The family room is where you go to relax, watch movies, play games and hang out with friends — which makes it a great place in which to loosen up, decorating-wise. Create a fun, welcoming atmosphere in your family room by incorporating one or more of these 15 playful features, from photo murals to game tables.
1. Projection paint. If your family loves movie night, why not go with a projector instead of a giant TV? A blank wall here is coated with flat white projection paint, and a projector is built into the wall opposite to create a mini screening area. If you don’t want a built-in projector, you can buy a small projector that works with your smartphone or another device.
2. Custom photo mural. These creative homeowners had The Wall Sticker Company turn a photograph of their children into removable fabric wallpaper with an adhesive backing. Create a feature wall in your own family room using your favorite photo to personalize the space — and start conversations!
3. Family travel map mural. A world map painted on the wall becomes an interactive feature when you use it to mark the places you have been. Use a coat of magnetic paint under the mural to create a magnetic surface, or have a large corkboard painted so you can pin flags directly on the map.
4. Fun accent furniture. Since the family room is often tucked away from the other, more formal spaces, it is a good place for getting a little more playful with furniture and decor. Try your hand at making DIY dice tables like the ones shown here (just paint dots on a plain cube), or scoop up a funky vintage piece at the flea market.
5. Games table. If your crew loves to play cards and board games, consider adding a game table to your family room. A slender table with stools can be pushed against the wall when not in use, with the stools tucked underneath.
6. Bright rug. Bring neutral furniture and paint colors to life with a cheerful rug in bright, bold hues. Bonus: Bold patterns tend to hide spills and stains better than most solid-hued rugs. And if you don’t want to worry about spills at all, choose an indoor-outdoor rug that can be wiped clean with ease.
7. Chalkboard wall. Kids love chalkboard walls, it’s true … but they are not the only ones! Use yours to record inspiring quotes, snippets of poems and song lyrics, or draw doodles and write lists. If you’re concerned about dust, use chalk pens; if you’re concerned about the room’s looking too dark, use one of the new chalk paints that can be tinted in any hue.
8. Family photo wall. Create a contemporary family photo wall by lining up all of your frames within the boundaries of an imaginary rectangle drawn on the wall. Position simple, matching white frames close together, for a fresh look that seems hard but is surprisingly easy to achieve. For a gallery wall like this, it can be easier to choose the frames first (lay them on the floor of the store to be sure you’re picking the right sizes and number) and the photos later.
9. Window seat with storage. If your family room is small, don’t let the space beneath a window go to waste — turn it into comfy seating and storage in one with a window seat. A thick cushion and throw pillows make it comfortable, and basket storage below is great for holding books and board games.
10. Revamped heirlooms. Update a family-favorite piece that has seen better days by having it reupholstered in a fresh, colorful fabric you love, and top it with coordinating pillows. The pairing of contemporary fabric with a traditional frame sets a playful mood that’s perfect for a heavily trafficked family room.
11. Slide-out puzzle desk. You could use a slide-out desk like this to hold a laptop, but where’s the fun in that? If you have puzzle fans in your house, they will appreciate this feature — work on a puzzle when you want, and slide it away for later without wrecking it.
12. Barn-door TV cover. Wish you could take the emphasis away from the big black box when you’re not using it? Hop on a new iteration of the barn-door bandwagon and rig up a set to slide over your flat-screen. The doors will look great open or closed.
13. House-rules wall decal. A fun wall decal or print with a message can be a heartfelt reminder of the things your family values most. Search for “house rules” online, and lots of options should pop up, both ready made and custom.
14. Kids’ play area. If you have young children in the house, a train or Lego table and a few low pouf seats can provide wee ones with screen-free entertainment. Keep a set of storage bins on shelves nearby stocked with toys kids can help themselves to.
15. Lively artwork. Adding a single piece of original artwork is always a great way to start (or complete) a room design, and can take a family room from basic to stunning in the time it takes you to hang a picture. To highlight a painting, keep other wall art to a minimum, and paint the walls white or another neutral hue to provide a backdrop for the art.