DIY Inspiration: Multitasking Family Room

Petal-Perfect Pillow
Creative space planning along with easy and affordable decorating results in a multitasking family room that lives up to its name.

Go With the Flow

Designer Heather Hardt used a long stretch of wall in an L-shape room to define a home office for this family. She used wall space for storage and added nature-themed accents to soften.

Furnishings and storage components were fashioned from natural wovens, woods, and leathers. Decorative accents pop in a warm palette of green, orange, and raspberry.

DIY Tip: Find the pattern for this free bird wall art (shown at right on the shelf) at

Sew Chic

Natural touches, like this handmade pillow, add warmth and personality to the room.

DIY Tip: Find the template for this pillow at

Live-in Living Room

The homeowners focused on comfort and practicality in the living room redo. Knowing the space needed to accommodate kid activities and grown-up entertaining, the designer packed it with hardworking projects and smart design elements. Each zone incorporates storage for family necessities as well as easy spots to lounge.

Customized Sideboard

The white sideboard creates a physical and visual break between the entry and seating areas. It stores games, gift wrap supplies, a wireless printer, and toys.

DIY Tip: A fabric-covered panel inserted into the sliding door of the buffet updates a plain piece that now echoes the palette of the rest of the room.

Wall Art That Wows

A grouping of white ceramic tubes holds flowers next to a pair of custom-made dimensional prints (see next slide for instructions on how to make your own).

How to Make Leaf-Theme Art

What you'll need:

-- Leaf design

-- Tracing paper

-- 12 yards of 45-inch cream imitation suede fabric

-- Background fabric

-- Sewing machine

-- Knitting needle

-- Quilt batting

-- 16x16-inch piece of ½-inch-thick medium-density fiberboard (MDF)

-- Staple gun

Step 1: Start with a leaf design (sketch your own or search for "leaf pattern" online). Trace the design onto cream fabric and cut out.

Step 2: Place the fabric shape on the background fabric. Using a satin stitch on the sewing machine, stitch around the edge of the shape and in random lines for leaf veins, leaving a small opening at the top. Using a knitting needle, insert quilt batting into the opening and into several veins to give the leaf dimension. Satin-stitch the opening closed.

Step 3: Center the leaf on the MDF, wrapping fabric around the back; staple in place. Repeat these steps for additional art pieces.

Make Your Own Mudroom

The designer fashioned an entry area that makes previously unused space work hard. Tucked next to the front door, fabricated boxes define the niche. A segmented box provides seating and cubbies for storage baskets labeled for each family member. Another box hangs on the wall to support a mail and key drop and to hold charging stations, pet gear, and handbags.

DIY Tip: The entry offers a perfect spot for a feeding station with treats and food stored in the wall cubbies. Plus, it's easy to tuck the bowls and mat under the bench when entertaining.

How to Sew a Petal-Perfect Pillow

What you'll need:

-- ¾-yard of 45-inch green imitation suede fabric

-- ¼ yard each of 45-inch cream, raspberry pink, and orange imitation suede fabric

-- Sewing machine

-- Pins

-- 16-inch boxed pillow insert

-- Matching threads

-- Heavy-duty thread

-- Fabric glue

Note: With right sides facing, stitch seams using a 1/2-inch seam allowance unless otherwise indicated.

Step 1: Cut the following: two 17-inch circles from green fabric for the pillow front and back; two 4-27-inch pieces from green fabric for the boxing strip; ¼-inch-wide green strips in various lengths for the loop center detail; and 5x45-inch strip of cream fabric, 4 1/2x45-inch strip of pink fabric, and 4x45-inch strip of orange fabric for the flowers.

Step 2: Stitch the green rectangles together to form one continuous loop. Pin and stitch the boxing strip to one circle for the pillow top. Repeat with the other edge of the boxing strip and the pillow bottom, leaving an opening for turning and for inserting the pillow form. Clip and notch the seam allowance. Turn to the right side. Insert the pillow form and slip-stitch the opening closed.

Step 3: For the flowers, stitch the short ends of the strips together with right sides facing and with a ¼-inch seam allowance. Turn to the right side. Turn under ¼ inch along one side and topstitch with matching thread close to the fold. On the opposite edges, use heavy-duty thread and a long running stitch to hand-gather the strip into a flower shape. Secure the thread. Repeat for each color.

Step 4: Make loops from the ¼-inch-wide green fabric by stitching short ends together with heavy-duty thread. Hand-stitch to the center of each flower. Arrange the flowers on the pillow and stitch or glue in place.

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