How to Design a Fun Family Room

Whether you're planning to move to a new home or to redo parts of the home you already have, a family room can provide hours of shared enjoyment, bringing everyone together to watch a movie, play a game or enjoy individual activities in a shared space. To craft a great design plan, ask your family members to list the ways they'd like to use the space or what they'd like to change about your existing family room.

Evaluate Use

As you evaluate the room you plan to use, your first decision concerns the extent of your redesign process. With a budget that covers remodeling, you can reconfigure more aspects of the space than you can with a modest investment that extends to face-lifting rather than completely redoing it. How you configure a family room depends on which members of the family actually will use the space and the objectives the room needs to fulfill. If "family room" really means "media room," your primary focus should fall on watching movies, TV shows, sporting events and other visual entertainment.

Fabrics, Furniture & Lighting

Your current furniture may not play a role in the finished design, especially if it consists of pieces you've worn out or no longer want to use. If you love the furniture but need to refurbish it, you may find it less expensive to reupholster a worn sofa than to shop for a replacement. Look for family-friendly fabrics with stain-repellent and liquid-resistant properties that can survive juice or coffee spills. If the room lacks enough light to use it for reading—on a tablet device or a bound book—look to new lamps and LED light sources for energy-efficient bulb replacements. Installing new ceiling fixtures falls under the bigger-budget design category, however, as it requires an electrician and a contractor to wire and install sconces or recessed fixtures.

Viewing Technology

Choose an HDTV to enjoy the full range of visual entertainment on a bright screen that can rival the experience you enjoy in a movie theater. You can choose a set that combines 3D viewing and a wireless connection to your home network for Internet-based programming options. Look for a TV with dimensions that match the size of your room and the distance between the viewers and screen. A too-small set leaves you squinting, whereas one that's too large can make you feel as if you're sitting too close. Wall mounting the set can remove the need for a TV stand, limiting the amount of technology furniture you need.

Music & Sound

Add a home theater system to incorporate 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound, making onscreen entertainment jump to life and supporting 3D viewing with a matching audio experience. Surround sound systems count their main speakers—the number before the decimal point—in addition to a subwoofer for low-frequency reproduction. Choose an audio package that combines amplification with a full set of matched speakers, providing straightforward system setup and rich, full sound. Wirelessly enabled home theater systems can play back content from other devices in your home, including tablet devices, computers, media players and smartphones.

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