Family room design for family of 6 (including 4 young boys)

Hello friends. Right now I’m looking outside at more snow flurries, while a space heater warms my toes in my office. Yes, I am definitely ready for spring. 🙂

Today, I wanted to share with you a virtual family room design I came up with for some clients recently. This is new territory for me, as I’m typically working directly in the physical spaces I design … a process I like to call “design trial and error,” lol. This family room design was created totally virtually, using photos provided to me along with a to-scale floor plan layout.

The lovely family I worked with is a busy couple with four active, young boys. They have a gorgeous newer home that includes a family room directly off the kitchen. They were stumped on how to design and furnish this space because it presents some traffic-flow challenges; it needs to serve several purposes; it needs to be aesthetically pleasing, yet easy to maintain; and it needs to be boy-friendly.

Here a two photos of the family room “before.”

Photos courtesy of homeowner

Such a beautiful space … and I love that fireplace!

I asked the homeowners a series of questions to help me get a good sense of direction, etc.:

“We have six people in our house. The boys are 14, soon to be 12, 8 and 5. We really enjoy sports (watching and participating) and reading. We have decided to start with the family room. This is where everyone hangs out, watches television, plays with toys, wrestling matches are held, etc. I would like it to be a very relaxed, comfortable room but look nice for when guests come over. We struggle with lighting and storage. Our kids tend to leave their toys and especially books everywhere. We are not opposed to changing paint colors. I tend to gravitate towards the darker shades of color, more earthy tones. I am not opposed to a lighter shade, just no pink.”

With that information in mind, I went to work. Since I provided this particular design to my clients at no charge, I’m able to share the details with you. Perhaps it will provide some inspiration. This is the plan I developed:


I would recommend having an electrician install six recessed (can) lights in the family room, on a dimmer switch. This would provide ample lighting in the space that could be used at full brightness for playing games, or dimmed when reading, watching a movie, chilling by the fire at Christmastime, etc. I had this same type of lighting installed in my own kitchen, and it was the best money I ever spent in the room. I spent about $1,000 for this project. You’ll likely be looking at about $1,500 or so, considering it doesn’t look like you have any ceiling light wiring in place yet. I would choose to space these lights out evenly on a straight line on the left (window) and right (return vents) sides of the room. If you’d like to add additional accent/reading lamps, my pick would be the stylish and very inexpensive set below from Walmart.

Accent lamps


I would choose Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige, a soft, warm neutral shade with a touch of gray, the perfect canvas for dramatic furniture, art, etc. I know you mentioned you gravitate toward darker neutrals … this is on the lighter side. I had the choice of going darker on the walls, lighter with the furniture, or lighter on the walls, darker with the furniture. I chose the latter because I figured darker and more durable furniture pieces would be most practical for your young family. Also, I chose this color because I think it will be the perfect complement to your beautiful stone fireplace, the main focal point of the room. As far as finish, for a living or family room, I typically choose either an eggshell or Sherwin Williams’ flat enamel finish. These types of low-gloss finishes provide the most forgiving and flawless result, free of brush and roller marks.



Entertainment center

TV/Media console

I chose the ASPENHOME CANYON CREEK 84″ TV ENTERTAINMENT CENTER. It is quite a substantial piece, which would provide good balance in the space if placed on the right side of the room (the return vents side). If positioned about four inches or so from the wall, you should still have adequate air flow for the return vents. I chose this piece for its color, and because it will offer lots of storage for your media components, books, games, etc.


I chose the Lincoln Chaise Sectional Sofa by Savvy.

I have not yet purchased anything from this particular company, so I’m not sure of the quality or durability, but I like the affordable prices and customization options. For this family room space, I chose the DumDum Stone fabric and accompanying pillows in microsuede khaki. The sofa is extra long, much like the one I have in my own living room. I love the fact that several people can comfortably sit on it at once. I chose the chaise for the right side, to balance the space and offer accessibility for the chair I chose for next to the fireplace.

Additional accent pillows

I would further customize this sofa by adding some interest and color with these two accent pillows (the compass one will require an insert; it’s just the cover):

Compass pillow

Crate and Barrel pillow

Chair options

I had so much trouble picking my favorite chairs for your space because there are so many beautiful options! I’ve included my top picks below. I tried to choose pieces that would provide easy wipe-down cleanup. I would purchase two chairs total, one to flank each side of the fireplace, to provide additional seating. They don’t necessarily have to match.

