7 Stylish and Welcoming Family Rooms

Monday Jan 11th, 2021


A family room, generally speaking, is meant to be a more casual space than a more formal living room. It’s the kind of room where you want to feel you can relax with your spouse or kids and kick back to watch a movie or play a game without being afraid to put your feet up. The following inviting family rooms show a range of styles — from subtle to dramatic — with family-friendly features to consider.

1. Light Blue and Breezy

Designers: Corinne C. Acampora of Acampora Interiors and D. Michael Collins Architects
Location: Brookline, Massachusetts
Size: 213 square feet (20 square meters); 13 feet, 8 inches by 15 feet, 7 inches

Homeowners’ request. Brighten the interiors while maintaining the spirit of the 1897 Jacobean-style home. The family room is an addition built by D. Michael Collins Architects. “Our clients wanted the home to feel warm, welcoming and family-friendly,” designer Corinne C. Acampora says. “And with two young children, it was critical that it be outfitted with durable fabrics and materials to withstand everyday wear and tear. The space, and home, needed to look polished and elegant but still offer the coziness and relaxed vibe of a family home.”

Main features. “The architectural features of the room, primarily the vaulted ceilings and large-scale windows, are some of the space’s standout features,” Acampora says. “They instantly make the space feel light, bright and airy — the exact effect that our clients sought. We celebrated these elements by designing custom outside-mount motorized roller shades, hidden behind a faux Roman valance. The shades can be left tucked away and unseen, but can be easily turned down to minimize glare when watching television. We also sourced a chandelier that fit the vaulted ceiling perfectly, echoing its lines and angles.”

Other special features. A cream, green and blue color palette. Built-in painted a light blue-green. Large sectional with Crypton performance fabric. Open floor space for toys and games.

Designer tip. “When you’re building an addition, it’s essential to honor the spirit of the home’s original architecture and materials, and weave those elements into the newly added space,” Acampora says. “For this home, it was all about paying homage to the home’s original woodwork and incorporating that in an organic way. The custom oak wood shelf on the built-in nods to the original oak woodwork and paneling seen throughout the rest of the house.”

2. Dressy and Dramatic

Designers: Kevin Rasmussen and Vivian Su of Rasmussen/Su
General contractor: Dixon Shay of Shay Construction
Location: Philadelphia
Size: 225 square feet (21 square meters); 15 by 15 feet

Homeowners’ request. “The homeowners wanted this room to serve as a place for informal family relaxation,” architect Vivian Su says. “The theme might best be described as ‘sophisticated comfort.’ 

Main features. Custom steel-and-glass sliding pocket doors. Gold velvet sectional.

Other special features. Custom wood bookshelves, built-in desk and millwork painted in Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore. Ceiling covered in hand-foiled navy wallpaper with black and gold flecks. Custom wide-plank white oak floors.

Designer tip. “One of the most important design decisions was to create a stark contrast between this room and the adjacent, more formal living spaces,” Su says. “The dark colors and rich material palette of this room made it a standout feature of the home and created a unique, sophisticated but relaxed mood without making the room feel overly fussy or precious.”

“Uh-oh” moment. “Working within an older apartment building, space was very limited behind the walls and above the ceilings for all of the necessary systems and mechanicals,” architect Kevin Rasmussen says. “The AC unit serving this portion of the home is actually concealed in a soundproofed enclosure behind the panels in the pass-through leading from the family room to the living room. The ductwork then snakes behind the wall and up and over the built-in desk. Kudos to our excellent builder, Dixon Shay of Shay Construction, and his amazing crew for figuring out how to make it all work.”

3. Textured and Tailored

Designer: Elizabeth Mathieson and Emily Bruere of M House
Location: Naperville, Illinois
Size: 338 square feet (31 square meters)

Homeowners’ request. “The design evolved throughout the home build, but we wanted an elevated midcentury modern feel with texture and depth,” says designer Elizabeth Mathieson, who used Houzz ideabooks to collaborate with her clients on the design of this room.

Main feature. “The herringbone tile fireplace surround and the walnut floating hearth and bench play off of the materials used in the kitchen that is across from this space and unify them for a cohesive feel,” Mathieson says.

Other special features. Niches backed in grasscloth wallpaper. Milk glass pendants.

Designer tip. “The light fixtures really added depth and character to the space,” Mathieson says. “Without them, it would look a bit bare. I think it’s nice to think about adding lighting or light fixtures in unconventional spaces.”

