Hi Friends! Welcome to Postbox Designs! If this is your first time here, I’m a Michigan mama of three who has been an interior designer for about 14 years now. For about 12 of those years I worked in high-end residential design, but for the last few years I have taken everything I learned and brought it to the Interior E-Design world. I realized so many of my clients were trying to cram time to shop around town with me into their busy schedules. With E-Design I now custom design my client’s rooms virtually, while keeping the personal touch.
My clients can order their entire room in an hour without leaving home. In their comfy pants.
That is a dream come true for a lot of us! And today I’m sharing one of my recent projects:
Modern Farmhouse Family Room Makeover
If you missed Modern Farmhouse Family Room Part I you can check it out here. You can see a whole different design version with different furnishings and an entirely new layout!
This wonderful client already had a beautiful home but had never done anything with her Family Room because she felt overwhelmed and stuck. Like so many homes today she had two special challenges with her Family Room design:
Open Floor Plan Concept with little wall space
High, two-story ceilings
Both are wonderful design features, but they can be tricky to work with! When you have an open floor plan you have some extra things to consider:
Problems with an Open Concept Family Room Floor Plan
Here are some special design issues you might run across when working with an open floor plan:
The look of the Family Room has to flow into the rest of the space.
Paint colors in the Family Room have to continue to other rooms since they all are connected.
There is usually very little wall space, when leads to challenges with furniture placement.
She has a gorgeous fireplace, but it created no clear spot for the TV.
High ceilings with floor-to-ceiling windows need custom window treatments.
High ceilings demand larger scale furniture and light fixtures so they don’t get lost in the space.
Do any of these problems sound familiar to you? No worries, I can help you design around it, you just need to know a few design tricks for an open concept Family Room.
Modern Farmhouse Family Room Version #2
While Version #1 had a layout with dual floating sofas, for this version, I wanted to show my client how to use a sectional in her Family Room space. Sectional sofas can work really well in an open concept Family Room, especially a room that is either very large or with very high ceilings. Sectional sofas, like this one from Pottery Barn (#1) are extra large pieces of furniture so they ground the space especially well! My client has children so we went with a darker gray to help hide dirt and stains. I’m also a huge fan of slip covered pieces for the same reason.
Best Pieces to Use with an Open Concept Family Room
As I explained in Part I’s post, my client loved a mix of Farmhouse, Traditional, and Modern…but wasn’t sure how to create a room that showed all three styles. Every piece I used fits at least one of these styles and but still feels cohesive all together. And each was hand-picked to work with her unique Family Room space:
Large Pieces of Farmhouse Family Room Furniture
Items such as this extra large sectional (#1), high backed Pottery Barn wingback chair (#10), and chunky, oversized Pottery Barn coffee table (#5) have large scales that work well in this room. For the most part, I would stay away from low slung or scaled-down furniture as it will get lost in such a Family Room space like this.
Light Fixtures for Two Story Rooms
If you can only remember ONE RULE OF DESIGN it is this:
Keep the right scale.
Most of the time when rooms don’t quite work, it is because the scale of the pieces is off. Think of the lonely, too-small piece of art over a sofa. Or the single item floating on an empty wall. The same concept works with lighting. For a standard 8′ high ceiling, you can get away with a smaller flush-mount fixture. However, with her 17′ high ceilings, her existing fan looked lost in the space. I found this oversized chandelier (#11) from Shades of Light that will be in scale with her Family Room. I would recommend hanging the bottom of the light around 8′ from the bottom of the floor. Too high and the chandelier won’t feel like part of the space.
Window Treatments for a Two Story Family Room Design
There are a couple of ways to address having gorgeous floor-to-ceiling windows (a tough but great problem to have!).
If you’re not worried about privacy: Keep them bare. They are a gorgeous focal point that needs nothing more!
If you need privacy protection: One option is to add curtains or shades only to the bottom bank of windows. Typically these will be the same height as standard windows, so you can use off-the-shelf curtains. Hang the rod between the two sets of windows.