My top choice: Palance Silt Brown Faux Leather Club Chair

Choice #2: Safavieh Chloe Brown Club Chair

Choice # 3: San Lorenzo Saddle Club Brown Faux-leather Chair

Choice #4: ABBYSON LIVING Tafton Antique Brown Fabric Club Chair

Choice #5 –If you’re looking for a high-end, top-grain leather piece: Vintage Brown Leather Club Chair

Additional informal seating

I added this Fuf Bean Bag chair in Sand Dune for additional seating for the boys when playing games, watching TV, etc. We have one of these in our home and the kids love it. This particular Sand Dune color should go well with the color scheme in the room. (It looks yellow on the page where you order, but I can vouch that it is actually more of a natural, sand color in person.) When not in use, the bean bag can be tossed next to the TV stand/media console (on the side closest to the kitchen). You may find you have space for two.

Side tables

I chose the Vennilux End Table (Set of 3) nesting tables for next to the couch (side closest to the kitchen) to provide a spot to set down items. I liked the price, the finish, and the fact that there were multiple tables that could be used at various spots in the room as needed for snacks, books, etc.

As an alternate option, if you would prefer something with drawer storage, I also liked this ABBYSON LIVING Northwood Industrial End Table.

Ottoman/coffee table – This choice was a challenge. I wanted something that wouldn’t be easily scratched and also provided some hidden storage for stuff like game controllers, games, etc.  I struggled with whether to recommend an upholstered top that could double as extra seating. Ultimately, I settled on this Woven Seagrass Ottoman because I felt it offered great versatility and texture. Plus I love the pull-out trays.


Curtain option

5 Foot Rustic Reclaimed Barn Wood Decorative Ladder

Art options for above the sofa – (TIP: Something I like to do is get inspiration from places like Ballard Designs, then head to my nearest TJ Maxx, Target, HomeGoods or Gabes to see if I can find similar pieces for a lot less money. All the pieces below I found online. You may be able to find similar pieces for less if you shop around.)

Blue Footprint Art

Sand and Sky Art

Green Turtle Cay

Art for above one of the chairs next to the fireplace

Framed chalk plane drawings

Lanterns for mantel – This set is nice, but you can honestly find really interesting lanterns all over the place inexpensively. I like to choose a few different shapes and sizes and display them on my mantel.

Throw blanket – I love this Herringbone throw. It’s a bit pricey, though. If it were up to me, I’d head to HomeGoods, TJ Maxx, Target or Gabes to see if I could find a similar design for about half the price.

I left some space open on the wall because I would recommend framing a few of your favorite, candid family pictures. You can even have them transferred to canvas inexpensively at Walmart or numerous online retailers.

That’s the plan!

Here was the homeowner’s feedback to my design suggestions:

“We love it. This is exactly what we had in mind as far as the level of detail, ideas and actual product recommendations. This gives us a great plan. We plan on starting implementation on Monday. I guess you could say we are excited about it!  We loved looking at all of the products. For a first time doing this virtually, we think you nailed it. Our plan is to do it in steps using some of our existing furniture in place of the new stuff while we get the lighting and painting done and get some of the pieces that we don’t have yet. Although, we would really like it to be done in 60 minutes like they do it on TV. You have 2 big fans!”

What do you think of this family room design? Are there any elements you like/dislike? Anything you might like to incorporate into your own home?

Finished living room at the flip plus an OPEN HOUSE INVITATION!

Hello friends. I am happy to report that the flip house is officially done. Woot! This Saturday, July 16, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m., we are hosting an open house and I hope any of you who are local will stop by to see this beautiful home and enjoy some light refreshments while you’re here. The address is 15467 Sportsman Club Road, Calvin, Pa. The house is being listed by Colonial Real Estate at $99,700.

This project has definitely been a long and difficult labor of love, but I am thrilled with the results. I am also beyond grateful for everyone who helped make this project possible. A very special thanks to Dad, Matt, Daryl, Daryl’s dad, 😉 Ted, Bob, Denny, Dale, Carl and Patti, Harry, Cheryl, and Amy. I couldn’t have done this without you! And there were so many others who helped and encouraged me along the way … too many to mention.

Today I wanted to share with you the living room pictures.

