Decorating Dilemma: Bridgete’s Family Room

Decorating a new 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.

Dear How to Decorate,

We are getting ready to close on our new home and are so looking forward to having a great room with a working fireplace, ample light, and space! This will be the hub and heart of the house and will be the launching pad for the adjoining dining room (fireplace #2) and kitchen.

I’d love some guidance on the right anchor piece and furniture placement. Should I do a sectional or two sofas with a few side chairs? Do I paint the brick or keep it intact? Blinds or curtains or both? I’ve attached photos from the real estate listing to provide a view into the space. I want to make sure I invest in the right pieces that will hold up to two boys (7 and 10) while helping us make this house our home.

Thanks for your help,


View of entire space

fireplace on right in pix
view of the fireplace

Dear Bridgete,

Congratulations on your new home!

Since your family room is going to set the tone for adjoining rooms, start by painting it a soft, calm color such as Sherwin Williams Rain Washed (SW 6211). We’d also suggest brightening up the room by whitewashing the fireplace. To keep intact your gorgeous view and ample natural light, keep the windows bare of any blinds or curtains.

Place a sectional in the room, either a 2 or 3 piece sectional (depending on what fits best) from our Baldwin Slipcovered Collection would be comfortable and cozy! An Off-White Twill Slipcover is machine washable; a perfect selection for your family. To add a layer of texture and interest behind the sectional, position a Rustic Black Ananda Serving Table behind the sectional and then top with two Grey Sloan Ball Lamps. Put a Large Traveler’s Wicker Chest under the serving table to store any unsightly items.

A Larkin Swivel Glider can be tucked in the corner to enjoy the fireplace or look out of the windows. A Round Durham Coffee Table is the perfect mix of polished lines and distressed wood. As a balance the crisp edges of the tables, stretch the Allegro Rug across the wood floors for soft texture and to protect your wood floors. The medallion pattern features colors of Dijon, putty, and a gray blue that would be a pretty starting point for the rest of your spaces.

The classic style Leaner Aubrey Mirror hung horizontally above the mantle will reflect the sunlight and make your fireplace the focal point of the room. Tie everything together with pillows in Dayna Spa, Suzanne Kasler’s Signature Linen in Greige, and Halyard Mineral.

Happy Decorating,

The Design Solutions Team

Decorating a new family room

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

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.


  1. Reply


    May 23, 2015

    Where are the pictures you used in this ensemble? I can’t find them on Ballard.

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      May 26, 2015

      Hi Julie,
      The art prints in this collage are our Memories Found pieces.
      Happy Decorating!
      The How to Decorate Team

  2. Reply

    Paula Hughes

    April 28, 2015

    Love the solutions–what an improvement!

    • Reply


      May 9, 2015

      I would love to see a photo of the finished room.