Family Room First: Creating a Comfortable Environment for Family & FriendsBy: Allison Havill Todd
Photos courtesy of AHT Interiors
Photos courtesy of AHT Interiors
Comfort or Looks? I say you can have both. Many people have a notion that they must compromise comfort to have a room that looks like a "picture perfect" model home. On the contrary! A well planned and designed family room can offer a comfortable, inviting environment while also being a show-stopping space you are proud to share with others.
Consider these key points when planning a family room to address both form and function:
Don't skimp on quality or over compromise on what you like just to fill the space. It is better to buy quality, well-made pieces that will stand the test of time. This may cost you more up-front, but will save you money in the long run, as you won't need to replace items every couple of years. A well constructed piece of upholstered furniture is worth recovering as needed.
Consider incorporating "family friendly" fabrics and materials that work for young children and pets. There are many quality fabrics on the market that were once only used as outdoor fabrics, but with advanced production techniques, these durable fabrics are soft and quite appropriate for indoor use. They withstand stains, fading from the sun and general wear and tear. Sunbrella is just one brand of fabrics that fit this description. Another great option is a man-made ultra-suede fabric. They are now widely available, spill and stain resistant and work beautifully for large upholstered pieces, as well as ottomans.
Plenty of storage space is a must for a young family. Incorporate lots of options to fit your specific storage needs. Built in bookcases with lower cabinets, storage benches and ottomans, trunks and large baskets are a great way to control the toys and clutter, and keep your family organized.
Introduce products that will help with sound absorption and control echo, especially for the rooms that have either a 2- story or vaulted ceiling. Rooms that echo feel cold and empty, and do not feel inviting. A large, room-size area rug is essential for echo control if the floors are a hard surface, and will also provide a more comfortable play space for small children. If you are worried about high traffic or stains, many outdoor rugs are appropriate for indoor use and offer that extra protection you need. Also consider window treatments and plants, as they do a beautiful job of buffering noise!
Incorporate personal items in the room such as family photos, souvenirs from travels and prized artwork. Just keep it organized and to a minimum. Remember less is more, and cluttered or covered doesn't equal cozy. If you are limited on table space, utilize built in bookcases to mix in framed photos with books and other accessory items to create a balanced, interesting display.
Create a focal point (in addition to the expected TV screen). This can either be an architectural focal point, such as the fireplace, mantel and surrounding built-ins or it can be a wall of windows. If having a TV in this room is a must, keep in mind that not all seating in the room should address the TV. If you also want to create an inviting area to visit with family and friends, create a conversation area where chairs are oriented toward each other. Leave the strictly theater seating to the basement or media room.
An experienced interior design professional can guide you through this process and keep you from making costly mistakes while helping you achieve a family room that is well balanced, inviting and comfortable.
Once you've addressed these points, you're one step closer to achieving the family room that is truly a stylish, comfortable and inviting reflection of you, your family and your friends.
Allison Havill Todd Interiors is an established North Atlanta interior design firm with a 2,500 sq. ft. custom design studio and extensive resource library. Our team has more than 15 years of combined experience in designing fine interiors for the home and office. Contact AHT Interiors at 770-887-7612 or www.ahtinteriors.com.