Decorating Dilemma: Susan’s Long Family Room

Decorating a long family room with space for office

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.

Dear How to Decorate,

I’m stuck! I’m in the middle of updating my family room with a fresher paint scheme based on the fabric used for window treatment. The carpet will be replaced with either new carpet or wood flooring. The monstrous sectional is here to stay for the time being. I’ve tried to create two separate uses for the room by using the sectional as a room divider. The furniture on the computer side of the room could all be repurposed for use elsewhere in the house. I would love to see that side of the room with a computer work station and an area for reading but am not sure what type or size of furniture would work.

I’m also not sure how to use art work, accessories, or rugs to pull the entire space together. All of the blank wall space overwhelms me! The TV we watch is the one on the sofa table. The other one will be moving to the basement. I would appreciate any suggestions you could give me that would make this room look fresher and polished.

Thank you!


Before family room

Before family room

Before family room

Before family room

Before family room


You have a great start on creating the ideal atmosphere for a family space. Using your sectional as a divider is a great solution for the longer room. Adding in a few finishing touches will give the two spaces the fresh polished look you are trying to accomplish.

We would definitely recommend replacing the carpet with hardwood floors! The warmth of a beautiful hardwood would ramp up the cozy factor and give the opportunity to bring in a rug with color and pattern! Our Granada Rug is a perfect example of a rug that would give the sectional definition.

Another easy way to add color and texture is by adding a variety of throw pillow to the sectional. Pillows in Velvet Persimmon, Velvet Teal and Safari Brown will give a defined pop! Place a Durham End Table, in the corner, to the right of the sectional and then pull up the Durham Tray Table on the other end. This will give needed horizontal space but will also bring in a fun mix of materials to the conversation area.

Embrace all your wall space! Think of it as a way to pull color up onto the walls. Hang our Calm Reflection Art above the sectional along with a mirror or two, like our Bellesol Mirror. On the television wall, create an inspirational word, like ‘FAMILY,’ with our Typesetter Letters.

Having two good size walls for the office space and reading area, opens up the flexibility of using either our Original Home Office Collection or our Tuscan Home Office Collection. Because the pieces in these collections are modular, you can design an area that is both functional and beautiful. Measure out the walls and adding components until you have the perfect configuration for your family. The Tuscan Brown finish gives a subtle repeat of your window trim finish and will make the two areas more cohesive. Add a couple of Burlap Message Boards on one wall then stack up the Garden District Mirrors on the other and … poof … instant wall magic!

To finish off, tuck an Eton Club Chair, wrapped in Fletcher Stripe in Spice, at the end of the Original Home Office for the perfect reading spot.

Happy Decorating!

The Design Team

Decorating a long family room with space for office

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Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.