Living Simply- An Organized Family Room

I think the term family room came out of a need to differentiate between the formal living room and the informal. The more pristine place that the family typically didn’t use took on the identity of formal. The place where we could leave shoes under the coffee table and prop our feet up onto comfy furniture- this we know as the beloved family room.

Come on in. Relax. Here, you’re family.

All of the casualness related to our favorite places to gather can make for a never-ending stream of clutter. We’re not too particular about the appearance of the family room, because, honestly, this is where we live. It begs the question, can the space be both functional and pretty? Absolutely! And we’re focusing on the goal to live simply and to have a family room that is both casual and inviting.

Before we tackle going through all furnishings and accessories in the family room, we must first revisit our desired theme for the interior design of the home. This room more than any other will reflect the design goal. All decision-making during the organization of the family room will be easier if we maintain continuity in our desired personal style.

I think one of the mistakes we make is finding something functional and incorporating it without much thought of how it will take away from the style. For instance, while antiquing, I find a floor lamp that I think will bring needed light to a dark corner, and I add it without giving consideration to the room’s existing elements. This is why knowing my design preferences should always be in mind when making purchases.

As much as possible, empty the family room and clean floors, baseboards, lighting and windows.  Wash window treatments and wipe down hardware. Play around with furniture placement to promote good traffic flow through the room and optimal positioning around the television, fireplace, or your central focus.

If furnishings do not come together to your liking, and replacing pieces is not in the budget, consider enhancing the room’s continuity through matching slipcovers on soft surfaces, and paint on hard surfaces. With the addition of chalk paint to the crafting world, refreshing furniture and accessories could not be easier. There’s no need to strip wood of protective clear coats and stain; chalk paints adhere to almost any surface.

If you are purchasing new items, keep in mind that retail stores put a high mark-up on furniture. With some research online, you may locate a furniture warehouse or outlet store within driving distance. The cash and carry style of purchase usually equates to a substantial savings. In addition, your favorite store’s scratch and dent section is worth a regular visit, just in case that must-have piece gets a handsome markdown.

Family room furnishings should have storage possibilities to aid in the elimination of clutter. When adding shelving to the room, think scale. If too small, the piece will look like an after-thought. If in right proportion to the space and other furniture pieces, the shelving will complement your design. Optimize this storage space through use of baskets and other organization pieces that stow unsightly print media, remotes, children’s toys, etc.


Occasional tables can serve as hideaway places for blankets, games and accent pillows. Some have shelving, drawers or removable lids. An oversized basket that coordinates with your room’s decor also works well for keeping pillows and throw blankets tidy but accessible.

Family room textiles are the most cost-effective way to update your style and change the look of the room according to the season. Heavily patterned window treatments complement nicely a monotone palette among the furnishings. The same holds true for an area rug: big patterns work well with understated furniture pieces. Try to avoid competing patterns.

Your wall décor shines with your personality. Take care in showcasing the right pieces. If wall space is limited, consider using one larger accent. If the things you want to hang are small in comparison to the scale of the room, create a gallery wall with a collection. There are multiple ways to achieve the look and complement your style. Also keep in mind, it is perfectly okay to have a blank wall.

This is a good time to talk about a recommended design ratio. To help us prioritize a good structure to the family room, we can think in terms of 50:30:20. The fifty percent represents the functionality of your space and its components. Is there seating for everyone in the family? Is there quick access to additional seating for guests? Are there hard surfaces for resting drinks and other things we utilize while lounging? And, do the pieces work well together? The thirty percent puts a decent emphasis on storage, because this is where the declutter battle is fought and won! Lastly, twenty percent helps us to not ignore décor. It has its place in the overall feel of our room, but, at the same time, room décor should not overwhelm us.

Plants add a unique quality to the home. Look for ways to incorporate a few year-round. Even adding fresh-cut limbs from your property to a tall vase enhance the comfy environment. Seeing something living in the room automatically translates to freshness in our minds.

With the health benefits from your plant-filtered air, you’re bound to be more energized to maintain tidiness in your most lived-in room. A great rule-of-thumb is to never make a trip through the house empty-handed. For example, if going into the kitchen, take empty glasses from the coffee table with you. To develop the habit and to get others in the home onboard with the practice is to stay devoted to having a decluttered home.

Ultimately, we desire an organized living space for our own peace of mind. It’s not that we want to impress anyone; although, those who visit will assume the house is the cleanest they ever been inside of. But you and I know it’s not necessarily the cleanest; it’s simply an ordered home.



1 Comment

  1. Laura Spiers says:

    Great post! Some things there that I needed reminding of!! Beautiful Woody!!


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