By Jennifer Parker
One of the most fun things to do as a decorator is start with a blank canvas. When you are truly able to start from scratch in a room, it allows for tons of creativity and also an overall design that flows and works without having to incorporate existing pieces. We have all tried to “work around” something in a room that just does not fit. I was very excited to be asked to create a family room from scratch and the results are super functional, extremely comfortable and, if I do say so myself, absolutely beautiful!
You know I always start with function. Whenever I do a consult with a client the first question I ask is, “How do you want to use the space?” For this family, the room is to be used for relaxing and watching TV, movies and spending time together. With five kids, two dogs and parents too, we needed a functional place for all of them to sit, lay and lounge. The answer was a sectional. But not just any sectional, we needed one that was extremely comfortable and could hold everyone. I designed this one in modular pieces that can be connected and chose a fabric that is washable and also slipcovered so it’s very cleanable. I love this blue, and the linen cotton weave has a deep beautiful color without being too dark, and also won’t show every little spot. It’s truly the focal point of the room. When doing such a large piece in one color, you need to make sure you have some different colors to coordinate. I happen to love blue and a splash of orange together, and the pillows and welting pull all of this in perfectly. I had the pillows made custom from fabrics chosen to compliment the window treatments. I like things to be tied in together in a family space but not too “matchy.” I think it’s the layers of color and texture that make a room look more curated. By adding the floor lamps, a large vertical art piece and sofa table behind it, we were able to create symmetry in a room that is not perfectly symmetrical. The cream curtain panels on the windows behind the sectional help to frame and soften the space. Keeping with the clean lines, I also chose a shagreen entertainment cabinet to add some layers of color and texture. This piece also functions to store books, games and technical equipment needed for the large TV above it.
Another element we wanted to incorporate in the room was a table and chairs for eating overflow when entertaining, homework and playing games. For the scale of this space, and also because the room is angular, I went with a round table with a stone and tin texture and paired that with velvet, upholstered chairs in a wood trim. I love the mix of these textures together and the function of the table. Don’t forget to consider the shapes you place in a room and make sure they are not all the same, otherwise the room can feel like a shoebox. A good mix of shapes texture and color always make a room feel more interesting and intentional.
You know I love lighting, and the fixtures for this room are some of my favorites. We chose a large barrel wheel fixture for above the sectional. Not only does it fit the space beautifully, it creates enough light for this large room. The fixture over the round table is a particular favorite. The actual shade is solid alabaster, and the round ball in the center is painted ceramic stone. This fixture fits the space perfectly and also looks like a sculptured art piece. It’s one of those pieces you will not see in every home and brings a fun personality to the space.
We needed to close off all of the windows but have something that could function to let lots of light in as well. The plantation shutters we installed allow the family to block out all the light when watching movies, but open during the day for maximum exposure of natural light. I love the wide plank shutters in solid wood, painted to match the trim in the room. The doors are covered in custom pull ring roman shades, in a fabric to coordinate with the pillows on the couch. This helps to tie everything together, and also extend the custom look we were going for.
This newly blended family had a stunning collection of photographs from their recent wedding, and that just screamed gallery wall to me. In this case, it was photographs I had custom printed, framed and matted. I chose identical frames and mattes to help keep it looking congruent and mixed just two sizes so that there was an elegant consistency, and it all functions as one art piece. Displaying photographs of family in this room personalizes it and celebrates a memorable day. I truly believe rooms should reflect who lives in them and celebrate who they are.
There are small notes of brushed gold in the frames and various accents in the room, yet it still feels comfortable and elegant. You know I have to have a touch of green in every room so the ivy and floor plant in a wicker container add that touch and also helps to warm and soften the space. Do not underestimate bringing in a few live plants to complete a room. The result for this family room is an elegant, yet functional and comfortable family space to create memories, entertain and enjoy spending time together. I hope this room gives you some inspiration to create gathering spaces for your family, and as always let me know if I can help you bring a touch of function and beauty to your own home!