“Uh-oh” moment. “The lights are handblown glass and one was very crooked initially,” Mathieson says. “With the symmetry of the space, it caused an issue. The company was great though, and we exchanged it.”

4. Inky Blue and Bright

Designer: Kristin Bartone of Bartone Interiors
Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Size: 270 square feet (25 square meters); 15 by 18 feet

Homeowners’ request. “The homeowners had relocated from a small apartment in Manhattan to their first home, a large Georgian Colonial,” says designer Kristin Bartone, who collaborated with her clients through a Houzz ideabook. “They wanted a transitional space that reflected a casual yet put-together aesthetic that would be durable for their growing family.”

Main feature. “Deep indigo blue was our inspiration color to launch the design process,” Bartone says. “We paired it with warm gray and a leather lounge chair to create a balanced, comfortable and inviting space.”

Other special features. Floral pattern Wildwood lamps. “We worked the patterns and textures around them,” Bartone says.

Designer tip. “The biggest advantage of this space is the coffee table with drawers for storage,” Bartone says. “As a busy couple with a young child, they can hide items out of sight of guests and the baby. We also located the furniture as a free-floating arrangement that can be circulated around. This makes for easy access from all areas.”

5. Midcentury Mix and Match

Designer: Jamie Leonard of Vertical Interior Design
Location: Glencoe, Illinois
Size: 270 square feet (25 square meters); 15 by 18 feet

Homeowners’ request. A comfortable and family-friendly space that reflects their love for midcentury modern design and city living but stays within the style of a suburban Illinois home.

Main feature. Custom built-ins. “These became such a fun place to showcase the clients’ personality and add great pops of color,” designer Jamie Leonard says.

Other special features. Gray walls (Silver Chain by Benjamin Moore). Midcentury-style accent chair and patterned rug. “The clients had these existing midcentury nesting side tables that they loved and wanted to use in their main space,” Leonard says. “We used that wood tone and feel to set the tone for the rest of the room.”

Designer tip. “We kept all the more permanent or long-lasting pieces as well as architectural elements neutral and added pops of color and playfulness in the rug, pillows and accessories,” Leonard says. “That way if you want to change the vibe of a room a few years down the road you are not replacing the expensive or hard-to-redo items.”

6. Fresh and Fashionable

Designer: Dorian Bolick of Red Door Living
Location: Long Beach, California
Size: 460 square feet (43 square meters); 20 by 23 feet

Homeowners’ request. A kid-friendly hangout with furniture that holds up to friends and cousins. “The look of the room needed to be a bit more mature so as to not feel too ‘kiddy’ as the children grow into their teenage years,” designer Dorian Bolick says. “The design direction of the room came from the architecture of the home: a classic 1930s two-story Colonial with a bit of a farmhouse feel.”

Main feature. “The client wanted a space for her boys to be able to do homework as well as their gaming but not have it take over the room,” Bolick says. “Working from the best location for the gaming counter, the rest of the room evolved around it.”

Other special features. Luxury vinyl flooring that can hold up to wet feet coming in from the backyard pool. Modular sofa in performance fabric. Work desk behind the sofa. Custom cabinetry.

Designer tip. “For this room, all of the main furniture floats in the middle of the room,” Bolick says. “With doors and doorways leading to multiple locations inside and outside of the house, it allowed for maximum flow of traffic and at the same time anchored the room.”

“Uh-oh” moment. “When demolition of the space started, it was discovered that the space had been a much earlier addition to the original house and was not attached to the foundations,” Bolick says. “So the only choice was to tear the whole thing down. Not in the plans. On the upside, it allowed for changes to the original layout that the client was going to previously ‘reluctantly’ live with. In the end, the client got exactly what they had hoped for.”
7. Warm and Welcoming

Designer: Brittany Tompkins of MP James Design
Location: Camarillo, California
Size: 400 square feet (37 square meters)

Homeowners’ request. Timeless transitional design.

Main feature. Rustic oak luxury vinyl plank flooring.

Other special features. Minimalist gray modern fireplace surround. Round wood-and-iron coffee table with four nesting pieces that can be used as stools or tables.

Designer tip. “I definitely kept in mind a timeless bright color tone with accent colors of brown in the furniture to bring warmth to the space,” designer Brittany Tompkins says.

“Uh-oh” moment. “Most homeowners do not know that they should have a water test before laying down flooring, and leave a gap between the baseboard and the new flooring,” Tompkins says. “Even when using LVP, it still needs to acclimate to the new space, meaning your installer needs to give it room to expand and contract. The first installer did not do this, which caused some planks to rise.”
By Mitchell Parker



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