Color and Pattern Ideas for a Family Room Makeover — Good Questions Apartment Therapy

Color and Pattern Ideas for a Family Room Makeover — Good Questions Apartment Therapy

Color and Pattern Ideas for a Family Room Makeover?

Q: This family room sees a lot of traffic. It’s often filled with boys playing video games or moms having coffee. It needs to be no fuss and not afraid of dirt. But right now it’s looking like it revels in dirt. We’re ready to spend a little on a new rug and and some pillows and throws. Any suggestions for colors, patterns?

The sofas are vintage and very solid and some distant day when my kids are grown (very distant, I’m pregnant with #4) I’ll have them properly recovered. In the meantime, it’s cheap slipcovers and pillows and blankets to mask the dirt.

Regina Yunghans


I would move your collection of smaller photos above the sofa to the wall to the right of the fireplace. I’d also change out the frames and put them in larger frames with matching mattes. This will make them seem much more «polished» and a little bit larger as well.

Over the sofa, I would replace those frames with a large mirror to reflect some of the light from the other side of the room and brighten up the space.

I’d also put a larger photo above the mantel. The small frames on the mantel and the silhouettes are too close in scale and it seems cluttered.

Buy some pillows or throws that pull out some of the colors of the flowers on the sofa and it will help them to look more unified.

Have fun decorating!

I would start out by rearranging the couches, so that they are opposite one another. This will still engage conversation, but will also open the room up.

Putting a statement chair or two opposite the fireplace will add some visual interest and update the room.

OR, lose a couch all together and put in two chairs. Looks like it may be a tight squeeze as it is?

If you didn’t have the budget or space for chairs- try putting some poofs or a bench to add additional seating/play areas.

A fresh coat of paint is a great way to make any room feel shiny and new! Try a light grey that will add a ‘cozy’ factor without overwhelming the space?

Good luck!

First of all, your color scheme is very flat — everything is about the same beige tonal range, apart from 2 blue items and some orange flowers. I think you need more color. Choose a couple of favorites (blue and orange ?) and repeat them. Get matching washable covers for your sofas in a light neutral color and cushions in your colors. Get a rug that incorporates your colors maybe in a bold graphic way. Flor tiles are pricey, but they are soooooo practical for families. Also, some floor cushions might be nice, as you seem to use the table as a table by sitting on the floor.

One thing that leaps out at me is the little pictures above the fireplace. Replace them with one larger piece — a mirror or a big piece of art. Check out diy art projects on AT, or buy a big canvas and have your kids create some abstract art.

The smaller pictures you’ve taken down would look better massed together on a different wall, instead of in a line. Also, I think the pictures over the one sofa are hung too high. Check out the AT thing on hanging pictures at teh right height.

Your coffee table is a bit delicate. I would look for something chunkier and with storage underneath or make something from pallets with wheels underneath, if that’s your style.

As your kids get older and need a place to do their homework, it seems like that corner where the little blue table is, could be a good place for a desk or bigger table for projects and homework.

It’s a wonderful room to have and I can imagine that the whole family enjoys being together there.

I think it’s great that you accept that you are in kid world and aren’t trying to fight it. Since this space is in transition until the kids are grown why don’t you experiment? For instance have you ever seen something and thought that’s really fun but I couldn’t live it with it forever or its too trendy. I’d do a colorful rug that is fun but when the kids spill on it who cares.

I also think you have too many little things. Swap out some for bigger things, for instance, one big piece over the fireplace instead of lots of little pieces of art. Swap the blue table and lamp for a floor lamp.

Enjoy this project and use the time to decide what you want to do when they are grown. Use the time to wait for those perfect pieces to come along.

I’ve definitely been in your shoes with little kids and slipcovers. I agree that rearranging the couches to face each other would work well to open up the space, as well as using matching slipcovers if you can. A light blue or grey on the walls could work, and some larger items like lamps and plants could bring a bit of interest to the room. You could go with a natural fiber rug or find a pretty print rug that would tie everything together with throw pillows. The important thing is to take your time and allow the room to evolve. There’s no rush to do it all at once and you’ll be able to find out what works and what doesn’t. Have fun!

I’d keep the rug, and forget about pillow covers.

For less money, you can buy a gallon of a nice rich deep yellow paint—paint at least the fireplace wall, if not the whole room. Look for cheap slipcovers in green or a deeper gold, again to carry over the colors that seem to be in the couch. Then move the pictures around, as suggested, and kiss your kids and call them good :-)

PS: I don’t see a problem with the coffee table—try some «Howard’s Feed and Wax.» But you might paint that folding chair a deep green.

Here are my ideas that will help you transition the room now and give you something to work with later.

1. Matching, neutral slipcovers on the sofas. This gives you a blank palette that doesn’t require any workarounds.

2. Get matching frames with mattes for your photo collage. It will help tie them all together to create one cohesive piece, and it’ll look less like a collection of snapshots. Get rid of the generic tile wall-art altogether.

3. Add one, large piece of art; a vase; a cool mirror; or similar for above the fire place. It should be proportionate to the size of the fireplace. A bunch of small items read like clutter and don’t guide the eye to the fireplace (which is lovely).

4. If you’re going to re-do the floors and you’re hating dirt, consider wood or a high-quality laminate. They’re easier to clean. Add an area rug in your favorite color (looks like blue?) to give a foundation to your furniture.

