9 fabulous family rooms
In this Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, vacation home, the family room's neutral sofa gets instant pizzazz with an electric blue brush fringe from Samuel & Sons. "Brush fringe used as welting turns out to be fresh and fun—and electric blue is my new favorite color," designer Sally Markham says. The room is completed with vintage Russel Wright chairs upholstered in Meloire Reverse by China Seas and a Calypso Home floor pillow.
You don't have to be restricted when designing a space so it's kid-proof. "Everyone thinks a family room needs to have dark upholstery because it's where the kids hang out, but I didn't want to go too far with this camel color," designer Pat Healing says of the family room in Scarsdale, New York. The cushions of the U-shaped sectional are covered in Holland & Sherry's Rive Gauche Mohair.
This Manhattan apartment's family room is an extension of the kitchen and serves as a TV room and breakfast area. Designer Faye Cone integrated antiques into her built-in storage unit, which incorporates the door of an old painted cupboard. "It holds linen, china, silver, the TV, and a liquor cabinet. Space is so tight in New York you can't live without built-ins, but at the same time you don’t to feel like you’re in a ship," Cone says.
A formal dining room was transformed into a cozy media room in this Manhattan apartment. Designer Ashley Whittaker used blue to make the room darker (better for screening movies and TV shows). "It's very sunny, but we tamed the brightness with Prussian blue," she says. The shade is a half-and-half mix of Twilight and Gentleman's Gray by Benjamin Moore.
It's all about sound in the family room—it's the space where you watch movies or shows or listen to music. Designer Christina Murphy used Phillip Jeffries Manila Hemp grass cloth on this New York apartment's wall to make it work with the family's activities. "This where the family watches TV, and the paper works to absorb sound in a way that's cozy," Murphy says.
No need for a fancy TV stand or built-in cabinet—interior designer Markham Roberts used the bookcase ledge in this Fort Wayne, Indiana, family room. "TVs are so good-looking now, we don't have to hide them," Roberts says. The designer swathed the walls in a thick, handsome tweed, Schumacher's Jute Herringbone, to absorb noise and make the family room feel warm.
Light & happy
Designer Alexandra Angle's clients—a family—wanted to transform their Venice, California, cottage from a dark space to something young, light, and happy. "They wanted it to be pretty, with fun things, a place that says, 'Come and play with me,' " Angle says. The light walls are painted Farrow and Ball's Wimborne White, trim is Benjamin Moore's Glass Slipper, and the coffee table, an Angle design, references the outdoors with its picnic-bench silhouette.
The Moroccan poufs in this Strathmere, New Jersey, beach house are a signature for designer Mona Ross Berman, who uses them a lot in her work. "They make great extra seating, especially for kids," Berman says. "And here, they give you a chance to get a shot of leather into the room." The curtain and blue pillow fabrics are from Duralee's Seaglass Elements print collection, orange pillows are Meloire Reverse by Quadrille, and the yellow pillow is Arcadia Sulphur by Raoul Textiles.
Modern & comfy
Lofts can be family-friendly, too. This New York loft is a mixture of traditional and modern. "The modern stuff isn't very hard-edged, because that's not necessarily comfortable for a family," designer Steven Sclaroff says. The corner sofa in Holland & Sherry Fustian corduroy embraces this casual living space.