If you need privacy AND light protection: If your room gets too hot and sunny due to your windows, you might need full coverage. Options could include motorized blinds (an investment but can be worth it), or full height-curtains. If your windows are 120″ or under, places like Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware or West Elm do offer extra-long options. Taller than that, you are looking at custom curtains. I really like Smith + Noble, who I recommended to this client for floor-to-ceiling curtains.
Tips for Furniture Placement in an Open Concept Family Room
So how do you lay out a room with hardly any walls?
For an open concept Family Room you want to “float” your furniture. Be sure to leave ample walk-around space around the majority of your furniture. 30″ is the minimum, but 36″+ feels comfortable. In Version #1 of this Family Room, I floated two sofas across from each other, with a pair of chairs. You can see this version HERE. In this version I faced the sectional so it would be facing the TV area. However, if you can help it, you don’t want to look at the back of a piece of furniture. So I used this rustic World Market skinny console table (#13) behind it. No only does it break up the huge sectional, but it gives another place to add some decor, including this pair of gold lamps (#7). (Note: She had a floor outlet here so we had power for the lamps).
Adjacent to the sectional I placed two wingback chairs (#10). Placing a chair or two next to the sectional gives extra seating space, but it also keeps the Family Room from feeling two heavy with bulky furniture. Leaving a walkway around the chairs help the room flow. Her husband loved the idea of a leather chair, so I also gave her an option of these gorgeous Pottery Barn leather chairs to use instead (#19).
Be sure to always have a side table (#2) or coffee table (#5) within direct reach of each seat.
Filling Empty or Odd Family Room Niches
One of the focal points of her open concept Family Room design was this gorgeous two-story fireplace. However, the empty spots on either side created two odd sized niches. When she put her TV on one side, it looked unbalanced.
In Version #1, we came up with a plan for simple built-ins on either side of the fireplace and modern Farmhouse style sconces to go above it. We placed her TV on one side and a Gallery Wall on the other side to balance it out.
In this Version, she wanted to see what we could do with furniture, instead of built-ins. On one side we kept her rustic TV table, but to balance it out, I chose this extra large white bench (#26), that she can pile up with Farmhouse style pillows for a comfy reading spot. Even if both sides aren’t identical, this still creates a type of purposeful symmetry in her Family Room design.
Choose a Focal Point for your Furniture Placement
Because her Family Room is so open, there are a lot of different possible focal points. We chose to have everything revolve around her fireplace. This helps a room to have purpose and keep from feeling scattered.
So what does a Modern Farmhouse Open Family Room Look Like?
My favorite drawing included in her Postbox was her 3D rendering of her new Family Room! It included all of the fixtures and furnishings, so she could SEE her room before ordering a single thing. We did mix it up a bit: she wanted to see some items from both versions mixed in with the built-ins from Version #1 (no problem!), and this is the final look:
Because both Family Room designs are made to be mixed-and-matched, she has a lot of different options to choose from. And now she has a Master Plan for her Family Room, so she can buy everything all at once…or items one-by-one as her budget and schedule allow.
Don’t you just love choices?
If You Liked This Room: Another Open Floor Plan Family Room
Open concept Family Rooms can be extra tricky. So as a bonus, I wanted to share this past Family Room project-but with a distinct cottage, coastal flair to it. I have a whole list of tips and tricks for placing furniture when you have no walls! It was featured over on Remodelaholic, where I’m a monthly contributor.
How To Furnish a Family Room With No Wall Space
Whether you love the cottage style or just need help with furniture placement, check it out and find all of the sources!
Thanks for hanging out with me today! I hope you are now full of new ideas of how to re-arrange or design your open concept Family Room. If you are looking for even more design ideas, you are going to love my FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY! It is full of free design ideas, Guides, Shopping Lists, Mood Boards, and more. It is totally free, but you are going to need a password to access it, check it out here:
And in the meantime, if you have questions about How E-Design Works or want to chat about your project, you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will talk all about Y-O-U!