5. Using the area rug and your favorite colors as inspiration, select colorful, cohesive throw pillows for your sofas.

6. Paint over the dated yellow-toned walls! To keep the room bright, try white. If you purchase white frames with white mattes for your photo collection, they’ll disappear seamlessly into the wall, which can be a cool effect when done properly. Painting the ceiling in a pale blue would complete the look (and match your area rug, pillows, end table, etc.)

7. Ditch the wooden folding chair!

And I totally forgot to address the coffee table. What’s wrong with it? If you hate the color, you could stain it a dark, rich color with a gel stain! Alternatively, you could paint it a coral-y orange for a pop of color in your new blue room!

Room looks bland, it could use a shot or ten of bright colour.

Here’s my thought — find an inexpensive rug that you like. Get one with a pattern that will camouflage what happens when you have kids.

Color and Pattern Ideas for a Family Room Makeover — Good Questions Apartment Therapy

I personally like these two from Ikea, but obviously, find what suits your taste. They also show how a starting point can lead you in different directions.

From the rug, pick some colors for your slipcovers and pillows and walls.

Give your room a new coat of paint in a light colored semi-gloss. This will brighten the room, and makes washing the walls easier.

Then get a couple of bookcase (craigslist is your friend) and flank the fireplace. This will give you room to store kids’ stuff, some family pictures, and whatever else makes you and yours happy.

Best of luck

Those sofas look interesting but not for your situation..i would perhaps sell them and get ones that are modular, could be used for sleepovers etc.

I agree with previous comments about repainting walls (try out samples, large scale, in your room first!), getting matching neutral slipcovers, statement art/mirror over fireplace instead of lots of little things, re-framing your pictures (ikea ribba frames are modern and great), and potentially have couches facing each other.

Color could pull from your art, or rug. If you want to mix patterns between pillows and whatever else—stay in the same color palette but vary patterns enough to provide contrast (eg, stripes and flowers). Graphic patterns, like diamond or ikat, would feel contemporary.

I have a toddler and a dirty, dirty dog, and I’ve found that our patterned, wool vintage Turkish rug is the BEST at hiding stains. It was from ebay. My father in law spilled an entire cup of coffee on it, we patted it with some paper towels, and it’s like the spill never even happened. Another option is to get a large natural fiber rug. Seagrass is strain resistant and affordable. Then, if you want, you can layer a smaller and more colorful rug on top of it. World Market has some great options for affordable, colorful, natural fiber rugs. If you go with pattern in your rug and pillows you could leave coffee table neutral.

Good luck with # 4!

The room is in serious need of lamps. I’m assuming that an overhead fixture supplies most of your light, which really makes the room look flat. A combination of floor and table lamps will make the room more comfortable and add visual interest. Reading will also be easier with a lamp next to you than using the overhead (which should be used sparingly, usually just to see where you are going).

A agree with getting new frames for the photos, using larger frames. Don’t try to be locked into symmetry: a little randomness will make it look much more interesting. Have a great time redoing!

grey & yellow can be good combo. painting fp wall grey colour (between stones & rug) as focal point may work, floor-ceiling shelves in very dark brown or dark grey stain flanking fp needed, pics hung too high & could be in same-colour frames matching bookcases or brass fp surround, mirror over fp or over side sofa good idea, console matching bookshelves behind sofa may be better workstation than existing coffee table (which could be stained darker to match), remove ditsy furniture for one cozy (red, orange, blue, plum?) chair w good reading light standing behind, pillows in chair colour & grey tie it together. if replacing rug, a classic kilim/persian short-pile w many colours works, a scratchy sisal does not.

Been trying to think what might be least burdensome for what seems a limited budget.

The dominant colours already in your room seem to be a blue-indigo and a red-cinnabar, (at least that’s how they come across on my screen). So a sofa covering featuring either of these would help kill the bland. And perhaps select the other colour when choosing your new rug.

You might also want to consider adding a broad vertical stripe of colour or else paint an arc to break the monotonyof the wall behind the slipcovered sofa.

And if neither of these appeal, how about hanging a sizable square of some attractive fabric on one wall?

Hope this helps.

First, I think you have interesting things. I would clear out out all the wall hanging s and tchockes to start. Then blow up the central picture of your kids even larger in b&w, and hang it over the fireplace. Blow it up large enough to be almost as wide as the fireplace. Bring back the turquoise vase about 1/3 across, with some tall, spare branches sprayed rusty orange. Light the picture. Find a new home for the slipcovered camelback sofa, and add a pair of modern chairs flanking the fireplace. (White shell chairs would be great.) To the right, add the turqoise table with a larger lamp, maybe something with a mirrored base. Hang the silhouettes vertically where the small print is now. To the left, add a small bookcase or sideboard where the second sofa is now, painted navy. Group all your framed photos on top of it. Hang a large mirror above it, and hide an up light between it and the fireplace wall. Flank a pair of modern white floorlamps behind the couch. Put two distressed navy leather pillows at each end of the couch, and large lumbar pillow covered in an ethnic fabric in either rust or turquoise (both?) in the middle. Paint the fireplace doors black. Sand the table down to raw woid and wax it, add a big cognac leather tray.

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