Here’s what we started with:

Living-Room-before Living-room-before-2

The nasty green carpeting and wood paneling are gone. Yay! I painted the ceiling and I patched, textured and painted the walls. I sanded and refinished the hardwood floors (underneath the carpet). All that along with the new windows and front door have completely transformed this space. Here’s what it looks like now:

Living-Room-1 Living-Room-2

To help stage the space, I had Rent-A-Center bring in the brand new sofa and loveseat.



I refinished this dumpster-rescued coffee table using the Amy Howard At Home® One Step Paint™ in Linen.


The overstuffed side chair came from our house. 🙂


I picked up this vintage dresser from a local thrift store. I wiped it down with some scratch cover furniture polish and it looks as good as new. All the other accessories I brought in from my own home.

What do you think of the living room transformation?

Stay tuned for the kitchen pictures, coming very soon … once I can get a free moment to take them. 😉

Bedroom before and after at the flip house

Hello friends! Over the past week and a half, I have been working overtime at the flip house, which means the poor blog has taken a back seat. But today I’m here to share with you a bedroom before and after. This room at the flip house – especially the carpet – used to be a total nightmare. Now it makes me smile every time I look at it.

I chose to stage the space as an office because it is the gateway to the upstairs master suite. And I also took the after pictures before I rehung the doors in the room, so keep that in mind. 😉

Let’s take a peek at the before, shall we?


Below is a snapshot of this desperate DIYer on the night I hauled out all the 60s-style carpeting in this room by myself. I admit, it was an endeavor I would be happy to never repeat again. The dust alone nearly killed me because, well, how much dust can a carpet accumulate since 1960? A lot, people. A whole lot.


The main work I did to renovate this room – besides replacing the flooring – involved texturing the walls and ceiling; rebuilding the interior of the closet; painting the walls, ceiling and trim; and decorating.

I chose this smooth, roll-on texture* for the walls and ceiling to even out any imperfections in the plaster. I love this product! There are different types of roll-on texture you can buy. I prefer the smooth finish because I’m not a fan of heavy texture, just a subtle effect.


For the wall color, I chose Sherwin Williams Comfort Gray. I had the color mixed up in the Valspar Signature paint (eggshell finish) line from Lowe’s. It’s more affordable at $32 a gallon, yet I find it gives a really professional-grade finish.

I painted the ceiling white and added an inexpensive 50s-style fixture to match the period of the home.


After texturing, painting, cleaning, replacing the light, outlets and switches, and having new carpet installed, I was ready to add the finishing touches to this room.



My budget – as always – was extremely tight, so I stuck with no and low-cost furniture and decor options.

I found a cherry table for under $10 at a thrift store awhile back. When I bought it, I wasn’t ready to refinish it yet, so it went to the basement.


This table looks so good now in the flip house I’m relunctant to let it go with the house. The coolest part about this project is that it was super easy – and quick. All told, it took about two hours of work total. Seriously.

Step 1: I used a scrub pad and some Rust-Oleum® deglosser to “rough up” the surface. The deglosser I used was left over from a Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations kit I had on hand after my bathroom vanity makeover. I’ll be using the rest of this kit to transform the cabinets at the flip house. Stay tuned for that project coming soon.


Step 2: I thinned with water (by about 15 percent) a bit of Rust-Oleum Chalked Paint in Aged Gray and loaded it into my paint sprayer. I sprayed on a coat of paint and let it dry. This process took about 15 minutes total. A paint sprayer certainly makes light work of furniture and cabinet painting. (I use the HomeRight® Finish Max.) After about an hour, I applied a second coat of Aged Gray with the sprayer.


Step 3: I applied a coat of wax to the piece to seal the paint.

Step 4: I used some elbow grease and a soft cloth to rub off some paint in select areas, giving the piece a custom, aged patina.


Chalked-paint-closeup Rust-Oleum-Chalked-paint-closeup

I am so pleased with how this desk – and the room – has come along. As far as the rest of the decor in the space, I stole from my house and the basement to complete the look. No money spent there.

I also used leftover door casing from the front door we replaced and some leftover spindles from the front porch build to build a fun ladder for storing blankets.


I love repurposing pieces of the old house into the projects I do. It preserves the history – and memory – of the home.

What do you think of the transformation?


If you would give this makeover a thumbs up, I would love it if you would hop over to the Rust-Oleum Creator’s Studio and vote for my desk to win the Thrift Store Challenge. Thanks in advance for your vote! 🙂 You can vote HERE.

*Affiliate link provided for your convenience