Cozy Family Rooms & Living Rooms

Create a gathering area you'll long to come home to using eye-catching accents, inviting colors, and smart furniture choices. Get inspired by these family rooms that combine style, comfort, and function.

Jessica Brinkert Holtam


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Cozy living room with french doors
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Raise the Roof

    Stretch the perceived height of a room by hanging curtains below crown moldings instead of directly above window frames. This trick unites transom-topped French doors and windows in this family room, allowing the eye to travel around the room's perimeter without interruption. Positioning the sofas in the center of the room, rather than pushing at least one up against a wall, also creates a sense of space and creates multiple ways to pass through the room.

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Add Rich Details

    Look to embroidered, flocked damask, and tapestry-style pillows to instantly impart an old-world flavor. As seen in this family room, even crisp white slipcovers are transported to a bygone era when accented with richly detailed pillows in earthy hues. An ornate silver chest and a metal coffee table amplify the effect.

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Think Thin

    A sofa usually feels most comfortable when it's anchored by a coffee table, but when space is tight, forego the traditional bulky piece for a slender bench. A rustic wooden piece takes the formal edge of this family room while still allowing guests to traverse the space without knocking their knees. Two slipper chairs flanking a garden stool-turned-side table also do their part to maximize function within the small footprint.

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Frame An Entry

    Foster a sense of mystery and a warm ambiance reminiscent of a cozy club by suspending gentle folds of fabric between room openings. Simple swing arm rods hold cherry floral panels aloft in this open-concept living area. The curtains subtly separate an entertaining zone from a quiet reading retreat, while maintaining an open and airy view.

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Accessorize your Windows

    Windows offer a great opportunity to play with pattern. Solid-color furnishings keep this family room grounded, but bold window treatments pump up the fun factor. Look beyond standard window sources for affordable ways to experiment with pattern. Bedspreads, sheets, and shower curtains can also shine as curtains -- it only takes a few clip-on rings to get them into the swing of their new role.

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Play with Pattern

    To mix patterns like a pro, remember this simple rule: each pattern should feature at least one common hue. Shades of turquoise provide a link between this family room's peppy mix of plaid, floral, and leopard-print fabrics. A storage console, a lamp, vases, and decorative boxes help spread the blue around the room in eye-pleasing fashion.

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Space to Breathe

    There's something comforting about sitting in a room lined with books, but an overstuffed bookshelf can read as cluttered rather than cozy. The key to a shelving unit that attracts the eye: breathing room between objects. Follow the lead of this family room and arrange books on half of each shelf only; use the other half to display a collected treasure or a framed picture. Use books stacked horizontally to give petite objects a boost.

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Employ a Stool (or Two!)

    Stools are a chic way to keep extra seating on hand without visually weighing down a room. A matching set face off against a sofa in this family room, completing the seating circle while leaving the view open to the space's main focal point -- a fireplace bookended by two recessed shelving niches.

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Create a Cocoon

    For a family room that really comes alive at night, consider painting the walls a dark hue. A rich shade of chocolate brown blankets this room in warmth, making it a favorite go-to spot for television viewing and nighttime entertaining. Two tall mirrors flanking a window help to lighten the room by day while reflecting flickering flames at night.

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Customize Your Flooring

    Piece together carpet tiles to create a custom rug in a favorite color combination. A fuchsia-and-white checkered rug helps traditional furnishings take on a contemporary attitude in this family room. Funky flower pillows and artwork enhance the playful mood.

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Light Up a Room

    Introduce interest at eye-level while enhancing room functionality by positioning floor lamps near seating pieces. In this family room, two lamps tucked behind a pair of armchairs echo the symmetrical setup of built-in shelves flanking the fireplace. Silk lampshades add shimmer even when the lamps are shut off.

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Mix and Match

    Put a youthful spin on tailored furnishings by mixing them with funky accessories and contemporary artwork. Wave-motif accent pillows add spunk to a kick-pleat trimmed sofa and chairs in this family room, while a dog portrait rendered in neon hues serves as a surprising juxtaposition to the space's traditional architectural bones.

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Put Transitional Accents to Work

    Use modern florals prints depicted in a muted color palette to bridge the gap between old and new. This family room's contemporary white sofa becomes a picture of romance when dotted with vine-embellished pillows. The free-flowing motif matches the simple elegance of a trumeau mirror nestled into a bank of built-in shelving.

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Be An Artist

    Make a dramatic statement by anchoring a focal-point wall with a large piece of art. To achieve a lot of bang without spending a lot of bucks, create your own masterpiece. The striking dandelion silhouette showcased in this family room was made by having the motif, which the homeowners found online, enlarged and printed on flexible poster paper at a copy store. Stretched over a canvas frame, the look cost less than $100 to produce.

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Go With a Theme

    Bring the outdoors in with a birds and blooms theme. Against a backdrop of sky-blue walls, leafy prints and flowery motifs in a rainbow of sherbet hues impress a sweet attitude upon this family room. Ceramic birds tucked neatly into shelves subtly reinforce the theme.

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Apply a Touch of Makeup

    Disguise the youth of even the newest homes by treating the walls to a faux finish. A wall glaze gently ages this family room -- an impression that's enhanced by a romantic chandelier overhead and a crystal candelabra on a side table. Painted pieces proudly showing years of use add to the welcoming lived-in feel, as do books piled on top of and below the coffee table.

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Boost Your Color Confidence

    Neutral walls and furnishings provide an easy base to work with. A painted coffee table supplies this family room with a spark of color that's complemented by coordinating accent pillows. White accessories and subtle brown-on-cream pillows and plates keep the mood serene. With such a calm foundation, it's easy to paint the walls, bring in a patterned rug, or frame the windows with curtains to boost the color quotient or welcome in a new look.

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Opt for a No-Fail Color Solution

    A monochromatic palette plus one accent hue is a simple way to create a chic, pulled together room. In this family room, bold bands of orange line curtains and embellish throws pillows, sketching a graphic outline. A floral rug rendered in rusty oranges and browns and a coffee table crafted from stained 1x4s introduce a toasty warmth that balances the crisp coolness of the white sofas.

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Embrace Translucent Silhouettes

    Use transparent furnishings and accessories to provide functionality without visual weight. Two table lamps deliver needed task lighting to this family room yet the glass bases virtually disappear, allowing the eye to focus on the kaleidoscope of patterned pillows instead. Plexiglass tables and consoles can offer the same hardworking see-through style.

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Load Up on Color

    Balance a healthy dose of color with light floor and ceiling treatments. In this family room, a crisp white-painted ceiling and glossy white moldings highlight brilliant hot pink walls. A muted pink-and-cream rug sashays across the floor. White built-in shelves provide a calm backdrop for a tufted pink sofa.

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