Decorating Dilemma: Lynn’s Family Room

Design plan for Lynn's open 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,

My family room is about 20 1/2 feet long by 15 1/2 feet wide. It’s open to the kitchen and a breakfast nook area which I currently don’t use it as such, but instead have a small sofa in it’s place. The nook area extends the family room another 10 feet in length.

I want to do a complete makeover in steps, but I’m not sure where to start. I despise the rods and window treatments. My husband loves the high top table I have placed in the center of the room. I personally hate the table. I’d like to purchase a rectangular high top table and place it in front of the large family room window or create a banquette somewhere may be?

I also am not in love with the TV stand. The large wall in the family room is where I’d like to create a gallery with family photos and art we already own. Or should I instead move the TV to that wall?

We live in Florida and are from the Northeast. We have a large family and have tons of company. We also entertain frequently. I want this space to be about us, but to maximize seating and utilize this gigantic room. Right now it’s embarrassing with it’s empty corners and mish mash of furniture!

I am about to purchase new bar stools for the breakfast bar but until I figure out what the heck I’m doing with the rest of the room I don’t want to pull the trigger. I love the antique Constance stools in your catalog. I also love the Spencer sofa. My tastes run from contemporary to traditional to mid century to vintage. My preference is for cool colors and would have to say grays and taupes are my favorite with pops of color in accessories. I prefer warm and grayish washed woods to dark. Basically I’m all over the place.

Can you help?


wall with 2 windows & tv
looking at back door
large window with bench
kitchen behind
looking into kitchen


You have plenty of space to spread out for entertaining but the angles present a challenge for laying out a great traffic flow.

Layout 1 Layout 2

Our first recommendation is based on your preference of the Spencer Sofa. We have upholstered two of them in Davidson Herringbone Oatmeal and then placed them on top of an anchor rug. The New Bern Hooked rug is a fabulous option because of its neutral colors. Add a couple of tables like our Olivia Round Table and a pair of Durham Coffee Tables for holding books, drinks and other necessities.

The Vetrina Media Console in the Dark Gray is the perfect option for making a statement at the far end of the room and housing all of your media storage. Now flank your windows beside the cabinet with drapery panels in Document Natural. Hang the drapery panels just below the transom window so that the drapery doesn’t dominate the space. Next, place two Dayna Arm Chairs in front of the windows for additional seating when needed. Another option is our Mia Chairs in Callisto Stripe Gray.

Speaking of additional seating, we suggest placing two Courbe Ottomans in front of the media cabinet and then an additional two ottomans tucked under an Ananda Console. Talk about maximizing the seating! The Ananda Table in the white finish will look fabulous positioned behind one of your Spencer Sofas. Remember to add lighting like our Suzanne Kasler Gourd Lamps for a finishing touch.

There is some room left for a table but you will need to be mindful of the size since the space becomes limited when trying to maximize the seating in your conversational area. Also, with a high top table, consider how it will block the window view from the seating area.

Another option is to use a sectional. We suggest our Baldwin 4-pc with a Chaise Lounge. You certainly would maximize seating and open up the space in front of the window a bit more.

Happy Decorating!

The Design Team

Design plan for Lynn's open family room

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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.


  1. Reply


    August 6, 2015

    I am absolutely love the design. What is the name of the rug you recommend and is it available?

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      August 10, 2015

      Unfortunately this rug has been discontinued and is sold out! We’re terribly sorry!
      The How to Decorate Team