If you’ve been reading the blog for a while (THANK YOU!), you probably already know that back in January, I shared a couple design challenges happening in our family room, and talked a little bit about how I thought I may fix those. You can read more about those right here.

Our biggest issues in our family room were:

  • Our TV was within the toddler’s arm’s reach, meaning it was constantly under attack;
  • There wasn’t much storage space aside from our coffee table and a small yellow shelf I used primarily to hold the kids’ craft supplies; and
  • We lacked seating, particularly when we were hosting friends and family.

Well, about four months later, I’m pleased to report that we finally did solve these problems. I wish our progress had moved along a bit faster, but I also believe that when you’re making deliberate decisions about what you’re buying for your home, things move slower. And that’s okay because GOOD THINGS TAKE TIME. Let’s be real: There is no HGTV crew that comes in and updates and styles everything in 72 hours, and leaves you with a magazine-worthy room. Real life design takes time and effort and money, and I constantly have to remind myself of that!

Anyway, before I get into the changes we made, let’s take a quick look at a “before” photo of our family room. Here you’ll see our poor TV that was one Matchbox car away from being a giant pile of shattered glass, my console storage by the fireplace that, well, doesn’t store a damn thing, and the single sofa our guests need to pile on when visiting (frat party, anyone?!).

I loved the openness of our family room, but honestly having visitors was SO tough because of our lack of seating. And while this room is too small to handle a sectional or a bunch of chairs, I knew that even adding one more seating option would really help us.

Now, here’s an “after” photo:

And here’s how we wound up solving our challenges.

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SOLUTION #1: Keeping the TV out of harm’s way

When my son suddenly became tall enough to regularly swat at our TV, we knew we needed a different solution, and stat. We toyed with the idea of mounting the TV over the fireplace, but I have never been thrilled with that idea, so we decided to simply mount it on the wall, making sure it was a bit higher than where it currently sat.

We purchased this TV mount from Amazon, which worked out great for our 55″ TV. The mount was under $50 and worked perfectly for our space. And because we placed two media consoles (more on that later) on either side of our fireplace, they added extra (and much needed!) deterrence for my son when it comes to touching the television.

SOLUTION #2: Adding more storage

The two console tables we initially had in our family room were deceiving — while they looked nice, they actually had very little storage. And with two young kids, we NEED storage in every room of our home.

My main concern was our expansive arts and crafts supply collection. When my kids do craft projects they usually work on them at our kitchen table, so storing sequins and Perler beads and construction paper in the playroom just didn’t make logistical sense. I really wanted storage pieces with lots of room that aesthetically worked well in our living area, and definitely ones with doors so that we could hide those craft supplies.

These Pottery Barn Kids media cabinets I mentioned in my original post turned out to be THE perfect solution! Their classic, clean lines also helped make the fireplace wall look a bit more tailored. I had originally contemplated installing built-ins, but that’s not something I’d want to DIY, and that large of a project isn’t in our budget right now.

The Pottery Barn Kids cabinets are working out beautifully so far. They’re super spacious, fit in nicely with our other decor, and their classic look means they could work well in just about any room in our home in the future.

To keep the focal point on our mantel and decorate around the TV, I purchased a gallery wall set of 12 frames from Target, and printed a dozen black and white family photos to go in the frames. The exact set I purchased is no longer available, but here’s a 9-pack of the exact same frames, plus another gallery wall set that comes with black frames. It was a great way to further bring some symmetry to our space, while making the TV blend in a bit more — as opposed to having a huge black rectangle stick out like a sore thumb!

SOLUTION #3: Adding more seating

With a single sofa and one side chair in our family room, we were lacking seating in a major way. Sadly, the placement of windows as well as the door that leads to our deck means that our family room can’t support a large sectional, or really any sizeable seating options, as we’d be obstructing things that can’t really be blocked.

So we set out to find an accent chair or love seat that would give us some additional seating but wouldn’t take up too much floor space.

Initially, we’d been hoping to go with a leather recliner like this one from West Elm, but none of our local West Elm stores had it available to see in person. Also, I had a tough time finding a more contemporary leather chair without nail heads (I’m just not a nail heads person) that wasn’t going to cost us upwards of $1,500.

On a random Sunday afternoon, my husband and I took a drive to our local Bassett Furniture store — which, for the record, I had never visited in person — in a last ditch effort to find a leather chair. Instead, we stumbled upon a floor model of a stunning HGTV Home Design Studio blue chair that was on clearance. The shade of blue was an exact match with throw pillows I had just ordered, so I knew it was meant to be. For $300, we bought it on the spot, brought it home the same day, and the rest is history!

As you can see, it’s now a favorite spot for movie watching…..

So there you have it! For all of these upgrades, we spent about $1,500. It may sound like a lot at first blush, but think about everything we were able to purchase with that amount of money: Two media consoles, an accent chair, a TV mount, and a set of gallery wall photo frames. All in all, I’d say we did pretty darn well for a modest budget.

Are there upgrades you want to make to your main living area? What are they, and what design challenges are you hoping to solve?

Love these affordable storage and seating ideas for a family-friendly living space!

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