An important shift in home design trends in the last few years has been the conscious effort to use design as a way to ‘bring the family together’. With busy modern lifestyles, fast-paced urban life and smartphones that leave us spending more time online than with the people around us, it is an attempt that one cannot fault. The advent of the social kitchen has been one such successful addition, as it turns the heart of the home into a thriving hub for the entire family. Yet, the classic family room still has a unique aura of its own that is undeniable. And it is one of the best ways to bring your family together at every possible opportunity.
Creating the perfect family room is more about personal choices than sticking to a set template. Relaxed, stylish and functional, the modern family room reflects the taste and preferences of your entire family. Here are a few simple tips that will help you in getting it right –
1. Know Your Family!
A smart family room serves a multitude of purposes, or it can be custom-created to fulfill one specific task. Most family rooms assume the appeal of an informal living space with plenty of opportunity for conversation and interaction. It can be a place where the kids can get their homework done as you knock off some work you brought home, a TV hub for the family to enjoy its favorite show together or a space where the weekend fun and games begin! As we head into fall and winter, it also is a perfect alternative to the outdoor lounge that is too chilly to be fun anymore.
Despite its varied uses, it is important to know what each person in your family enjoys before crafting this space. Otherwise, you might have two or three pretty bored souls who will quickly feel like they are imprisoned here. Talk to everyone before crafting the family room. (Achieving a consensus might be harder than in politics on Capitol Hill, so give it time!)
2. Connected with the Kitchen
A room that is connected with the kitchen is one of the best ways to approach the design of a trendy family room. The space can be used for breakfast and dinner in the weekdays and can be used as a happening hub once the weekend rolls in. You can add a little dining area in the corner that is close to the kitchen, and this really allows you to keep an eye on the little ones while cooking. The other end of the family room can open up towards the backyard or the view outside to give the entire area a cozy yet open appeal. When it comes to shaping the ideal activity zone, it is hard to beat this style!
3. Cool Color Scheme
The color scheme and style of the room are very similar to the living area in most cases. You want a relaxing ambiance that lets everyone relax and let down their guard. Dark spaces are not always the best choice for a fun family room, even if they seem great visually thanks to the sense of sophistication that they lend. Stick to warm or cool neutrals with pops of bright colors to enliven the area. A lovely book collection, the best toys in the house, wall art or even simple additions like throw pillows will get the job done with ease. If you wish to use bright backdrops, do not employ more than two or three different colors in the room.
4. Informal and Versatile
One of the first qualities to look for in a good family room is the placement of seating in a way that encourages eye contact and interaction. Even if you do have a TV in the room, ensure that it does not become the focal point. Also think about every member in the house while picking the couch and other loungers. It is best to have a variety of seating choices giving everyone a favorite spot of their own. A couple of stools, a smart lounger, a low-back chair and an ottoman along with the couch; feel free to mix and match!
5. Bringing the Folk Together
So what does each member of your family like? If your Friday nights are centered around a favorite show that the family enjoys together (or most members do), then opt for a television that can be hidden away most of the other time. A beautiful fireplace, a more secluded niche in the room of the booklover in the family and a gaming zone are all great choices. Again, ‘family time’ need not feel forced, and while having a teen always makes the whole affair harder (it does), even teens might join in on the fun on football night!
6. Style and Storage
The theme of your family room can be a natural extension of your home, but that can seem all too common. Instead we suggest taking a different route by giving it a special style or theme that makes it unique and irreplaceable in the house. For instance, if you have a home with modern or eclectic styles, simply bring in a beach style space that reminds everyone of their favorite holiday last summer. Or maybe you would prefer a tropical-style family room that brings back the memories of a rare, amazing holiday in Hawaii.
By giving the room an aura of its own, you give everyone another reason not to dig into their own rooms in the house. Personal memorabilia from such trips also lends an inimitable personality to the family room. Complete it with warm lighting, and you have a cozy, inviting space that appeals to pretty much everyone.
7. Finding Additional Space
Of course, the biggest complaint that we get from our readers is about how they would love a huge family room, but simply do not have the space. Try revamping your attic or basement into a family room, if you have one filled with old, unused junk and cobwebs! Some creative homeowners are also happy to give their garage a makeover that turns it into a snazzy gathering spot for friends and family. And if all else fails, then a simple corner next to the kitchen and dining areas can be used as a family zone.
Some people like a family room that is akin to a sports bar, while others detest presence of a TV or any electronics. Remember that there is no ‘one solution that fits all’, and do not be afraid to break away from the mold to shape a family area of your choice.