Decorating & Design
April 6, 2020
Ask A Designer: How To Make The Most Of A Compact Family Room
In this Ask A Designer column, Jennifer Koper shares her tips for designing a functional gathering place.
Question: How do I lay out my narrow family room? Should I do built-ins on either side of the fireplace? I’ve already ordered a sofa and I’m looking for a coffee table — what else do I need to make the space great? — S.S., Toronto
Answer: Since your family room is adjacent to the kitchen with its eating counter, and you have a separate dining room, I suggest you ditch your small round table and chairs. Then you’ll have room for a conversation area that includes two new armchairs in a fabric that complements your new sofa. They’ll look great placed side by side to the left of the fireplace, like in this sophisticated room designed by Workstead (below).
Thanks for sharing your choice of sofa (below); I love how sleek and modern it is.
(Source: Rye Channel Sofa, $2,015, eltemkt.com)
Opt for a round or square coffee table (instead of a rectangle) for the best fit.
(Source: Plateau Coffee Table, $1,169, urbanmode.com)
I recommend adding a larger rug that runs the length of the room. It should be big enough that the sofa and armchairs sit on it, but not so big that it interferes with the counter stools.
(Source: Serac Rug in Natural, Blue and Rust, starting at $314, westelm.com)
(Source: Arcade Ollie Chair in Camry Orange by Arren Williams, $1,099, thebay.com)
To keep the look airy, I would forgo built-ins. Instead, replace your current mirrored chest with a larger, more robust piece and move it over to the left side of the fireplace, and place a generously sized potted plant on the right side.
(Source: East Hampton Hall Chest in Cerused Linen, price available upon request, bernhardt.com)
For color and personality, lean a couple of pieces of art on the chest (they should stop short of the window above) and, to soften the look of the windows flanking the fireplace, consider having slouchy roman blinds made in natural linen.
(Source: Deia Linen in Sand by Alexa Hampton, price available upon request, kravet.com)
Enjoy your new family room!
Do you have a design dilemma? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.