Ask a designer: A family room for the whole family



THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Published — Sunday 11 August 2013

Last update 18 August 2013 12:49 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

In many homes, the “family room” is decorated with just one purpose: To withstand the impact of juice-spilling, game-playing, cookie-eating, crayon-wielding children.
The result is often a room that’s long on durability but short on style.
How can you create a stylish, sophisticated family room where grown-ups will want to spend time, while still keeping the space kid-friendly?
Three design experts — Brian Patrick Flynn of decordemon.com and Flynnside Out Productions; Betsy Burnham of Burnham Design; and Jon Call of Mr. Call Designs — offer some advice:
“Design technology and textiles are catching up with our family-friendly lifestyle,” says Burnham. “There are so many outdoor fabrics, so many amazing vinyls” that are durable and easy to clean, but also look good. Burnham is a fan of Holly Hunt fabrics treated with Nano-Tex, which resists spills and stains without changing the fabric’s texture.
Indoor and outdoor rugs are another great option now that they’re being made with materials soft to the touch.
Flynn, who often uses Sunbrella indoor and outdoor fabrics, suggests upholstering with removable slipcovers for easy cleaning.
When choosing slipcovers, “washed linen is great since it’s meant to look worn-in and super casual.” He’s also a fan of very dark denim: “Navy blue and charcoal are my go-to choices for denim slipcovers since they look more tailored than basic beiges or creams.”
Call recommends skipping sofas that have three or four seat cushions and several more cushions across the back. “If you’ve got kids playing and jumping on those,” he says, you’ll constantly be finding the cushions out of place or on the floor.
Instead, he says, pick a sofa with one large seat cushion and no separate cushions along the back — “something tailored and clean looking” that won’t need its cushions adjusted constantly.



