Shortly after we moved into this suburban ranch house in Kansas 6 years ago, I read an article in Canadian House and Home magazine featuring a home with a very similar family room layout. It had the same window placement, fireplace and overall dimensions but was light an airy and it took full advantage of the rooms symmetry – I loved that room.
I have been carrying around that picture as my husband and I slowly worked on the house, trying to improve the room but using our existing furniture. The room was improved, but did not accomplish bringing a tired family room back to life.
A few months ago, I finally decided to go out and purchase a few items to move the decor closer my vision for the room, inspired by the H&H house.
If you have read any of my other articles, you know this was a big deal for me to actually buy new items! The philosophy I try to bring to home design focuses on getting the best from existing items, reusing or re-purposing pieces as much as possible; however, there is a time to be open to bringing in new decor items, particularly when moving into a larger space. On these occasions the emphasis is on getting new pieces that represent value for money and future versatility.
With the design H&H inspiration in mind, I spent a couple of months looking for the right pair of light colored sofas and floor mounted tripod lamps. The slip-covered sofas (in stone colored fabric) were purchased from World Market and in the few months since we purchased they no longer make them. The tripod lamps are from JCPenny. I patiently waited until I could maximize coupons at both stores! (I have no affiliation with JCPenny, World Market or H&H).
Design Approach and Projects
The below picture is from before I made the throw cushions for the sofa, including the fur pillows made from a thrift store fur coat.
The first time I wrote about the family room makeover (round 1), it involved much more manual labor, including updating baseboards, painting trim, painting the walls, filling in the gap over the fireplace, removing the heavy draperies and re-arranging the furniture to highlight the symmetry of the almost perfectly square space. The first makeover also included the plastic shelves that had been fixed up and painted, as well a ‘hack’ of an IKEA coffee table.
The above picture was from the first makeover, completely re-using my existing furniture, and below is the room shortly after we moved into this house before starting any of our projects. I am so glad to be rid of the gold colored walls, which might look only subtly different in these photographs, but the walls have been painted with a more modern greyish beige color. The room was also let down by the short wooden baseboards and heavy drapes. The original furniture and the drapes have been re-purposed, mostly in the basement, which had been pretty empty since we moved in 6 years ago, but it is now a much more comfortable space.
Hmmm, as I write this article, I realize that I am trying to decorate using a picture from a 6 year old magazine. Is this family room update already way out of date?!
Maybe, but I think the room is slowly getting better even though there is still more we plan to do. The coffee table was swapped with a glass top table we bought at IKEA 15 years ago. It might not be perfect for the space, but it will do for now. I have moved the plastic shelves into my daughter’s room as part of her room makeover, and have put a table (that is much too small) in it’s place until I can find the right one for the space. I am also considering moving the rug into the dining room and getting a less formal one for this room – possibly a tapestry bound sisal. The biggest decision will be whether or not to paint out the fireplace, and change the tile – but that would be way down on the list of priorities, if we do it at all.