Decorating Dilemma: Maureen’s Family Room

Design plan for Maureen's family room

Decorating Dilemmas is a weekly column in which our stylists answer your design questions, so you can tackle your home decorating project with complete confidence.

Hi How to Decorate!

Last spring while on maternity leave I started to work on updating our family room. Since going back to work, I have less time to focus on making the room complete. Plus the competing interests of making it look good and functional with a 3 and 1 year old are tough.

One item I occasionally look for is an ottoman. My husband wants something comfy that he can put his feet on, I want something that fills the space and looks good. When I saw your Carmel Cocktail Ottoman I thought I hit the jackpot! But I have no idea what fabric to pick. (You’ll see in the photos I laid out a blanket to the size of the Carmel to see how it would fit.)

I would also love advice on whether or not a rug should go under the ottoman.

Finally – what to do with the big wall space above the couch. You’ll notice the Sea of Poppies print on the other wall – we love it!

Thank you!

Maureen's family room

Maureen's family room

Maureen's family room



Dear Maureen,

Thank you for your Decorating Dilemma. You have a great open room, but we understand the difficulty of trying to decorate while accommodating young children. We have a few suggestions that will keep things both practical for kids and still inviting for visitors.

Let’s begin with a rug … to preserve the floors and add some dimension to the room, we recommend using the Leafy Herringbone Jute rug.  This will allow great texture and provide a space for kids to crawl around. We recommend placing the front feet of the sofa (on each side) onto the rug.  Since you have your eye on the Carmel Cocktail Ottoman, we would recommend upholstering it in a neutral Sunbrella fabric like the Canvas Taupe.  This fabric selection makes it easier to clean and very durable for spills and dirty finger prints.  If you need an additional place to for books, beverages or remotes, you can certainly add a tray to the top to capture these necessities.

Your blank wall is the perfect backdrop to add two sets of the Garden District Mirrors in Antique Gray.  Centered and then spaced a few inches apart, those mirrors will reflect the light from the other wall and open up the space.  On the wall holding the Field of Poppies Giclee, we recommend adding the Elise Candle Sconces which will add dimension and reflect the shape of the garden district mirrors on the adjoining wall.

In the corner with your small side chair, consider adding the Sloan Woodball Floor Lamp in Graywash. This will bring warm light in to the space and create a small reading area in the corner.  We would recommend using the Durham Nesting Tables next to the sofa to keep the space cohesive plus this table collection is extremely versatile. Extra pillows on the sofa will make the sofa more inviting.  Consider making a few of the pillows oversized to double as floor cushions for kids watching television.

We always enjoying seeing pictures of updated spaces so remember to send a few when you complete your look!

Happy Decorating,

The Design Solutions Team

Do you have a decorating dilemma? Send us your own questions here.

How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.