Family rooms are built for entertaining, so think about flexible seating, Burnham says. “Maybe a side table that’s also a stool, or a coffee table that’s also a bench or an ottoman.”
Kids can use an ottoman as a surface for games, while adult party guests can use it as seating.
Opt for tables with rounded corners for safety in rooms where kids often play, Flynn says, and choose tables with “metal or weathered wood tops. Metal tops can withstand heavy wear and tear, while weathered wood is intended to look worn, so as kids take their toll on the pieces, it simply adds to the intended look.”
Rooms that do double-duty need lighting that does too, says Call.
“When you have adults over or if you’re watching TV or it’s a more intimate moment, you want a lamp by the sofa, at eye-level or below, to create intimate pools of light,” he says.
But kids doing homework or art projects need the brighter light that overhead fixtures provide. Make sure your family room has both.
Have a place for everything, Burnham says, so toys and other kid-related items can be put away easily at the end of the day. She recommends a wall of built-in cabinets with doors, so kids’ clutter can be easily stashed, at hand but out of sight.
She also suggests creating storage space in the family room for a few fragile or valuable items that aren’t kid-friendly.
“You can have a cashmere throw in the cabinet that you pull out for the adults,” Burnham says. By storing these things in the room, you’re more likely to really use them, yet they’re protected from the kids’ play.
Flynn also recommends built-ins, and suggests “adding color and pattern to their back panels.”
“I usually use large-scale patterned wallpaper,” he says. Consider nautical styles: “They’re casual and fun, and they don’t take themselves too seriously.”
For additional storage, Flynn says, replace coffee tables with “upholstered storage ottomans complete with safety locking mechanisms, which prevent little ones from getting inside of them to hide, and also protecting any little fingers from hinges.” He suggests upholstering ottomans with indoor-outdoor fabrics so they’ll withstand spills and sticky fingers.
In a high-traffic family room, Call suggests sticking with deeper colors rather than whites or pale shades.
Flynn agrees: “The one color I use more than any other in family-centric spaces is navy blue,” he says, because it can appeal to the whole family. He recommends Seaworthy navy from Sherwin-Williams: “It has just the right amount of purple in it to make it bright instead of dark.”
“Red is another high-energy hue which works great in family rooms,” Flynn says, which works well with most other colors, especially black-brown, navy blue and charcoal.
Don’t hide the fact that the room is being shared with kids, Flynn says.
“Embrace it. Work children and playfulness into the design of a family room’s aesthetic,” he suggests.
On the walls, he likes to use “pop art or original photography of toys, especially vintage toys, or black-and-white candid photography of the family blown up to an enormous scale” to personalize the room.
“Kids and pets are a huge part of our lives. Since we love them more than the sofas and chairs they sit on, why not make them as much as part of a room’s decoration as its furnishings?” Flynn says.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Timely intervention by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman helped move a Saudi woman, who was declared “brain dead” in the US, to the Kingdom.Hani Matar El-Enzi was quoted as saying by an online publication on Wednesday that his wife, Bas...
RIYADH: The world’s fattest man from Jazan has shed 320 kg in almost three years and a video online showed him taking his first steps with the help of a Zimmer frame, thanks to the role of the Ministry of Health in the weight-loss program.Khaled Mohs...
JEDDAH: The National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) has questioned the fairness of Saudis being sentenced to death in Iraq.The organization believes the sentences have been issued against the backdrop of “sectarian pressures” and that the regional s...
RIYADH: The $22-billion Riyadh Metro project is going on according to the plan despite the fact that many global projects are faltering.“There are many stalled projects all over the world and not in the Kingdom alone, but the metro project in the Sau...
JEDDAH: Four members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia) were stabbed by a youth who was allegedly trying to blackmail a girl in Jeddah. The incident happened on Tuesday night and the four officers, who sus...
RIYADH: A recent report released by the Ministry of Labor revealed that the number of violations registered on the ministry’s electronic program “Together for Monitoring” in the months of December 2015 and January 2016 amounted to 484, of which 157 w...
RIYADH: Health Minister Khalid Al-Falih visited the medical complex in Thuwal, near Jeddah, on Tuesday. The facility was set up by Saudi Aramco, whose chairman is the health minister himself.According to the minister, the complex provides primary hea...
JEDDAH: A number of Shoura Council members have voiced objections to some imams who express their personal opinions during Friday sermons.The members asked the Ministry of Islamic Affairs to supervise the sermons to make sure they were written by spe...
MADINAH: Street vendors near the Prophet’s Mosque pose a risk to the country’s reputation and economy besides blocking the way of service cars, Red Crescent and Civil Defense vehicles, an expert has said.Ninety-eight percent of these street merchants...
RIYADH: Appropriate action has been taken against the Haia members who were involved in beating up a girl opposite the Nakheel shopping mall here recently, but the girl was also at fault, a Haia official has clarified.“A probe has revealed that the g...
I am from the east of France but moved to Saudi Arabia from Paris in 1990. I worked for a princess as a French language tutor. I was young and single. I thought it was very exotic and mysterious. I lived in a palace. I left Saudi Arabia in 1992 and c...
JEDDAH: The Pakistan Repatriation Council (PRC) held a symposium on Kashmir and the obligation of Muslim world toward Kashmiris.It was presided by Ali Al-Ghamdi, a former Saudi diplomat. Other guests and speakers at the event were Shahid Nayeem, pres...
DAMMAM: A total of 627 kidney transplant surgeries were performed in the Kingdom last year, bringing the number of kidney transplants, performed since the beginning of the organ donation program, to 9,000 surgeries, said Dr. Faisal Shaheen, director...
ABHA: Saudi women spend more on cosmetics compared to women in the West, the Arab world and even in the Gulf, economic studies show.Recent statistics issued by the Saudi Customs suggest the amount of imported cosmetics in the past year exceeded SR2.3...
RIYADH: A study is under way to provide health insurance to Umrah pilgrims and domestic workers and certain articles of the health regulations needs to be amended, an official has said.According to local media, the statement was made by Mohammed bin...

Stay Connected

Facebook