Vail Design at Altitude column: Well-designed family room draws everyone in
Design at Altitude
Gone are the dark, dungeon family rooms from the 1970s — thank goodness. Family rooms are truly a place where everyone wants to hang out, especially on vacation. With a little thought, attention to detail and a touch of whimsy, you can create a room worthy of your family’s time.
A family room should be a fun space that reflects what you all enjoy. Start off with creating a good layout. This includes comfortable seating — and plenty of it. Some people like to cuddle on a sofa; others are more armchair types, and still others like the floor. For those who like to lounge on ground level, choose a high-quality, comfortable flooring option, whether it’s a colorful area rug, wall-to-wall carpeting or low-slung beanbag chairs.
Create sitting and play areas that can be separate (think a table with a couple of chairs dedicated to Scrabble or puzzles) and that can then be transformed for a rowdy game of Monopoly or a multi-generational game of charades.
Speaking of games: Don’t forget the games that the entire family loves. After you have your treasure trove of games, invest in storage. A family room shouldn’t be a dumping ground — you still want to enjoy the space, which means storage options are important. Games should be easy to see and easy to access. Use benches, with colorful pillows and cushions that can double as a toy chest. Tables with drawers are perfect for storing playing cards, paper, pencils and small game pieces.
With all of the games, accessories aren’t necessarily needed in this space and can get in the way. If accessories are a must, then make sure they are lightweight and easy to move. Interject color, though. Try something different here; after all, it’s supposed to look fun and inviting. The space can be cozy and bright, neutral or colorful to create the mood you are looking for. Brightly painted walls, a cool mural or even bold stripes add cheer to the room.
Guess what? Even though you’re setting up the space for fun and games, it’s okay to include a plan for the TV in this room. After all, we all like to kick back and watch a movie. Try not to have it be the focal point of the room — it’s not the media room, so try to avoid the huge-screen TV. Pair the TV with a low console to keep the space more open, but allow for storage of DVDs and gaming devices.
If you’re really ready to splurge, then add a kitchenette, wine or beverage cooler for entertaining. No one wants to leave the action to get a drink or make popcorn, and with a kitchen setup, no one will have to.
Settling in for a rowdy game of Pictionary, Uno or Monopoly promises laughter and memories — and even better if done in a stylish family room.
Andrea Georgopolis is a senior designer at Slifer Designs. She’s been known to play a mean game of Rummikub and takes designing game rooms very seriously.