5 Ways to Redo This Room

I thought it would be fun to do something a little different with the 5 Ways post this weekend.  I’ve got a real room with real decorating dilemmas and solutions to share with you.  Reader Julie sent some pictures of her family room, and we’re going to come up with some ideas that will help her to Redo This Room!


Julie’s family room has some great things going for it.  It has huge windows that bring in lots of light.  It has a fireplace.  It’s part of an open-concept floor plan, so you can see the kitchen and dining room from the step-down family room.  And Julie has a nice set of brown leather couches.  On the other hand, some of the things Julie wishes she could change about this room include the dated fireplace design, the awkward furniture arrangement, and the lack of color and fun decor.

Julie Family Room Before

I found some great online tutorials for projects that Julie might use to completely transform her family room.  Hopefully these ideas will provide inspiration both for Julie and for you!


1.  Update the Fireplace


Julie’s fireplace should be the focal point of the room, but the distinctly patterned brick and dated mantelpiece make her want to cover the whole thing with a sheet.  The built-in cabinet on the wall next to the mantel is handy storage, but the color of the wood seems a little off next to the brick.  Luckily,  The Handcrafted Life has an excellent tutorial for building a facade that could cover up some of the dated aspect’s of Julie’s fireplace, and create a more cohesive look with the nearby cabinetry.  I shared a tutorial here for painting over unsightly brick.  Moving the television over the mantel will help with the furniture placement in Julie’s room, too.

2.  Panel a Wall


One of the ways  moving the television over the mantel can change the furniture arrangement in Julie’s family room is that it would make it possible to move her large entertainment center out of the room.  That would free up the one wall without a window for seating and some fun decor options.  I am inspired by Decor Chick‘s paneled living room wall.  The board-and-batten wainscoting would look really fantastic next to the paneled fireplace facade, too.

3.  Make a Colorful Gallery Wall


Julie doesn’t need to go out and buy all new frames to make a gallery wall like the one above.  Instead, she could paint frames that she already owns (or finds at the thrift store)  to create a dynamic gallery-style display that would add color and personality to her room.  Check out a fun example of this at Running From the Law.

4. Add Storage


I recommended that Julie move the bulky entertainment center away from her one blank wall to give her more options for furniture placement.  That cabinetry represents a lot of storage, though, which I didn’t want Julie to have to sacrifice.  If it would fit, one option would be to move the shelving in front of the railing that separates Julie’s family room from the kitchen.  She could remove the railing and paint the entertainment center white to match the other trim in the room for a built-in look.  If size is an issue, Julie could follow a tutorial like this one at IHeart Organizing to make a low wall of built-in storage between her family room and kitchen.

5.  Bring in Color with Accessories


Julie has a perfectly good set of couches and a nice wall color that doesn’t need to be changed–they make a neutral canvas for decorating.  Instead spending money on new furniture, I suggest that she continue to add color and personality to this room with accessories.  A good example of this is a very similar room at I Like It, I Love It, where brown leather couches get lightened up with fanciful throw pillows.  (These are easy to make!  Check out all of my pillow tutorials.)  Matching colors in a rug are another way to bring personality and color into this neutral room.

Readers, do you have any suggestions for things Julie could do to update her family room?

Are any of you interested in getting DIY ideas and advice for your problem spaces?  Leave a comment below telling me which room in your house needs inspiration!