Creating a Friendly Family Room

Flooring Hardwood floors are beautiful, but not very cozy. Area rugs come in all shapes, sizes and designs to match your décor. Wool area rugs wear really well, but today's nylon fibers are very sturdy and stain resistant.   Just remember, dark backgrounds show more dirt.   As for carpeting -berbers and loops are great at hiding dirt, but not pet friendly. Cut piles and velvets will lend a more formal look to a family room. Frieze and shag rugs are very popular because they hide dirt, obscure footprints and vacuum well.   Just watch the rotator bar on the vacuum for the longer shags.



Get furniture that's comfortable and sturdy, with a stain resistant fabric or leather. Some companies offer furniture warrantees...I'm not a fan of spending the extra money, but if you have active children, a warrantee might be worth the investment.   Make sure the furniture has kiln-dried hardwood frames and inspect the legs.They should be heavy, made of wood, and jointed to the frame of the sofa or chair, not nailed. Look for a sofa with a fifth leg in the middle as it provides extra support. Check the springs -for a firm seat, look for one with traditional coiled springs. If you want a softer feel, go with zigzag coils. And finally, test the cushions. Look for firm, fully covered cushions (where the fabric matches on both sides) because they'll last longer and wear evenly because you can flip them over every few months.


Make sure there's plenty of storage. In this room, the client used lateral filing cabinets painted a crisp white topped with a laminate countertop. Add stock cabinets from a big box store and voila! Now she has a home office, homework station and craft center all in one. End tables with drawers or shelves (consider a night stand) wicker baskets, storage ottomans -all are great for throws, magazines and kids' toys.   Consider setting up a charging station in a drawer or on a shelf for cellphones, tablets and other electronics.

Window treatments

Pair blinds or shades with a valance for a finished look. Consider room darkening fabrics if TV glare is an issue. Two story family room windows? No problem - motorize the upper shades and use childsafe cordless shades on the lower windows to save money.



Make sure there's overhead, ambient and task lighting. To encourage your children to read, create a special reading nook. When my boys were younger, I had a low bookshelf stocked with their favorites and a bean bag chair with a desk lamp in the corner of the family room. For adult readers, fill a nice sunny corner with a comfy chair, ottoman and a three- way floor lamp.

Artwork and accessories

Consider framing some of your children's art work or find artwork that speaks to you. Enlarge your favorite family photos and print them on canvas. These are affordable easy to do on websites like Shutterfly or even Costco.