The kitchen’s reign as the heart of the home has gone on long enough. This year, it’s time to reclaim your family room—or living room, den or whatever you call the space where your sofa and coziest armchair reside—as the ultimate hangout. Whether you’re looking for a quick refresh or a total overhaul, we’ve got the inspo you need. These family room decorating ideas run the gamut, with options for every skill level and style.
1. INVEST IN DURABLE MATERIALS
You should feel totally comfortable living in your living room, which is why Maydan Architects did some strategic splurging when designing this San Francisco home. “We selected a fabric for the sofa that can be cleaned easily. The floors are porcelain ceramic, which is almost indestructible and looks particularly elegant,” says founder and principal Mary Maydan. “By using high-end materials that are easy to clean and have excellent durability, we created a home with an elevated style that both children and parents can enjoy worry-free.”
2. GIVE YOUR CHAIRS A KID-FRIENDLY FACELIFT
Bold floral chairs aren’t just playful; they serve a subtle secret purpose: “I find that intricate, colorful patterns tend to hide spills and stains better than solid textiles,” says designer Emily Spanos of Emily June Designs.
3. TRY THE COLOR OF THE YEAR ON FOR SIZE
If you’ve been staring at white shiplap walls for far too long and are desperate for a change, consider a total 180. Sherwin-Williams declared Urbane Bronze, a shade one designer referred to as “melted dark chocolate,” the 2021 Color of the Year for the way it instantly makes a space feel cozy and enveloping.
4. TAKE A CUE FROM KRISTEN BELL’S DESIGNER
A sand-colored sofa may seem impossible when you have toddlers roaming the house, but it’s totally doable when it’s slipcovered. And slipcovered doesn’t have to equate grandma—or grand millennial. For proof, just check out the Keane style Amber Lewis (aka Kristen Bell’s go-to designer) created for Anthropologie. You can’t deny that this couch looks chic.
5. PUT YOUR FAMILY FRONT AND CENTER
A cluster of family photos feels art gallery-worthy when printed in black and white and spaced evenly apart in matching frames, à la this gallery wall from A Beautiful Mess. If your kids can’t sit still for a photo, try this trick from designer Emily Henderson: Shoot video of your fam hanging out, then pull screenshots from the footage. You’re practically guaranteed to find a good angle, no matter how much they squirm.
6. INCORPORATE OVERSIZED THROW PILLOWS
“Large throw pillows can be tossed to the floor to create a comfortable space for reading or playing a game around the large rod iron coffee table,” Spanos says of the family room above. Look for 20-inch square throw pillows rather than the typical 16- or 20-inch ones.
7. GO PATTERN ON PATTERN
Peel-and-stick wallpaper—like this delicate gingko design from Flower Home—is an easy way to liven up your family room. But don’t stop there. As long as the colors are echoed throughout the room, you can have a few different patterns play in the same space via the rug, a detailed lamp or your choice of artwork.
8. TRY THIS PAINT TRICK TO CREATE A COZIER SPACE
High ceilings are a gift. But sometimes, they can make a room feel cavernous and lonely. A strategic swipe of color can change all of that. “By painting the lower portion of the walls a deeper color, it helps to draw the eye downward and ‘ground’ the space,” explains Decorist Elite designer Rita Schulz. “The patterned rug and vibrant upholstered pieces also help to draw the eye inward, towards the seating area, for a cozier vibe.”
9. PIVOT YOUR ENTERTAINMENT CENTER
Media centers can be pricey—but who says your TV even needs one? Amanda Heck of Midcounty Journal decided to repurpose a $200 cupboard she found on Facebook Marketplace to conceal hers. It adds to the country-chic look she was going for…without costing the whole farm.
10. EXPAND YOUR (SEARCH) HORIZONS TO SNAG A DEAL
Older items can add character to a room—and if you’re willing to do some digging online, you can snag a serious deal. Dana Dubiny-Dore of Adored House knows this firsthand: She’s also big on scouring Facebook Marketplace for used furniture she can upcycle, like the rustic coffee table above. Her best deal? A solid-wood cupboard for $50. Her secret? “Marketplace allows you to search within a certain mile radius from a set location. I have my radius set at about 15 miles normally, just to see what the newly listed items in my area are, but when I’m searching for a specific type of piece, I will expand the search radius as far as it goes (100 miles),” she explains.