Multifunctional Living Room: Decorating in Stages

A three-step makeover lets this living room accomodate everyone in the family without compromising in the décor department.

Can a single room serve as a movie theater, video gaming central, and a gathering space for family and friends without sacrificing in the decor department? I'm Lacey Howard, editor of Decorating Magazine, and today I'm going to show you how we created a multi-functioning family space that accommodates everyone without sacrificing the style so important to mom. And the best part, we did it in 3 easy steps. In stage 1, this room struggles with furniture placement and lacks a consisting color palette. But its clean lines, large windows, and neutral foundation give us a great place to start. DVD player, stereo gear, and gaming systems, oh my! Too many black boxes quickly become a decorating debacle. We need to find a way to conceal the media components without compromising their usability. Another challenge lots of family rooms face is flow. How do we balance the beauty of a fireplace with the day-to-day realities of the room, which, let's face it, usually include a little tube time. Fortunately, a furniture switcheroo is quick and easy. Midway through the room's transformation, its bright new character is already coming to life. Fresh bursts of color and pattern invite everyone to sink in and stay a while. Check out this color. Red striped Roman shades are like a shot of caffeine to this once sleepy space. They awaken its new palette and add richness to the window scheme. No stuffy seating here. Every piece is ready for relaxation. Still, these chairs are no slouches when it comes to style. I love their clean lines and classic character. And the sassy pillows on the sofa are like the frosting on the cake. In stage 2, we've taken a big step toward solving the media storage puzzle. Soft blue fabric panels suspended on tension rods pick up tones from the room's palette and hide the tangle of electrical cords and cables. At movie time, simply push back the mini curtains and it's showtime. It's not a myth. Grown up decor can be family friendly. Here in the final stage of our makeover, we built in smart storage solutions so that all we see is style. See what a healthy dose of pattern can do. Don't be afraid to layer a funky rug over a plain carpet to welcome the summer season. The new floral pattern ottoman blooms with personality and blue drapery panels help to temper the bold stripes on the Roman shades. Custom cabinet doors are well worth the cost of construction. They hide unsightly components while still allowing easy access to what's inside. How often do we hear it? Beauty is in the details. Just look at how new artwork and mod vases dress up the mantle. Bright translucent lamps add pretty pops of blue. And notice how a careful editing of books, frames, and other family treasures keep the shelving looking neat and tidy. Remember where we started? An awkward floor plan and uninspired color palette obscure this room's true potential. In order to serve dual purpose as a family hangout and a stylish place to welcome guests, this room needed clever storage solutions and a style boost. A summery palette of red, aqua, and orange did the trick. Window treatments, pillows, a funky rug, and the ottoman now mimic the season outside, fresh, warm, and alive with color. Meanwhile, games, toys, and electronics are stored out of view. So all guests see is style. Don't be surprised when your family flocks to the fun new space you've created. Start with a smart floor plan, add some comfy furnishing, and inject your personality to create your family's haven. For Decorating Magazine, I'm Lacey Howard.