Design a Family Room Everyone Will Love

January 19th, 2016 | Posted in Custom Home, Home Design

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 19 of George Davis’ book, Room By Room. Each chapter covers one room or feature of a home and provides inside information about what things to consider.  The book highlights areas to concentrate on if you have a limited budget as well as skies-the-limit options, and everything in between.

Fun Family Rooms

Family rooms are important – they’re one of the most popular rooms in the entire home. This is where the action is! You can invite your friends over for popcorn and a movie. Football fans cheer on their favorite teams. Sometimes it’s just the best place in the home to share laughter and games with the family. Holiday decorations look great hanging over the mantle. On a quiet evening, the family room is the perfect place to curl up in front of the fireplace with a good book. Take the time to design this roomjust for you and your family!

Not Too Small

This is one of those rooms where it’s better to make it too big than too small. When family rooms are too small, it makes the whole house seem smaller, even if the other room sizes are adequately sized. When designing your family room, think about your individual lifestyle and how often you invite guests over to share the space with you. If you leave the family room too small, it will force people to move into other rooms. If this is what you intend, that’s okay; just don’t be surprised to see the children and their friends finding their own space when there isn’t enough space for them to join the family.

Placement Of The Family Room

The relationship between the family room and the kitchen is vital. Just because they are adjacent to each other doesn’t necessarily mean they connect properly for your use. Do you want the kitchen to have an open view onto the family room? Many people love having an open counter space between the two rooms, making it easy to set snacks and drinks out for easy access from the family room. This open design also means when one person is “stuck” in the kitchen preparing food or cleaning up they aren’t banished from the conversation or whatever is happening in the family room. On the other hand, some people want the kitchen to be closed from view so any unsightly mess can be hidden and dealt with later. Discuss the best design options for your needs with your builder. Get input from the rest of the family on what they might like as well.

Orientation Of Room

The main design challenge for a family room is deciding how you want the room oriented. Do you want the couches and love seat to face the television, the fireplace, or the pool and backyard? It’s important to decide early what’s most important to you and then design accordingly. If the backyard opens up directly behind the family room, it will be impossible to look directly at the television while also capturing a magnificent view of the backyard. Many people struggle trying to accomplish both so you need to decide what you value most. You can’t have two #1 choices in this area.

More About The TV

Technology has made big screen TVs very affordable, and no doubt the family room is where you’ll enjoy that feature the most. Often the great view of the screen competes with a fireplace as the focal point in the family room. Many contemporary designs today place the fireplace in the formal living room so the TV and the fireplace don’t compete with each other. Another possibility is putting the television above the fireplace. Although this is one possible solution, be careful of the angle so you’re not looking up too high to watch television. Ideally designed family rooms are laid out so that everything works together and flows. If the design makes you feel like you’re sitting in a sports bar watching TV with people you’ve never met, you may need to rethink the room’s arrangement. Your TV looks best when viewed at eye-level. Decide if your TV will be mounted on the wall, placed on a stand, or in a cabinet. Then design the rest of the room around it.
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