Whether you just moved into a new house or you’re tired of the same old, same old in a house you’ve lived in a while, here are some ideas to create a calm and cozy family room or living room. Or den as we call them in the south.
We are taking on a family room makeover for Today’s Homeowner for Judy, a single mom of 3 boys. They spend a lot of time together in this room so we want it to be a place they can really relax, enjoy and unwind.
Look for Ways to Improve Function
In my opinion and experience, you can’t have a calm room or space if there are a bunch of broken items or systems that aren’t functional. So start by repairing what’s broken.
For this particular room, the fireplace is not operable. They would love to be able to enjoy a fire on cold or dreary days. Plus Judy is NOT a fan of the brass insert. While I love brass in its modern day form, I can’t say I blame her on this dated version.
So our first step in this makeover is to remove the insert, clean the firebox and surrounding bricks, and add some heat! While a wood-burning fireplace might be someone’s cup of tea, Judy explicitly requested gas or electric logs to reduce the mess and work. Again, I can’t blame her for that!
Image from electricfireplacesdepot.com
We will be adding these electric logs that look like authentic birch logs stacked on a grate but also produce over 5000 BTUs of heat! And all you need is a nearby outlet.✅ They will look so beautiful inside the firebox that we’ll paint black with high heat paint, just like I did in my old living room.
Speaking of function, we noticed they had TV trays in the room and no coffee table. So why not combine those 2 things and had some function while we’re at it?! So, we will be building a simple, clean-lined coffee table with a top that lifts up, similar to the example below. However, we will build it to really fit the size of their couch and living room.
Image from Amazon.com*
These are the brackets* we’ll be using to create this super function, yet easy to build table!
Another small change you might consider is rearranging your existing furniture to make it work better for your family. For example, putting an armchair under or in front of a TV might not be ‘traditional’. But if you always find yourself a seat shy when friends are over or you never have the TV on while guests are there anyway, make your house work for the way your family uses it and put a chair there!
Change Walls to a Calm Color
NOTHING CHANGES A ROOM QUITE LIKE THE POWER OF PAINT. Sorry for yelling but painting anything is the easiest, cheapest, and quickest way to update a room. A new paint color can totally change the way you feel when you walk into the room. It can change the ‘theme’ of a room. And it can add drama, in a good way. For this room, we want a calm and cozy family room for Judy and her 3 sons. And just as God intended it, colors found in nature will ALWAYS be soothing.🌿
Image from HomeDepot.com*
Goodbye lime green walls, hello earthy, sage green! We’ll be painting all 4 walls in this room and possibly the fireplace bricks a color similar to Juniper Ash by Behr*.
And I will say this, because I bet you’re thinking it, it’s ok for a room to be dark! It’s called ‘cozy’. And it can still be a happy space and bring happy vibes with dark paint on the walls! We’ll be adding some accent lighting, like these wall sconces*, to add even more cozy vibes!
Declutter Family Room to Add Cozy
Nothing can take away your feeling of cozy like clutter and stuff piled around without intention. Take the time to declutter by getting rid of things you don’t absolutely LOVE. It’s worth the peace you’ll feel after driving away from the thrift store donation pile.
Also look for ways to group smaller items together. Growing up, my dad always gave my mom these little Limoges boxes for various holidays and birthdays. They were cute and a treasure for my mom. BUT they were small. And a bunch of small items spread out can look like clutter! Even if you love the individual items. In the case of this family room project, they have a bunch of family photos. Like several generations of family. What a treasure!
Since many of them are small and frames never seem to stay straight when hanging on a wall (adding to the cluttered feel), we are going to build ledges out of stained wood to prop the photo frames on and to group them together. This will tidy up a huge space in the room and add to the overall calm and cozy family room vibes we are working towards.
Image from Bower Power
When you’re evaluating the clutter in your family or living room, also consider whether your furniture or rug is undersized for the space. If your sofa is too small for your room, you’re more likely to add an extra table or piece of furniture that can, again, add to the look and feel of clutter. In the case of the project, there is a sofa and a club chair against the same wall. That wall is large enough to handle a decent-sized sectional which would eliminate the club chair while still maintaining the same amount of available seating, perhaps even increasing it.
I’m loving this light-colored sectional for this space.
Image from Ashley Furniture
And of course, increasing the size of the sofa means we’ll need to increase the size of the rug. I’m looking at something like this one* with a touch of the green from the walls and a lot of neutrals.
I hope these tips help you create a more calm and cozy family room in your house! A crazy world means we need calm and cozy inside our homes more than ever!
As with all of our homes, this room is a work in progress and I’m sure some of the plans will change as we get started next week. Be sure to follow me on Instagram Stories for behind the scenes as the project unfolds! I’ll share the final version of Judy’s living room once it is complete. And of course you’ll be able to watch the full Today’s Homeowner episode when it airs in a few months!
Thanks for Checking In! ~Chelsea
*This post contains affiliate links. I will earn a small commission from your purchase without increasing the price for you!*
Great change to the fireplace …. did u paint the bricks … what would u do to a Honey Oak Mantle that sits on black gas fireplace
Chelsea Lipford Wolf says
Does the mantel have a good shape/style? If not, I’d probably paint it to match the fireplace! ~Chelsea
Nancy Matthew says
I am in the process of remolding an older house, inside and out and enjoy all your ideas.
My question is: what colors do you suggest for my living room and for the living room walls and carpet.
My sofa is a plaid, with lime green, pale yellow, a touch of light blue, olive green and beige. The accent wing back chairs are flower print with the same colors. The walls are painted a light yellow and the carpet is in need of replacement,
I need to keep the sofa and chairs. Please help. I am on a strict budget. Please help.
Thank you so very much.