Before: Unorganized Family RoomMost of us have one room in our home that's a catch-all for just about everything -- TV-watching, reading, storage, pet lounge, game room and so on. And for most of us, it's horribly disorganized and really doesn't manage to serve even one of those purposes properly.
In this client's family room, I was faced with just such a challenge. The sunken family room was just off the kitchen and had a door that led to the back deck. The space served a mishmash of masters, from being the only spot in the house for the kids to watch TV to being the pet zone for the family budgie and guinea pig. There was constant traffic going through here, and all the leftover furniture from the rest of the house was retired to this spot.
The result was a cluttered, unorganized and unattractive space that cried out with potential.
I decided I needed to start with a clean palette in order to configure an organization plan for the room, so I moved out all the old furniture (some of it permanently), books, games, pets and people. This gave me clean access to the walls, floor and windows.
After: Functional Family RoomI started out by repainting the walls a rich burnt butter color. This complimented the tiled floor, which my clients had installed previously. The wrap-around windows all had California shutters, which gave the space a very busy and chopped-up look. I softened the effect by adding canopy-style valances to the top in a colorful striped pattern. This also tricks the eye into believing that the windows are taller than they really are, in effect raising the ceiling height as well.
Seating in here was key. I had a built-in corner bench made that was covered with overstuffed, comfy cushions in a soft cotton fabric that worked with the valances. The fabric's pattern is also great for kids and pets, as it'll hide stains and other mishaps well. For additional storage, I made sure the bench had a hinged lid which would be easily reached, making it a great place to hide games and toys.
I didn't want to overcrowd the space with too much furniture, so I only brought in one side console table with fitted baskets that slide out and open space for our budgie cage and guinea pig home. A small coffee table was placed in the middle of the room and a wicker rocker was set to the side, under which I lay large grass mat.
This touch of the tropics was enhanced by a large ceiling fan hung in the middle of the room. Two pedestals with gorgeous flower arrangements flanked the door to the back yard and gave the entrance some importance.
All it takes is some creative organization and a few designer tricks to turn a mishmash of a space into a functional, relaxing getaway. Pour a tropical cocktail, turn on the fan and grab your favorite book. This room is ready for you to come in and relax!
(Interior decorator Candice Olson is host of Home & Garden Television's Divine Design.)