I’m sitting in the local Costa café trying to enjoy a relaxing 10 minutes of what has been an otherwise disastrous day. The type where the car doesn’t want to start in the morning, you are late from your meeting, you forget to bring your umbrella and the heavens open up just as you get out of the car (I swear there were no clouds in the sky a minute ago!).
I can’t help myself but smile behind my cappuccino mug that’s the size of my face, overhearing this cute couple who are trying to decide whether or not to sacrifice their home office and turn it into a playroom for the kids. Any parent out there knows that when you have multiple kids, interior design can quite easily fall behind on the list of priorities. But does it really have to?
This made me think of a project from last year for a family of 5 who recently purchased a new home in the Lake District. This lovely bunch were the dream of any interior designer who loves to challenge themselves – only one room, but soooo many requirements!
A lot of the time young parents don’t have the luxury of buying a family home with 7+ rooms to make sure everyone and everything has its own place. This is when things can get a tad difficult, but also very exciting! It’s the perfect time to get creative and make the most of the small space that is available to you.
This client’s living room had to double as a dining room, playroom, home cinema, study room and reading nook. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? They also begged me to make everything as child friendly as possible while also keeping the design stylish and minimal. They wanted to have a living room to be proud of, to show off to people, to entertain in, but also a space where at the end of the day, they can be a family. And I really felt for them, because that’s exactly what I would want my living room to be – a happy place.
After a few weeks of head scratching and playing around with the possibilities, the design was (sort of) coming together. Me being me, I wanted to please the grownups by adding little bits of what they loved most (travels to Africa, their love of nature) into the design.
So, in the end, we came up with this. A calming, relaxing room with neutral colours, lots of natural materials and hints of Morocco. We kept the furniture to a minimum to allow plenty of room for the children to run around and to entertain in the dining area.
We decided not to cover the whole room with carpets (because let’s face it, they would be soaking in fruit juice in about a week) but instead exposed the lovely wooden flooring. As always, the beauty of the room is in the details. Hints of brass and the stunning lighting we used gave this family room hint of luxury, and the long sideboards hide toys and books the little ones might leave lying around; there is even a study corner for the children.
I feel like I should go over to the couple sitting next to me and tell them not to worry too much, and that giving up their own little space might not be necessary. You just need to make compromises because there is a solution to every problem!
On the other hand, the rain has stopped, my cappuccino is gone, and technically I shouldn’t really be eavesdropping…
Get the Look
Shop this beautiful modern, minimal family room look: