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Quick fix: family room

These simple do-it-yourself ideas from the experts will transform your space without emptying your wallet

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Buy a sectional

If you’re starting your family room with new furniture, Susan Snow, designer and owner of Moving Designz in Charlottetown suggests investing in a good sectional.

“Almost every family room I do, they want a sectional,” Snow says. “I think because the size fits a lot of rooms and it maximizes the space.”

Some sectionals include a sofa and a chaise, while others are more modular. Find one that fits the size and function of the room. As your home changes, you can keep the pieces together or rearrange them to suit your needs.

Fabric is important, too. Unlike a leather sectional, one made with a durable fabric, like cotton or synthetic microfiber, will absorb sounds in the room and contribute to the warm, cozy feeling of the space.

Cost: $1,200 and up
Time: Several hours of shopping

Hide the electronics

Gone are the days when families wanted a room with large theatre-style seating and
a huge screen.

Kim Jakobsen, interior designer and owner of Kim Jakobsen Design in Saint John, N.B., says families now want rooms that serve several purposes, from hanging out to entertaining. She says that means electronics go “incognito, which means hiding equipment and making the room beautifully simple.” There are a few tricks to accomplish this.

Put your TV in a cabinet with doors that hides all the cords. Purchase one with storage for games, puzzles, books, and toys.

TVs can go behind a two-way mirror or invest in a television that is complete with a frame and displays works of art when it’s not tuned to your favourite show (Samsung makes one). This way you can use the space as a TV room, but switch it over when you’re entertaining guests.

Cost: $2,000 and up
Time: Several hours of shopping

Personalize with a mix of old and new

Jonathan Legate, owner of Jonathan Legate Interior Consultation in Halifax, has another word to describe the feeling family and entertainment rooms should exude: hygge, a Danish word that conveys coziness and well-being. “It’s a nesting kind of feeling,” Legate says. “It’s living with things that give us comfort. It’s a room to be together in, not distracted in.”

That means making your family room more personal. For example, Legate says he sees families incorporating antiques and family heirlooms into their family rooms.

Jacobsen sees the same trend and suggests mixing items from the past and present. “Maybe it’s something that was handed down or something you really love,” she says. “It gives [the room] more individuality.”

Dig family photos and awards out of the closet and put them in eye-catching frames the create a gallery wall. Drape well-loved quilts over the sofa (both personal and functional on chilly evenings) and find ways to incorporate some of your favourite décor items from other rooms into the room you use the most.

Cost: Free
Time: Minutes to hours

Add colour

Legate says another way families can bring hygge to a family room is by using colours that make your family happy. While neutrals are still popular, Legate says they are not as cool. Warmer greys, for example, create warmth and comfort in a room. Collect paint swatches and poll your family on what colours make them happiest.

“Part of expressing yourself in a room is having the courage to pick a colour you like,” Legate says. (Check page 12 more about the of trend-setting colours of 2018).

Cost: $300 – $400
Time: One-or-two weekend project

Play with lighting and window treatments

Lampshades can date your room, but a small investment can refresh your look. “Just by changing lampshades, you can change the way a space feels,” Legate says.

Snow suggests installing pot lights on a dimmer switch. That way, lights can be brighter for reading, but dimmed for when you’re entertaining or watching a movie.

For windows, she suggests swapping your blinds for curtains. “Curtains help keep a room cozy,” Snow says. “They prevent the heat from escaping, but keeps the cold from creeping in.”

Cost: $20 and up
Time: Minutes to hours

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