Decorating Dilemma: Kim’s Family Room

Decorating a long, narrow family room with two separate areas

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 relocating and moving into a new, much bigger home. We sold most of our furniture to move, so we are starting over with a blank slate!

This is about the biggest family room I have ever been in! I know you need to be careful with a big space to still make it feel intimate.

I know we will still want a recliner but also a mixture of other comfortable seating. I have 2 children (ages 8 and 10), so furniture must still be durable.

The sliding glass door and one window face west, so we will get the afternoon sun.

Thanks for your help,





Dear Kim,

What a wonderful new family room you have! With its large size of 31’ x 15’, you have so many possibilities for how to use your space. We have given you two possibilities for each “zone” – one zone is closer to the kitchen and the other is the far end of the room.


Let’s start with the area closest to the kitchen. We suggest you consider setting up this area with a table for a dual purpose. Of course you could use it for dining, but it is also the perfect location for a game night! Using our Bristol Bench in a durable Sunbrella fabric and then pairing it with our Chianni Trestle Table, the foundation is in place. Add in our Constance Side Chairs, in chestnut brown, for additional seating. The sunlight from the sliding glass doors will make this a pleasant space for dining.

If you would prefer positioning your dining area in another space, set up this area as a home work and arts and crafts area for your 8 and 10 year old children. With two of our Toulouse Low Bookcases for storage and our Original Home Office Partners Desk, it makes an ideal study and play area.

At the other end of the family room, we thought of two options for seating and entertainment. Positioned on the wall at the far end of the room, our Tuscan Media 4-piece unit would be a beautiful focal point with a television for viewing. This piece is an amazing focal point.


We know how much you want to include a recliner, so our Paris Leather Recliner in Almond is a comfortable and practical option for a young family – and you even have space for two! Our Baldwin Sofa or sectional is deep and comfortable and can be made with a durable slipcover. Selecting an indoor/outdoor fabric would make it an easy piece to maintain.

The Weston Ottoman in our Vivian Navy fabric will sit nicely in front of either two sofas or a sectional. Adding in an occasional table from the Durham Collection is smart because they are both stylish and functional.

Of course, you need finishing touches. We have plenty of mirrors, artwork, lamps and accessories to give your room some color and to finish it with style and beauty! Additional pieces such as the Stanley Arch Mirror, Luciana Table Lamp, a Garden Seat, and Piper Woven Baskets can round out the room nicely.

Another ‘love’ of ours that would fit your space nicely is our Ananda Console in rustic black. It is just the right size and scale to pair with Courbe Storage Ottomans. We suggest upholstering it in Suzanne Kasler’s Small Stripe Mandarin which coordinates perfectly with our Vivian Navy fabric. These ottomans serve as both extra seating and a place to store toys or blankets when not needed – a definite plus!

We have given you a lot to think about but feel confident that with a good furniture layout, your room will come together in no time at all.

Happy Decorating!

The Design Team

Decorating a long, narrow family room with two separate areas

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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


    June 2, 2016

    Very large rooms can be troublesome to pull together. I love the thought of having a room that is dual purpose, great job with the suggestions. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Reply

    Joanne B.

    May 19, 2016

    TYPO ALERT BALLARD! “Kim’s Extra Large Family “Rool” ! Love your style- even when there’s an oops! Oops!

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      May 19, 2016

      Thanks Joanne. We fixed it!