Press "Enter" to skip to content

Interior Design

Best ways to cozy up your family room or den

One of the best ways to ensure your family life doesn’t turn into a “ships passing in the night scenario” is to create a space in your home for the entire family to congregate spontaneously. Choosing the right family room decor is the best way to cozy up your family room or den. As the days get shorter and less time is spent outdoors, it’s important to create a family room to retreat to.

Comfortable Seating is Key

Comfortable seating for the entire family and then some is key to a successful family room setup. Whether you place the couch against a wall or float it in a larger, open-plan house, think not about enough seating for the family and a few guests, but about enough lounging area for everyone. Even if you don’t own a pair of sweatpants, the family room is a place to sprawl, not the place to worry about your posture.

Sectionals are great for letting family members do just that. They also have the advantage of separating off a portion of a room. The DIY alternative to this is built-ins along the walls with corner seating. Add some oversized, comfy lounge chairs and several ottomans and you’ll have flexible seating for you, your children, and their friends.

Invest in furniture that comes with washable slipcovers or that’s made from easy-to-clean surfaces like leather or vinyl. If you must use white or off-white in your family room, washable, stain guarded slipcovers for upholstered surfaces are a must.

Rugs up the Cozy Factor

The other big family room investment you should make is in a rug that’s both easy to clean and plush. When the playoffs are on and it’s game night, you may have more guests than you can seat and the overflow will have to make do with throw cushions and the floor.

Go overboard on the cushion and throw front. We tend to use our family rooms at the end of the day and at the end of the week when we’re already tired and want to relax without exerting a lot of energy. Stretching out with a comfy pillow at your back and a cozy throw to keep you warm (even if the movie turns out to be a two-and-a-half-hour marathon) might just be the best leisure activity you participate in all week.

Traffic Flow Matters

Pay particular attention to traffic flow and conversational (or viewing) seating areas when planning your family room decor. Floating a couch several feet from the wall that contains the room’s entryway means people can enter and exit the room from other areas without having to pause the movie to let newcomers squeeze by.

Basement Family Rooms

If your family room is in the basement, you may have to work a little harder to get a cozy vibe. Invest in some really comfy seating and try to keep things low (including any wall art). In a room with low ceilings, hanging pictures at seated eye level is crucial.

Alternatively, perhaps instead of artwork or photos, create a curated wall that has texture: old skis and snowshoes painted white and mounted on the wall above the couch; a collection of straw hats or baskets; or a net full of shells you’ve collected on your beach vacations.

If you have exposed pipes or beams, don’t feel obliged to close in the ceiling. You can go one of two ways with a basement den ceiling: paint it the same color as the room, or use a contrasting shade that accentuates the obvious.

Family Room Storage is Essential

Make sure you build in storage space for toys, games, devices, and books. You’re probably going to want a TV and a surround sound system. Now is the time to think about how various family members are going to want to use the space.

If you don’t mind your kids listening to music while they do their homework, you might want to consider creating not only a family game area but also a study area. Your young scholars may feel less like they’re being punished when doing their homework if they’re also hanging out with the rest of the family. Even if you don’t want to create a study area in the den, you’ll need a table of some sort for cards and board games.

Don’t forget there will be snacks, whether they’re s’mores or popcorn. While you won’t necessarily want to create a formal dining area in your family room, a dedicated table or buffet where you can put out all the snacks and guests can help themselves is a good idea, while a small bar fridge can save you trips back and forth to the kitchen with chip dip and drinks. Other ideas: a play area for younger kids and a billiards, pool, or ping pong table or dartboard for the adults. If you invest the time in planning the best ways to cozy up your family room or den, it will become not your home’s centerpiece, but rather its heart.