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No Cost and Low Cost Family Room Decorating Ideas

I am the first to admit, that I am affected by my environment. Depending on the vibe in a space, I

can feel inspired and upbeat or I can feel down and unmotivated. The way a room is decorated can affect how you feel in that space.



For example, a family room that has hard surface floors and very little decor can feel cold and uninviting, creating a negative emotion. This is a room that a family uses to relax and hang out in for longer periods, so a comfortable set up is ideal. Here are some tips on what you can do to create an inviting family room, whether you are selling your home or planning on living in it.  


Start from the ground up. Do you have hard surface floors in your family room? If so, I recommend centering your coffee table on top of a large area rug and arranging it so that the front feet of your sofas and chairs are on the top edge of the rug. Even if you have carpeted floors, I would still consider placing a thin (low pile) area rug in the room. Having the large pieces of furniture sit on top of an area rug brings the room together and helps to “anchor” the furniture in the room.


Next, assess your furniture placement. Just by arranging the furniture a certain way, you can create a welcoming or unwelcoming feeling. Take a look at where your furniture is currently placed. When you enter the room are you faced with the back of your couch? This arrangement creates a “roadblock” feeling for guests. It almost makes your guests feel awkward walking into your “private” space if it appears to be blocked off.


I do understand that in some cases this furniture placement is unavoidable. Based on the room’s layout, it may be the only logical place for your couch. If you have the option and can arrange your furniture so you can walk into an open layout, it creates a welcoming feeling.


Do you have all of your large pieces of furniture pushed up against the wall? Try pulling it away. By pulling the furniture away from the wall, even a just few inches, it creates a more intimate feeling. It also makes the room feel like it is larger and airier.

In addition to furniture, lighting is everything in a room. Natural light in a room is ideal for day time. Find every opportunity to let the maximum amount of daylight into your family room. Remove any obstructions from your windows wherever possible.


Overhead lighting in a family room can provide very poor lighting. Family rooms are typically larger and having one overhead light centered in the room does very little for creating ambiance. A rule I like to follow, is to have at least three sources of light spread around the room. Typically this is a couple of side table lamps and a floor lamp. Just be careful with the energy-saving light bulbs. Some of these bulbs give off a blue hue, which is very unappealing. Look for the light bulbs that are labeled soft white. If you need overhead lighting, having dimmable recessed lighting is a great feature, if you have that option.  


Another way to pull your family room together and create a feeling of comfort is to add fabric window treatments. There’s a trick here though. We need fabric window treatments to add texture and softness, but we have to be careful not to block out too much natural light. When adding fabric to your windows, plan to cover the wall more than the actual window (unless you do need to block out the light). Extend your curtain rods far enough on both sides of the window so you can pull the drapery/curtain panels open to only overlap the window a few inches. This does two things, it allows the maximum amount of light in and it creates the illusion that your windows are larger than they actually are, which is a great feature. 

Finally, accessories are the jewelry of the room. It greatly enhances the overall look. Adding throw pillows, wall art and table decor put the finishing touches on the room and give it personality.  

Take a look at this transformation. In this family room, our client had the basic pieces of furniture but lacked personality and comfort. He wanted to create a room that he looked forward to walking into and entertaining in. We used his main pieces of furniture and applied some of the tips we mentioned in this article. Here is the family before:




Notice how the client had the couch pushed up against the wall and little to no accessories. There was minimal furniture and no accent lighting. Overall, nothing was drawing you into this room. We were able to transform this family room without any major changes and successfully brought a sense of life and comfort to the room.  




We started by replacing the area rug. The existing one was looking worn out and our client agreed on purchasing a new one. 

Then we moved the couch away from the wall and brought in some accent furniture pieces. We added new lamps and simple decor to the accent tables. Our client liked a modern farmhouse look, so we found the decor to pull the look together.  

Adding the large mirror on the wall helped to brighten up the space. Mirrors help by bouncing light around the room. They are a good substitute for a window.  

Window treatments weren’t in the budget for our client at this time, so we embraced all the natural light that filtered through the blinds. Through adding throw pillows and botanicals, we were still created a comfortable vibe.  

By using the tips suggested in this article, you can create a completely different feel in your family room. Take a look around your family room and see what ideas you can implement here. You will be amazed at the difference you can make without spending more than you need to.  

Let me know if you try any of these tips. I’d love to know how it works out for you!

Castle Designs     

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