Right next to the bedroom and the kitchen, my guess is you’ll be spending most of your time in the family room. At least when you’re home. I mean, we all hop over to the living room watch American Idol… shoot the breeze with the old lady…. and (if you’re like me) to eat a meal or two. Since it’s such a big part of our home lives, it only makes sense to give it the proper ambiance.
Enter Stage Right – Budget Decorating
So, here’s the skinny. Since most of us use the room to entertain ourselves it makes sense to rearrange things to cater to that desire. First things first, set up a basic storage area for all of those DVDs and video games. You can pick up a cheap entertainment center from Wal-Mart or get a DIY package from Lowes. The best ones let you tuck everything away either above or below the T.V. stand.
For those big spenders among us with a wall-mounted flat screen, look into the very cool frames they’ve been coming out with recently. It really adds some character to the room and might actually get some attention when the baseball game isn’t on.
In this case a T.V. stand/entertainment center won’t make much sense so you can throw a few bucks into a DVD rack for convenience. I find the spiral rack particularly sleek, but to each is own. You may even consider mounting a shelf, but this eats up space you may not want to sacrifice.
Now That the T.V. is Out of the Way…
Hanging paintings or photographs is cliche but they’re cool. They make the room feel like home and, if the walls are eggshell, they add much needed color to the area. You may even consider hanging a cool mirror or mounting candle scones for extra style points.
Your furniture also has something to say in the grand scheme of things. IKEA is heaven for this if you’re into modernist designs like I am. Keep the theme constant between the furniture and the blinds BUT don’t fall into a boring state of mind here. Unique color schemes are your friend here.
Speaking of Color Schemes
Pull out the paint brush and get busy. I like to look through the home decorating magazines like Better Homes and Gardens for ideas that push the boundaries. Don’t go too crazy but crazy enough. Think Salvatore Dali on meds and you’ll be in the right frame of mind here.
Stains Will Happen – Expect Them and Prepare
It’s inevitable. Trust me on this. So don’t worry about plastic-ing the furniture but white carpeting is a bad idea. Ditto for the grizzly bear throw rug, unless your socializing days are over… or if you hang out with the “reserved”(read: boring) type of crowd.
You can pick up sprays that make your furniture more stain resistant. My preference is to go with furniture that naturally hides the stains and to spend the money on party platters. But that might just be me. (Life is to be lived, folks!)
Goodies for the Floor
Bean bags are great too. Throws and afgans fit into the same category here. They’re great for when you have a full house. They are colorful to add character to the living room. Plus they are great if your old lady gets cold feet and likes to snuggle them somewhere. All big wins in my book.
Here’s another idea: set up a mini-library in the family room. Books are natural conversation starters and make you look more intelligent, even if you’ve never opened the cover. You can get a similar response by putting out some interesting reads on the coffee table… right next to the notebook, felt-tip pen and fruit bowl.
For the in-front-of-T.V. eaters like me, invest in a handful of food trays. They come in all kinds of designs, from floral patterns to football teams. Find the happy medium between trays you like and what the misses will accept. Don’t feel bad if “happy medium” means you end up with only floral patterned trays… not that I have any experience with that. Just consider yourself lucky that the family room hasn’t been turned into a no-food zone, yeah?
These are just a few ideas that came to mind. Stay tuned in, I’ll have more to share in the future. I’m also considering putting up some guest posts in the near future. In the mean time, If you have some personal decorating tips you want to share drop them in the comments.