Family Space

This “Decorating In Stages” video shows how a family’s gathering space transforms from worn to wonderful with pretty fixes and decorating ideas you can steal.

For a young family with a toddler and a baby on the way, a suburban ranch house has a lot to offer, but this family spent most of their time in a living space open to the kitchen that was lacking in comfort and style. I'm Lacey Howard, editor of Decorating Magazine and today I'm going to show you how we turned this space into a cozy, welcoming retreat by breaking its makeover into three easy steps. Right now, the long room does not put its square footage to good use. Dark dated woodwork and underscaled fireplace and worn-out rubber carpet make this space somewhat a decay. However, the room has several elements that give us a good place to start. The paneling is stylish, just dark. The bay window aches to become a focal point and the furniture is plain but all good quality and comfortable. Midway through the room's transformation, we've lightened up the space and added color. Drapery panels soften the windows, mask the dark trim, and add a vertical element that helps heighten the room. Do-it-yourself laminate flooring replaces the worn carpet. This beautiful product promises to stand up to two little ones and adds light and texture to the space. A window seat constructed in the bay adds storage and holds the promise of a second seating area. A new fireplace surround inspired by the room's original paneling gives this architectural element even more presence. Slip covers in a modern floral linen add color and pattern to the chairs. This space gets a big dose of texture with a dramatic floor lamp made from tree branches. Look at this living space now. Here in the final stage, this family room boasts a bright fresh color palette and smart storage that invites the family to relax and play together. We borrowed the paint used from dramatic taffeta drapery panels. Dusty blue upper walls give the room a breath of fresh air. The painted white trim pops against the new hue. Incorporating two colors of cozy taupe on the paneling accentuates the wainscoting's detail and give its even more shape, texture, and visual presence. The window seat is now the perfect place for story time and lounging. Below the seat, doors open to reveal hidden space for storing toys and games. We added even more storage and display space with a new built-in cabinet that divides the family room from the kitchen. Accessories such as knobby throws and pillows in cotton, linen, and velvet add texture. On the sofa, a trio of oversized pillows in a faux bois print echoes the dramatic floor lamp. This multitasking family space, we needed to make the most of the room's square footage. The space is now divided into two distinct seating areas, one anchored by the fireplace and the other with the window seat at its center. This space now welcomes the young and the old with place for kids to play and store toys and a space for adults to relax and recharge. Remember where we started? The long, narrow room was dark and dated with old carpet and plain furnishing, but with architectural focal points such as the fireplace and bay window, this space had lots of potential. In stage 2, fabrics softened the windows while new flooring brightened the space. The beginnings of a mantel makeover and window seat gave the room's attributes even more visual punch. Inspired by the original till table, furnishings began to bloom with the room's color palette. Stage 3 brought it all together with paint colors pulled from the room's fabrics, a comfortable window seat added storage, and an updated fireplace to crown the space. Don't let a dated room intimidate you. Start by identifying what to keep and what to change. Choose a color palette that gives your space a fresh new look and you'll be well on your way to creating a room your whole family can enjoy. For Decorating Magazine, I'm Lacey Howard.