The family room or sitting room is the place where everybody comes together. Traditionally has comprised mainly of a three-piece-suite pushed against the walls and an oversized lump of a television that seems to hold everything else in the room in it orbit like some kind of domestic black hole. Today the modern family room is undergoing a massive upheaval, mainly due to three things- the popularisation of open plan living, increased media and technology at home and a more style conscious and well informed homeowner.
A successful family room must now incorporate many other factors and accommodate a whole range of needs; therefore it is vital that you plan out your scheme carefully. An open plan arrangement gives you the best hope of fitting everything in without the room becoming cramped so if possible knock through to another room to increase the space you have to play with. Next, sketch a copy of your floor space and section it off into zones. As a general guide, include a sitting area, study area, storage area and, if you are going totally open plan, a dining area. A well planned out room will allow various family activities to go on simultaneously without people getting in each others way.
The seating area should be arranged so that it becomes a room within a room. Start with a central rug as a focal point and arrange the settees around the perimeter so that the face each other. This will encourage conversation and prevent the area being used as an access route, as people can now walk around the area. If your room is small, instead create an L shaped area with your seating in the corner and will the negative square with a rug and coffee table, which will fence of the perimeter for added cosiness.
If your kitchen and living room share the same space, used your study or dining area to separate them. A breakfast bar is a great way to do this due to its increased height but slim surface area.
For those with a bay window at the front end of the room, why not cushion the window sill and add a small central table to create a wonderful study area or place to chat on the phone without disturbing those watching T.V. You can pick up a bay window curtain pole for little cost and create some curtains out of a fabric of your choice or as modern and affordable alternative, add a small roller blind to each of the three window faces- if you are going to be using a computer there then this option gives you great control over the natural light coming into the room.
Finally, ditch the oversized television and opt for something smaller or at least flatter- T.V. should not dominate a space. A neat flat screen on a stand will sit perfectly on a sideboard- which have made a huge resurgence of late. Not only do they give plenty of room for even the widest of televisions but they mean you can store all of your DVDs out of sight and add some nicely framed family photos on top to remind you of the real focus of the room.