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Family Room Refresh Plans: What We’re Changing and Why

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Creating a living space that grows with your family is a tricky thing, isn’t it? I sure think so. And that’s exactly why it’s time for a family room refresh at the Dreyer house.

One thing that’s been on my mind lately is that when you have young children, you often are forced to make changes to your home on a regular basis. If you follow me over on Instagram (Come say hi if you haven’t already!), then you’ve seen some of my posts already about these unique decorating challenges.

Think about it. Maybe you had to ditch your glass coffee table as soon as your little one became mobile. (That was totally us in our last home!) Or perhaps you had to move the gorgeous porcelain vase you got as a wedding gift to a higher shelf so your toddler can’t knock it over. Can you think of a recent design change you made to a room in your home that was, well, inspired by your kids?

Whatever the issue is, it seems like there’s always a need to make modifications here and there.

I know it won’t be like this forever. There will come a time when I can buy that white sofa or not think twice about having a console table that — gasp — actually has decorative things on it.

But I’m totally in that season of life right now where I have to think long and hard about my home decor purchases. Is the fabric family friendly? Will it get stained? If it gets stained, will I be heartbroken because I spent so much money on it or can’t easily go buy another one? Is this piece of furniture going to cause any injuries? If my two-year old bangs a toy truck on that coffee table and it makes a dent, will I care?

I’ve been working on our family room refresh over the past few weeks, and these changes have — you guessed it — been inspired by the toddler in our household. So today I want to share with you some of the reasons why current space  doesn’t work for us anymore, and the changes we’re making as a result.

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Before we dive in, here’s a photo of our current family room setup:

family room refresh before

Here’s the thing. I love the way it looks, but I have to admit that the functionality is lacking in a couple areas.


I think the easiest way to talk about these challenges is to simply show you some photos and then chat through my ideas. I also need a couple suggestions, so I’d love your input!

family room refresh plans 1

For all of you women out there who have a hard time getting your husband on board with decorating ideas, here’s a tip: Find a way to involve your TV in the design dilemma, and BAM — he’ll all of a sudden pay attention.

Man, I wish I had known that so long ago. That’s why there was almost zero discussion about me making a large-ish purchase for our family room: these media consoles to go on either side of our fireplace.

Once my little guy started smacking our television on a daily basis, we knew something had to change. We aren’t big fans of mounting televisions above a fireplace, and the way our room is configured leaves us with very few options when it comes to TV placement. So we decided to keep the TV in the same spot, yet mount it above a media console to keep it out of harm’s way.

I considered lots of different media cabinets, but the truth is that the wall space on either side of the fireplace is pretty narrow. Most media cabinets range from 48″ to 60″, but that wall space? Oh, it’s like 47.5″ wide. OF COURSE IT IS. Anyway, this Pottery Barn Kids build-your-own media/organization/storage system worked PERFECTLY given our small-ish space. I also love the fact that if we ever want to switch things up in the future and move these cabinets to another area of our home, Pottery Barn Kids sells different components that we can add to the wall system for a completely new look.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Big furniture items = $$$$. And you’re right in that this wasn’t an inexpensive purchase, BUT I love the quality of all things from the Pottery Barn  family of brands, and these are so versatile that I know we’ll be able to use them for years to come. While I’m always a fan of steals and deals, there are some items that I’m willing to pay a bit more for because of their importance in our home, and this is one of those occasions.

Okay, so I know this photo looks like we have lots of storage. But looks can be deceiving, can’t they?!

Let’s start with the console to the left of our fireplace. It was a total steal that I scored on Everything But the House, which is an online auction site for estate sales. I loved the details on the front of this vintage record cabinet and it cost me $30, so I snatched it up and put a coat of General Finishes milk paint on it (SO GOOD for painting furniture, by the way).

The downside? It’s a record cabinet and meant to store a record player. Translation: No usable storage. In fact, I never even open the front doors.

And then there’s the bench-turned-TV-stand that I bought at HomeGoods ages ago. Also a super well-loved item in our home, but the square footage in those drawers? Meh.

