Decorate A Family Room That Stands the Test of Time
Is that even POSSIBLE to decorate a Family Room that will hold up past the latest trend?! In the days of quick paced trends and the newest and greatest popping up on your daily Pinterest feed:
Is there such a thing as a trend-proof room?
A fellow designer friend and I were having this exact conversation the other day trying to sip coffee while frantically chasing after our combined 6 children on a recent playdate. Can you ever design a room that is truly classic and will never look dated? Honestly friends, the answer is probably no…I don’t think a single one of us can look back to our grandparents 1960s room and wish they could replicate it exactly! However, there most certainly are styles, furniture pieces, and ways to create a classic, timeless look that isn’t going to ebb and flow with the latest decor fad (today’s buffalo check trend is replacing our chevron-crazy rooms from three years ago, and in another three years we will be on to the next eye candy)
And I don’t know about you, but I’m all about saving money, time, and stress by designing a classic looking room and then just enjoying it, without having to constantly scramble around to re-decorate every season. Recently a real Postbox client in South Carolina had a similar request. She wanted a traditional, classic Family Room design, and she wanted a sophisticated coastal flair since she lived an envy-inspiring distance from the beach. 🙂 So I wanted to share this project with you, along for some ways to choose pieces that are going to last you until your kids go off to school!
Tip #1 Invest in Neutral Classic Large Pieces for your Family Room
I know what you are thinking: “invest=expensive”. Maybe. I’ve been a homeowner for nearly 15 years in three different houses. And I have certainly bought a lot of Target furniture over the years, and you are NEVER gonna break my Target addiction baby. Budget-friendly pieces absolutely have a place in any home (keep reading on):
BUT I have learned the hard way that it is true you get what you pay for.
If you are designing a Family Room I am talking about 2-3 pieces total. I want you to save up a little more money for them because they are going to last through the long haul. If you have been hanging out with me for awhile you have probably heard me talking about my infamous white Pottery Barn sofa (I have three kids and have had three dogs over the years-and YES this was a pre-baby purchase!). My hubby and I splurged on this slipcovered Pottery Barn sofa about 13 years ago. And you know what? The frame is in perfect shape. (And it has been the center of some epic fort building expeditions). Finally just last year I had to break down and buy a new slipcover, but my original one still lasted me TWELVE YEARS. If you break down the price tag, it was money well spent.
So What Furniture Is Worth Spending More Money On?
If you can only choose one piece of furniture, it is hands down your sofa. Look for a quality made piece with classic, traditional lines (I’ll show you how to jazz it up with your specific style). I’m a huge fan of slipcovers with small children, but if you go upholstered go for a quality fabric. I’m a fan of neutral colors: grays, tans, whites, navy, etc. If you are looking at a place like Pottery Barn or Ballard Designs, they (and many other manufacturers) now offer Sunbrella exterior fabric or high-durability fabrics that cost more upfront but are going to last.
If you have a little more to spend I would also suggest a well-made armchair. A comfy leather chair is only going to look better with the test of time. And a classic wingback is going to stay in style f-o-r-e-v-e-r. If you have any other money for an investment piece leftover, I would go for a well-made coffee table. We abuse our coffee tables a LOT so go for a durable, well-made piece. And as much as I love painted furniture, a stained wood piece is usually going to last longer.
Where to Shop for Good Quality Furniture?
In my clients’ room, I found a neutral classic sofa from Ballard Designs (#1), a well-made spindle chair (with upholstery that could be replaced down the line for a different look, while keeping the frame), (#4) from BirchLane, and an armchair also from Ballard Designs (#5). I did add some aqua color in with this armchair so be sure to use a color that you love. This chair has a heavy duty fabric with a faint pattern that will help hide stains in the future. Her coffee table I selected (#9), I actually have myself at home! It actually is a very reasonably priced coffee table from Wayfair and has a zinc top that is easy to wipe down.
I like to recommend nation wide companies for sourcing since with E-Design I want to make sure clients all over the country have access to what I find. Some stores I recommend are Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Ballard Designs, Arhaus, Article, CB2, West Elem & Crate and Barrel.
Tip #2: Decorate your Family Room with Classic Materials
How else do you keep a room looking classic? A lot of it will do with the shape and material of your furniture. This is a more traditional styled Family Room, but clean, straight lines will always hold their own, such as my client’s console table (#17). A classic pedestal style table like the Pottery Barn side table (#2) have been around forever, for good reason. This style works well for a coffee table and Dining Room table as well. Furthermore, this wood and marble side table has long-lasting, well-made materials. If she wants a change, she could swap this accent table into a bedroom later on down the line.
White painted furniture is also a classic. I mixed in a “low” with this inexpensive TV console table (#10 from Wayfair, but it’s clean lines and painted surface will stay on trend for awhile (and you can always do something small like swap out knobs in the future for a new look).
