Of all the rooms in our house, our family room has gone through the most changes. I'm really not even surprised cause we live in this room 80% of the time. That and the fact that I am a changer-upper.
Recently I had enough with not doing any projects so I challenged myself to give this room a summer refresh and spend very little.
$30 for the pillows and $10 for some plants that I have not yet killed. I think that counts for something.
And here's what it looked like before that. It's crazy what pillows and some furniture rearranging
(and better photo editing) can do!
If you're indecisive like me or even just like color and switching things out, here are some tips for creating a family room where you can switch things out often.
And if that isn't you, these tips will help you to create and love your family room.
Take a close look at this room minus all the stuff. Greige walls (Sharkey Gray by Martha Stewart), white trim, white curtains (IKEA Lenda, $20 a pair), classic wood floors, neutral-ish furniture, thrifted and secondhand furniture.
What don't you see? Loud colors on things you can't change easily, expensive pieces, expensive accessories.
If you know that you like to change things out often, spend your money on key pieces that are neutral. Ones that you truly love.
Exception: are you a person who loves bold wall colors? Well, disregard everything I just said and do what you love.
2. Interchangeable artwork and accessories.
I'm going to ask you to look at this room again, but this time focus on the accessories. Everything is cheap, easily changed, or secondhand.
Our clipboard wall allows me to change out the artwork and colors in here as I feel like it (how to make one here), or as the seasons change. Right now we have some stuff my kids made, some string art,
alongside some veggie stamped prints:
The striped pillows are really just pillow covers, $5 each at IKEA. The blue ones were scored on clearance at Pier One for $10 each. $30 and I can change the look of the room completely! Some of my favorite pillow sources are IKEA, H&M, World Market, TJMaxx, and Home Goods. And garage sales, of course (this is where removable/washable pillow covers can be especially nice).
The lamps, flower pot, bookshelf, and picture frame are all thrifted. I painted the picture frame and lamps and could easily do so again! Paint has a very magical power, use it when you on small things to bring some life into your rooms without the commitment.
3. Have a Room That Makes You Smile
This is a tough one, because if you're trying to cut costs, it takes patience. Or maybe even hard work (and bleh, hard work stinks).
When I look at this picture, it makes me happy. Use pieces and colors that make you smile, but that you'll still love in a year or two or *BONUS!* even longer.
I love the color turquoise and that hasn't changed in the last 8 years so who cares if it is in or out? The tables are a family heirloom handed down from my parents, and I have memories of making them into a Barbie house. The pictures are made by my kids. The dresser is from Doug's grandma.
When your pieces and accessories have a history and story, it reflects in your home.
4. Don't Complain, Start Doing Something
I hated our old foyer, which was pretty much just some stairs. So after a few years (and dreaming), we made a foyer ourselves.
Once we lived with our gross carpet and 70s laminate tile, we saved some money and replaced it when we could.
I thought it would be nice to have a breakfast bar, so after some brainstorming, Doug and I built one from some old floor boards.
It is really hard to live with things when you don't love them. It's really tough to tell yourself to limit eating out so you can one day have hardwood floors. It's tempting to lay on the couch watching TV at night instead of working on a project. It's hard to wait for the perfect piece found when thrifting.
But sacrifice makes us better people.
If you want to find a certain second hand thing for a certain spot, make it your job and hunt it down. If you don't like something, change it. And if you can't change it now, change some things so you can eventually change it. Stop complaining and find a way! 🙂
5. Have Less Stuff
You knew this was coming, didn't you. (It always is.
Do you have storage areas full of stuff that you once loved and have since replaced? Stop it. Go through it and let someone else love it.
Let that be proof to you that material things are not making you happy. I'm not sorry for the tough love! They just aren't. 🙂
Purge the things you don't need, don't love, or even don't want to have to dust (I'm looking at you, knick knacks). Edit your home and then edit it again. Bring in the new, but donate the old.
Are the toys the thing causing issues? Find a solution, here's how we keep the toys easy to clean up.
Try to go by the "everything has a place" mantra but also make a spot for the stuff that doesn't have a spot. This dresser below sorts our paperwork and keeps electronics out of sight when not in use.
If your room is one you use all the time, make it a place you actually don't mind being in all of the time. Make it easy to pick up, easy enough that your kids can help, and a place where you can relax instead of feeling burdened.
Want a peek at what this room used to look like?
Here it is in all of its faux paneling, old carpeting, previous homeowner glory. I kid you not, this is the only before picture I have of this room before we started renovations. One that Doug snapped while I was changing my now 5 year old's diaper. #yes
We replaced the paneling and ceiling tiles before we moved in, added a door, (things that would be tough if we were living here) but lived with things that we could, like the carpet.
And here are the different stages of our family room:
- before we started work
- renovation #1: walls, ceilings, and other stuff
- everything is beige phase
- cute, green, and sorta shabby
- renovation #2: flooring and foyer
- blues and greens and yellows
- adding a breakfast bar in a week
- lots of primary colors
- hey, let's just change it to lots of colors
and now, this post that you're reading. 🙂
I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you don't have the funds or don't know what your style is just yet, embrace it. Keep things neutral and make changes as you go. Make decor decisions based on things you love and want in your home, rather than stuff to fill a spot. Stuff that was on sale at Target but still is money spent. Or something that was an AMAZING deal when you were out thrifting, but you don't really need it or love it.