Multi-Functional Family Room Ideas

The pace of modern life takes families in different directions, limiting the time they spend in one place—unless they create opportunities for time together. A work-and-fun family room makes a great gathering space. How you set it up and what you include in it helps determine which of your favorite shared activities it features most prominently. Take your setup, design and functionality cues from your family's activities and favorite pastimes.

Homework

Even kids who share a bedroom enjoy the privacy of doing homework in their own separate areas. To protect your children from online risks and predators, however, you need to keep an eye on what they do on the Internet. Taking the computer out of their room and putting it in an open, accessible, shared family area, gives you ample opportunity to monitor online use.

With the computer out in the open, they can get answers to questions about their homework without conducting a long-distance, high-volume, half-understood conversation from room to room. Whether they use a desktop computer or set up a notebook system on a work table, they can tap in to a convenient broadband connection and do online research.

Entertainment

A big wall-mounted HDTV and home theater system make natural additions to a family room that can bring all of you together to watch a movie or sporting event. Before you position the TV and audio/video electronics, look for ways to maximize the number of people who can watch comfortably, with cozy seating and a good on-axis view of the screen. An integrated system cuts down on the number of remote controls you need to keep from wandering into furniture cushions. Set up parental controls to keep curious youngsters away from programming intended for an older audience.

Office

Unless you run a home-based business that requires separate office space for tax purposes, your multi-functional family room makes a great location for a work area with a computer that monitors family finances, recipes, synced schedules shared on smartphones or tablets, and all the focal details of busy shared lives. The same computer can back up the memory cards from digital cameras and camcorders, track fantasy sports teams and plan the week's grocery shopping. When you set up the system with a login account for each family member, you can keep Dad's baseball stats separate from online banking and music accounts.

Other Considerations

A multi-talented space shared with family and friends needs flexible storage to keep essential materials accessible without allowing clutter to build up. Before you revamp a family room to make it truly multi-functional, study what collects where to determine the types of things you need to store and the best places to put them.

You also need lighting that can accommodate everything from homework and home finances to family movie night and a big sporting event. Energy-efficient LED lamps fit your current fixtures with low-wattage, long-life bulb replacements. Unlike other energy-saver lighting choices, LEDs offer dimmable control of lighting levels without flickering or buzzing, and produce light in various color temperatures to create the right environment in any room.

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