Refresh Your Rooms: The Family Room, Part 1

The best way to refresh this room is to create zones. You know, just like in kindergarten, remember?

There were separate areas for art and art supplies, games and puzzles, books and story time, tables and chairs for snacks, lunches and group activities and a place for formal instruction and schoolwork. Then there was even another area for storing each kids personal belongings, like a backpack, coat, etc.

Why use this method?

It works.

Today I’ll give you a few ideas for creating zones in your family room. Tomorrow we’ll look at freshening them up.

ZONE 1:  Watching TV or Listening to music.

We bought a sectional when we first moved in nearly seven years ago. We split it up because our family room is a little bit awkward. So we have places for family and friends to sit that is centered around the TV.

Small sidenote…lately our TV only knows one channel – FOOTBALL! That’s OK. Because the off season is coming up, right?

To which my husband would proudly say, “There is no off-season.” Ahh, yes. The life of a football widow. Sniff. Sniff.

Anyway, we have all of our DVDs and CDs stored here in baskets on the shelf beneath our TV cabinet.

ZONE 2: Eating or playing games.

 This zone has a table and four chairs. This is the only place other than our dining area where we allow food. Trust me, your carpets will thank you.

There is also a large set of bookshelves that store photo boxes, pictures, decorative items and, oh yeah, books.

Sometimes I’ll have one of my guys work on a school subject at this table  as well for a change of pace.

ZONE 3: Toy Storage

Unlike most family rooms, there are no toys stored in ours. That’s because we are fortunate enough to have a fourth bedroom we use for schoolwork and play.

Note I didn’t say that there aren’t toys in this room. Only that they are not stored there.

If you have toys stored in your family room, try to practice the containment theory. Keep them all in one special area or zone, like this:

(not my room)

Make sure you have open baskets and bins to store them.

(also not my room)

I like both of these images because they are low to the ground. If you have a huge floor to ceiling wall of storage for your toddlers, they will get frustrated because they aren’t able to reach up to either get a toy out or put one away. This means you will also be frustrated.

So remember: low is the way to go.

Open containers work better for two reasons:

  • kids can see what’s in the bins without dumping the entire contents out to find  a certain toy, and
  • kids are more likely to put things away if they have a designated home

Notice I said “more likely” in that sentence. Encouraging your kids to pick up their toys at a couple of regular times per day is a great habit to get into. Before lunch is a great time. Before dinner is even better so the house is somewhat orderly when your husband gets home or before bed. 

Your children are cheap labor. Use them!

And it’s way better than stepping on legos in bare feet. Does anyone else not remember how sharp legos really are?!

Zone 4: Hobbies or other storage

The family room is also a great place to set up an area for hobbies.

My husband’s and now my sons’ hobby is football, which was covered under zone #1. However, if you have the space, maybe you could carve out an area for scrapbooking, sewing or some other hobby.  It could be something as small as a desk or table with some wall-mounted shelves. Whatever works for you.

I don’t scrapbook and I’m only a casual sewer. But I have managed to carve out a space in our family room for storing our extra dishes, tablecloths and silver for entertaining.

Because we don’t have a formal dining room, I use an old handmade pie safe to store all of our dishes, tablecloths and good silver. It’s both decorative and functional.

I’ll make a note to write a future post about how we got our pie safe. For free. It’s one of my favorite pieces of furniture because it’s obviously handmade, has a story and is very vintage:)

Stop back tomorrow for some easy ways to refresh your zones.

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Published in: on January 10, 2011 at 8:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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