By Todd Lewys
So – you’re looking for a way to encourage your family to spend more time together.
Granted, achieving such an ambitious goal is tough in today’s fast-paced, high-tech world – a world that tends to scatter families from dawn to dusk.
However, there is a solution, and a ready-made one at that: transforming your home’s family room into a family-friendly hub that everyone in your family will want to spend time in.
Here are some tips to help you create a family room that will naturally encourage your family to spend more time together.
1. Consult the entire family
Before you embark on revamping your family room, ask everyone — from toddler to teen — what they’d like to see incorporated into the design of your new family room. After all, the family room is being designed for every person in the family, not just you. With that in mind, its design and function should cater to everyone’s needs and tastes.
2. Gain consensus
This means arriving at an overall vision for the room. This might take awhile, but the time spent fine-tuning the space with your family will be well-spent.
3. Do it right
Simply put, this is no time to cheap out. Buy comfy furniture — leather is a good choice, if you can afford it (it’s durable and resists staining) — that will allow everyone to kick back and relax in the way they enjoy best. Paint the room in relaxing colours —softer, neutral shades like tans, taupes and beiges tend to work best — and supplement those colours with plush pillows and cozy area rugs that invite family members to spend time in the space.
4. Invest in good technology
While you don’t have to buy the best TV, sound system and games systems to make your family room a mecca for relaxation and entertainment, resist the urge to cheap out on key items. Buy the best you can afford — a good projector and projector screen, or 4K, 60-inch HDTV; a quality sound system with sub-woofer and surround speakers (Sonos, JBL and Polk are good choices); and the latest gaming stations/technology.
5. Don’t overlook the little details
Oft-times, overlooked details can throw a wrench into relaxing with the family to the latest Netflix hit. If your family room is surrounded by windows, buy screens or blinds that block out unwanted light both day and night. Ensure that furniture is placed such that everyone has a good viewing angle. Have a compartment dedicated to gaming equipment — one that will keep it tidy and out-of-the-way until it’s needed. Perhaps put in a compact wet bar with bar fridge so that drinks and snacks are just steps away. A cool, well-designed space will encourage everyone to spend time in it — including your kids’ friends, who will love coming over to play games!
6. Minimize clutter
The goal here should be to design an accessible, inviting space that will encourage your family to inhabit it. Lay out furniture in such a way that everyone can relax in complete comfort. Place furniture and accessories in accessible, yet unobtrusive spots. Have a central table where remote controls and other gadgets can be placed so they can be found quickly. Have side tables to place snacks and drinks on so they’re easy to grab.
7. Create versatile spaces within the area
Seeing as you’ll also be entertaining company, make sure your family room is capable of hosting company without missing a beat. Have a separate fireplace nook, and perhaps a play area for kids. Ensure that furniture is arranged — or can be re-arranged — so you can sit comfortably across from company to chat after dinner. And make sure access to and from the kitchen is seamless.
8. Don’t forget to let the light in
The more natural light, the better. That will draw family members in to watch TV or relax during the day. You can then close the shades at night to turn your family room into a killer home theatre!
Above all, keep one main goal in mind when designing the perfect family room: it’s supposed to be an inviting, comfortable space that meets the needs and wants of your entire family. Accomplish that mission, and you’ll find yourself spending more quality time at home with your family than you ever have!