allows us to change pictures and accessories with the seasons. I am also looking for some creative ideas for the green wall… I am not a fan of photo collages on walls but I would really like to incorporate my kids in some way on that wall. We will also need to replace the family photo above the fireplace because it’s missing our new little guy, James. 

I would love to hear your ideas! Please comment or e-mail us with what you love about your family room and what you would change. Post a photo of your family room on our fan page, maybe we’ll feature it in a future post! Look for updates on our Instagram account too: @YesSpaces.


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  1. How exciting – I look forward to see the redesigned space.

    I am pretty happy with our living room – it would be nice if it’d be a little large but that would involve an entire new house :)

  2. I have no interior design skills, but I have to say one of the things I love about having different color storage ottomans is that we use it as extra seating to pull out when we have guests but we also hide things in them!

  3. My family room is cat safe. :) It’s a nice space, too. If I can find pictures I’ll be happy to share. I did a big kitchen/great room remodel in 2008, and it was on the Tour of Remodeled Homes, spotlighted on Drew Carney in the morning in PDX. It was also on HGTV’s Rate My Space as an inspiration room.

  4. Sounds exciting! It’s always fun to get a fresh new version of the rooms in our homes. I have NO decorating skills (as in my house is monochromatic… tan walls, tan ceilings, tan flooring, tan furniture… only color is my photography on the wall! LOL) Excited to see what you do!!

  5. i can’t offer too much advice as i haven’t gone through any re-dos of my space. but i will say, i live in a small apartment i am focused on light. all of my furniture is in either a natural, light wood or a grey (couch). the grey hides a lot like cat hair, people hair, smudges, etc. the wood wears well! i also make sure to have neutral blankets, rugs, pillows, etc. they hide dirt as well but don’t darken the space! my jute rug has been an awesome space addition that has lived really well in our space with minimal wear and tear

  6. What an exciting project! Can’t wait to follow along, please keep us posted on the progress.

  7. I think a section against the wall with the lamp and out in the opening would make it cozier and provide needed seating in a room that you use a lot. A light at the end of the section on the wall could be the floor one you already have. You could put a floor lamp next to the windows (closer to the kitchen side) as well. Curtains for sure. Something simple with the rod stretched all the way across the 3 windows. I’d even take the rod to the ceiling…it will make the room look that much bigger. And since they’re decorative curtains, have them overlap the wall more than the window – giving the appearance of a larger window wall. What about the shelving/fireplace? Random ideas for you. :) Have fun and good luck!