As for our coffee table, the lid comes off and we regularly stash blankets, extra pillow covers, and other odds and ends in there. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE this table from World Market and it’s been great for our family. Until my son started taking the lid off of it, and it came crashing to the floor like five times a day because it somehow became a game. (Man, this post is totally making him sound like a crazy person, huh? I guess they don’t call it “terrible twos” for nothing….)

So my husband had a genius idea (I hope you’re hearing the sarcasm in my voice right now) and put clear packing tape all over the table so that my son can’t remove the lid. WHAT THE HELL. SERIOUSLY?! #designbloggerproblems at their finest here, people. (Side note: Provided that you don’t have a cray cray toddler who thinks he’s Mr. Strong Man, then this table is fabulous.)

While it looks like we have plenty of storage in this room, you can see that the reality is that we don’t. Luckily, the media consoles are going to help with that because the only items we have to place in said cabinets are a DVD player and the internet router.

We are keeping the yellow cabinet that you see in the left-hand corner of the photo, which has been a great piece for us over the past several years. I originally bought it at Target and we primarily use it to store arts and crafts supplies. PSA: It comes in 7 colors and is under $200, so if you’re looking for an affordable storage cabinet, this is an excellent option!

family room refresh plans 3
Last but not least, I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that we need more seating in our family room. The sofa and chair you see above are the only seating options currently in the space.

Our Crate & Barrel sofa is quite possibly the most comfortable sofa on the planet, but it still seats only 3-4 people at a time. (Well, we could probably pile more people on it, but at some point that probably will get suuuuuper awkward.)

I wish we had space for the sectional version of our sofa, but I like the fact that our space is so open and that I can see right from the kitchen into the family room. So….no sectional for now. Booooo.

I also love the accent chair we have — but if I’m being really honest, it’s more of a “let’s chat during a cocktail party” kind of chair versus one you want to curl up in with a good book. It’s beautiful but not cozy, and we need this space to be cozy.

Here are some additional chairs we’re thinking of adding to the space:

This leather club-style chair from All Modern looks comfy but also has a clean and classic appeal.

This West Elm leather recliner is my favorite, but it’s a bit larger and I’m concerned that it might make our small family room look crowded. But I love it SO much!

I’m also considering foregoing leather completely and adding a pop of color to the family room with something like this navy blue number from Safavieh. What do you think?


So there you have it: The plans for our family room refresh!

I’d love your thoughts on the chairs. Do you prefer leather or fabric? Which one do you think would be the coziest for our space?

I also want to hear about other unique decorating challenges you’ve faced with having young kids in the home.

What were the issues and how did you fix them? What was the hardest thing to fix, and the easiest? Tell me in the comments!

P.S. Did you love this post? Share the love on Pinterest!

If you're wondering how to make design choices that make parents AND kids happy, then this family room refresh post is for you. There are lots of great ideas here for any young family!


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Gary T.

Saturday 13th of January 2018

Thank you for sharing your ideas! I would try to "future proof" the family room a bit. Of course, as you said, space is important- especially when your toddler grows up a bit more and needs space for his toys! Maybe replace the table with one that has a cabinet to place toys in. But as he grows, you're going to want a couch and rug that is more stain resistant- because kids = stained everything, and the easier it is to clean everything after the mess is made, the better!


Saturday 13th of January 2018

Thanks for the ideas, Gary! Yep, we're certainly trying to make things even more family-friendly than they already are in the space. And you're right in that kids = stained everything. :) We luckily purchased our sofa in a performance twill fabric, and that has proved to be an excellent choice as it cleans up really nicely. Between the six and two-year old, they make plenty of messes. Agree on adding storage -- that's always a must. That's why I am so thrilled about the media consoles. Three cheers for getting some extra space to conceal allllll the kid stuff!


Wednesday 10th of January 2018

Definitely go with leather. It can be wiped down if there are spills and you can add a pop of color with a throw. Can't wait to see what you do - I know it will be amazing!


Thursday 11th of January 2018

That's a really good point, Kirstin! And I think leather is so cozy and timeless, too. Thanks for chiming in!


Wednesday 10th of January 2018

Cannot wait to see the updates


Wednesday 10th of January 2018

Thanks, Annmarie! The media consoles arrived yesterday and I'm so excited to get to work on the rest of the project. More to come...

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