Family Room Function

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When I think of watermelons I think of summer sunshine and the 4th of July, lemonade and family reunions.

I do not think “What a great color scheme for a family room!”

The front door of The River House opens into a family room/great room. It is the very first thing guests see and it was a huge priority to address when we first moved in since, you guessed it, the watermelon motif reigned supreme. With a soaring 25 foot ceiling, tons of natural light and two dark green walls flanking the pink space just beneath the catwalk, if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be a watermelon seed, ponder no more as I’m pretty sure this would be your view.


The opposite wall boasted a great gas fireplace but the knotty pine and brass facade fought with the Gone with the Wind pillars.


With so many windows and grand river scenery out of each, I picked a neutral color that I thought would not distract from the outdoor views. Two weeks after moving in I had painters on ladders risking their lives to slay this fruity inspiration. Instantly the space felt cozier and brighter. Ahhhh . . . I could live here. (Which is a good thing, because I do!)


Even the odd chandelier blended in better once the walls were painted! I stuck with the neutral pallet throughout and used soft grays and blues as accents with the ivory and taupe.

The biggest success of this room was my use of Annie Sloan chalk paint to breathe some sophisticated new life into the fireplace facade. Goodbye cabin, hello Paris Grey. In addition, I removed the brass panel and spray painted it with heat resistant black. The results fit in much better and give the room a softer feel.

RiverHouseLivingAfterFireplacePaintedThis leather chair and matching ottoman are perfectly positioned for great winter naps next to the fire (pretty much my standard Sunday routine).

And so continues the theme of my decorating mantra, design belief system and staple of all things pretty:  Paint solves everything. It is your canvas on which you build your vision and it is the backdrop for life to play out against. This room’s full potential was realized once it was simply painted one color and allowed to be the cohesive and comprehensive space it was meant to be. Its first impression is now the “Wow!” the original owner was going for and it henceforth became the place we entertained friends, lounged around in for family movie nights and the place the kiddos camped out in after school for some wind down time.

Design Tip – Texture

Making such a large space feel cozy can be a challenge. In order to accomplish that goal (in any size room) there is one key only you need to incorporate: texture. Balance smooth surfaces with rough ones. In this room I used a lot of natural elements such as wood. The smooth leather surface of this ottoman achieves the necessary texture by incorporating a wooden Pottery Barn tray and dogwood branches from my backyard. Even this little touch of rope on the iron basket provides texture to cozy up the space. (Note the basket in the background? Baskets are a slam dunk in any room for texture. Buy them always and often. Trust me, you’ll find a use for them! The one here is full of warm blankets for weekend naps and snuggles.)

Ottoman (8)

Greenery and branches also offer texture – I like to mix branches with faux stems. I love real plants but we have cats who like to eat them so I try to find high end pretend ones and mix them with real sticks. This vintage whiskey bottle on our entertainment center was a piece Cowboy rescued from the crawl space under the house we flipped last year. (I know, I wonder what the story was there? Someone’s hidden hooch from Prohibition? God only knows but it sure makes a great statement next to our television now filled with this display for texture.) Oh yes, and don’t forget about that basket on the top shelf – I told you baskets were great!


The accessories atop the fireplace mantel were also chosen for their texture. Mirrors add depth and light but not texture. Therefore, I found one with a substantive frame, the scale of which matched the room and the decorative patterns in it provided, you got it . . . texture! A woven wooden star and some twine balls atop iron candlesticks also provides the texture that keeps this space feeling warm and not cold.


Design Tip – Scale

An essential element for such a large room is the scale of the pieces you put in it. When a room is massive the furniture must also be massive. If it isn’t – the whole room will feel cold, strange and empty. The entertainment center is a perfect example of scale. When we first moved in we had a nice rustic tv stand (that I still love) but it looked lonely and ridiculous on that wall. Thankfully, I stumbled upon this affordable piece at Slumberland (I know!) — and Cowboy and I snatched it right up. It filled the space and the cozy retreat we were going for came together once that large wall was filled in with a piece to scale (and full of textured accessories).

Thank you so much for stopping by – Happy decorating . . . may your family room be cozy and your watermelons be snacks not color schemes.


Peace, Joy and Blessings, 


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