Family Room: Decorating in Stages

Tackle a decorating project in manageable stages. See this family room morph from beige and unorganized to colorful, comfortable, and storage-savvy in three easy steps.

Creating a space for family and friends to unwind and spend quality time together is something most homeowners strive for, but when faced with a blah beige room, it's easy to become overwhelmed by all the possibilities. I'm Lacey Howard, editor of Decorating Magazine, and today I'm going to show you how we turned a lackluster living space into a comfortable family retreat, just by breaking its makeover into three easy steps. Right now, with beige walls, brown furniture, and a lack of accessories, this living space doesn't look terribly inviting, but a traditional mantel, french doors, and beautiful wood floors give it the potential for greatness. One major hurdle to remaking this room is all the stuff that needs to be stored. Music, movies, toys, games, and all those things that bring families together require easily accessible storage. The room also has a small nook tucked away from the main gathering space that isn't being utilized. Midway through the family room's transformation, we've added color and softness to this space. Drapery panels in a kicky stripe framed the windows and mantel in an upbeat tempo. A lively rug beneath the sectional anchors the piece in the center of the room. Throw pillows on the sofa break up the expansive brown with pops of color. A sassy chair adds easily mobile seating when needed. We've also added lots of storage. Just inside the front door, backpacks, sports equipment, and pet supplies have a place off the floor. Where before, a breakfast table stood in as a home office, we've tucked a do-it-yourself workspace into the room's nook. This room is well on its way to being the functional family gathering space we've been imagining. Look at this family room now. Here in the final stage, a playful color palette and smart organization invites family and friends together at any time. We borrowed the paint hues from the stripe drapery panels. A soft aqua wraps the living space in calm and adobe red punches up the energy level in the entryway and office nook. Behind the simple panels, relaxed Roman shades add another layer of softness and pattern to the room's windows. A handsome leather chair encourages lounging and offers additional seating when the sectional is full. For this multitasking family space, we chose a coffee table with a tray feature to accommodate working, playing, and snacking while seated on the sofa. Deep drawers provide plenty of space for pillows and blankets to stay out of sight until it's movie time. A beautiful new console with large drawers, glass-front cabinets and open storage now holds the flat screen TV. In the office nook, a built-in desk allows a place to get work done but still be a party to the family fun. The rolling file drawers tuck under the desk while overhead shelves give this space even more storage and have a sliding panel to hide a mess when needed. A pretty pendant offers task lighting and a punch of personality to the all business space. This living space now welcomes everyone with open arms. Its color palette, cozy seating, and abundance of storage guarantees family and friends will all be comfortable here. Remember where we started? The large room was bathed in beige with a big brown sofa as its only seating. Items just piled up with no place to go and an old table acted as the home office. We added much needed entry storage and upgraded the office with a desktop and file drawers. Stage 3 brought it all together with a console for the TV, a coffee table with storage and function, and a hardworking home office. Don't let decorating decisions overwhelm you. Just choose furniture you love, fun fabrics, and let those lead you down the path to a beautiful room your whole family can enjoy. For Decorating Magazine, I'm Lacey Howard.