And finally, natural materials such as linen, cotton (found on her sofa, #1), jutes (such as her jute rug, #11), sisal, etc. will be neutral, long lasting products. Jute and sisal rugs are having a hey day right now and will always lend a cottage or coastal flair to a room.
A lot of designers are going to disagree with me on this one….
But one of the “lows” I usually choose for a client’s room is a budget-friendly rug. I know a million designers will tell me I’m dead wrong and will tell you to invest in $1000+ rugs that will last forever. And in a way they are right. But I’m also real world here people. I have three little kids and I see how mud, juice, and cracker crumbs multiply on our floors. So I tend to find beautiful, budget friendly rugs that you can have out for 5+ years and then swap out. In my house that is about how long my average rug has lasted. And this gorgeous jute rug that I found for my client is one of my favorite steals. Hands down it is my FAVORITE RUG IN THE WORLD. I own two of them in my own home in fact!
This jute rug in a 8′-6″x12′ size is only $250 (with free shipping)!
That is a HUGE rug for an amazing price friends. So many people ask about it, that here is a link to the exact rug right HERE
Tip #3: Layer on Inexpensive Accent Pieces in your Family Room Decor
Remember how in the very title of this blog post I said I mixed “Highs” and “Lows” into this room? I told you about how to invest in classic, neutral, well-made pieces.
But like with a little black dress, the right accessories can put a room over the top.
So where should you splurge on “high” pieces and when should you go budget-friendly with some “low” pieces? Oh I’m so glad you asked!
Good Places to Mix in “Low” Pieces in Decorating Your Room:
Throw Pillows: See Items #24, 2, & 26 in her Mood Board. I’m an even bigger fan of doing pillow covers when possible so you can swap them off to wash or change out with the season. I buy my high-quality inserts from Pottery Barn and then find fun covers at places like Etsy.
TV Console Table: Unlike a coffee table or side table this is a piece of furniture we honestly don’t touch all that much once we set it into place so it doesn’t get a lot of wear and tear. I like shopping places like Target and Wayfair for these pieces.
Accessories, Mirrors and Decor Objects: Check out Items #13, 14, 15, 18 and #21-these fun little pieces help add coastal flair to her room without costing a fortune. And these are the easiest things to change in and out when you want a different look. At my house I’m always using things liked dried hydranges, fresh ferns, and driftwood that I literally find and drag into my house. Sorry hubby.
Lamps: Check out #9 and #12 from Target and World Market for finds from this Mood Board. Again, you can find a million of super fun options from places like Target that cost a fraction of the price tag as similar looks. You look at the average table lamp more than you use it.
Artwork: Eeek, this is a tough one! If you have the budget for an amazing piece by an artist you love…go for it! A piece that touches your heart now will likely make your heart flutter 10 years from now as well. BUT places like Society 6, Minted, and Etsy have such drool worthy selections from amazing artists. My favorite thing to do is purchase Instant Download prints on Etsy then blow them up to oversized prints for a dramatic focal point in my room. And I almost always buy the digital rights for less than $10. For this room, this painting (#20) is a limited edition print from Ballard Designs, and fits in with her sophisticated coastal look.
Rugs: See my soapbox from above! If you are past the little kid/housebreaking dogs stage then you might be ready to invest in a long-term rug piece. But I’m a huge fan of Rugs USA, the prices are shocking and I have been happy with the quality every single time (I own quite a few in my own house).
Good Places to Mix in “High Places” in Decorating Your Room
I went into detail above with these, but here are some places to consider:
Possibly artwork or rug depending on your situation
With my client I created the two design Mood Boards you saw above, along with a custom Shopping List and Step-by-Step instructions for her. I also created a Floor Plan with detailed instructions of where to place all of her objects (not shown). But finally, my favorite drawing inside her whole Postbox is her 3D rendering. This is the drawing that really, truly lets you see what your room is going to look like in real-life. When pulling together a room you have to think not only about how everything will coordinate (not too matchy-matchy but still has enough visual interest), but also things like the scale of the furniture, where to place things on walls, how to lay out your items on your coffee table…so many little details! So this 3D rendering shows all of her objects pulled together into her finished room. It is a drawing you can add onto any Room Package, and clients tell me over and over how helpful it is to them.
Like when building a house, you always want to start with the foundation. Choose your neutral big pieces, and let those define your room. Add in some less expensive furniture pieces (side tables, console tables, a smaller chair, rug), and then finish off with fun, inexpensive accessories. Accessories are where you can introduce a trend, some color, or something whimsical and fun. These are the things that can be rotated in and out without too much guilt.
Ready to get started on your Room Makeover? You might also love these Real Postbox Projects that have a more classic, traditional look.
Or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will custom design your entire room top-to-bottom and mail you your room-in-box. Check out all of the different drawings and items you will get in your Postbox to make the process as easy as can be right HERE Or just check out my FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY chock full of Free Worksheets, Guides, Mood Boards, Shopping Lists and More!