Home & Garden

Design Recipes: The do’s and don’ts of affordable family room upgrades

Whether in basements, filled with light or spaces that pose spatial challenges, family rooms are often the most popular room in a home. So why not make a family room as appealing and cozy as possible? Creating a family-friendly family room doesn't have to break the bank. Often, creative planning and even "shopping your home" can help refresh a family space easily and affordably.

Here are some affordable design tips.

DO:

1. Create a furniture configuration around a focal point in the room. Often this is a television or fireplace.

2. Add cozy elements such as toss pillows and throws. The goal is to create a space your family will feel as comfortable in as possible.

3. Try to use commercial or hospitality grade fabric on upholstery pieces. This is a common tip used by interior designers. Commercial and hospitality grade fabrics are designed to undergo heavy use and stand the test of time and often come in the same fun colors as those intended for normal residential use.

4. Incorporate color through the use of art and accessories.

5. Anchor a space with a large area rug. Ideally the rug should be large enough to accommodate the entire furniture configuration for the space.

DON'T:

1. Fill a family room with too many special or breakable pieces. A family room should be kid-friendly.

2. Just select dark and drab fabric colors. While colors like brown and black can hide stains better than light colors, consider darker shades of brighter colors such as blue, red or green.

3. Forget lighting. Often family rooms are poorly lit. When possible incorporate recessed lighting placed on dimmers.

4. Use your family room as a discarded space or storage area. Family rooms should be a relaxation space and family oasis.

5. Forget to create a multipurpose space. The goal is to create a space for the whole family. It can be divided into various zones for lounging, gaming and study.

Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at info@cathyhobbs.com <mailto:info@cathyhobbs.com> or visit her website at www.cathyhobbs.com <http://www.cathyhobbs.com>.

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