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Affordable Decorating Ideas for a Family Room

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I am embarrassed to admit it – but my family room was a disaster before I decided to redecorate.

Affordable decorating ideas for a family room.

By updating just a few things, I was able to give the room some new life. It still looks lived in, but far more comfortable.

Really, I don't know how it happened.

But over time, my family room morphed from a normal family room into a home office/all purpose room type space.

It got cluttered, dirty, and mostly ignored.

Last week my friend, who also happens to be a real estate agent, came over.

And in the nicest of ways she said – “Maybe you need a coat of paint to spruce things up.”

Somehow, those words snapped me out of my fog, so to speak. And I finally saw my family room through another person's eyes.

It needed more than just a coat of paint. It needed a redo.

Since I wasn't ready to take on a huge project, I set my sights on finding affordable ideas for decorating my family room.

And decorate, I did.

I am so happy with the way the room turned out. And I want to share what I did with you.

Where I Shopped

When I think of affordable redecorating ideas, my mind immediately thinks Target. And yes, I did find some great stuff there.

For this particular project, I shopped at the following stores:

The Problems With the Old Family Room

A very cluttered corner.
A very cluttered corner.

Let's talk about why I was looking for affordable decorating ideas for my family room in the first place.

Our family room is on the smallish side. Yet, it is kind of a hub for the whole family.

Problem 1 – Yes, The Family Room Needs Paint

My friend wasn't off base when she said the room needed a coat of paint.

Problem 2 – Using Family Room As a Home Office

I took over a small section of it to use as a home office.

But the room is really too small to support that use.

Problem 3 – Heavy Traffic Area

People travel through the family room to head out the back door. The kids do homework there and so on.

There is a low pile berber wall to wall carpet on the floor.

The carpet was getting dirty.

Problem 4 – Heavy Curtains Blocked the Light

At some point, I put up some dark, heavy curtains – I don't know why I chose those, really.

Problem 5 – Furniture too Large for the Space

Our sofa was a good size for the space but it was flanked by two large round, wooden end tables that I picked up at Ikea years ago.

Somehow, our 20 year old La-Z-Boy recliner found it's way into the family room as well.

Problem 6 – Too Much Fabric

Between the sofa, the wall to wall carpet, the curtains, the recliner, and the upholstered bench that we were using as a coffee table – the entire room was overrun with fabrics of every type.

Problem 7 – General Decluttering and Cleaning

Because there was so much stuff in this small space, it got a bit dusty (to say the least).

What I Did to Spruce Up the Family Room

Cleaning Up

The first thing that I did was thoroughly clean and dust the room.

Next I painted the family room.

I used Benjamin Moore Linen White in a flat finish. This was easy because I did not change the color.

Finally, to set the stage for redecoration – I shampooed the wall to wall carpet.

I shampoo the carpet myself using an older version of this Hoover carpet cleaning machine. I find this to be more affordable over the years than hiring a steam cleaning service.

Although, if you have a large home with lots of carpets, it might be worth it to get someone else to do it for you.

I also had good luck with this Spot Shot Instant Carpet Stain Remover on a few problem areas.

RELATED: Should You Clean Your Own Carpets Or Hire a Carpet Cleaning Service?


Decluttering goes hand in hand with cleaning.

Affordable decorating ideas for a family room.
This is the AFTER photo but before the new recliner.

Fact: there was just too much stuff in this one small room.

I took my home office desk out and will repaint it for my daughter's room.

As for my home office – I moved much of my stuff to our finished basement, but will use my laptop for most of my blogging.

I still have a secretary type desk that folds closed in the corner of the family room, if I need a place to work upstairs.

Those big, bulky end tables? They were repurposed to the living room and replaced with a small end table that I had in another part of my home.

And the bench that I was too embarrassed to photograph for this post? Well, I recovered it – and you can see it here in this DIY tutorial on how to reupholster a bench (for beginners like me).

Organizing Traffic Flow

Area rug from Target

The traffic through this family room was a problem.

So I used an area rug to visually delineate space.

Even though we had wall to wall carpet, I wanted to create the feeling of a seating arrangement. I also wanted foot traffic to the back door to skirt the seating arrangement.

I thought it might be a little bit weird to put an area rug on top of wall to wall carpet – but it really turned out great.

Because my wall to wall carpet had a mix of red and beige – I wanted to go more neutral in the area rug.

I chose the above affordable area rug from Target in the tan color.

Even though the rug has a bit of a rubberized backing, I still purchased a thick rug pad to go under it. This is the one that I chose.

Lightening Up the Windows

Sheer curtains from Target

I also replaced the heavy, room darkening curtains in the family room with these light and airy white sheers – also from Target.

DeFabricizing the Family Room

Yeah – that is probably not a word.

But I wanted to reduce the amount of fabric surfaces overall in the family room.

I found this beautiful Bianca coffee table at Pier1.

It is covered with mother of pearl inlays cut in a leaf pattern. The cream color really lightens up the room and adds an interesting texture as well.

Bianca coffee table from Pier1

I also decided to replace the trusty old recliner with … wait for it … a new recliner! But this time in leather.

Even though I am so NOT a fan of the recliner look – this is the chair that everyone fights over sits in.

It's true.

Accessorizing the Family Room

Flokati style pillow - faux fur.

I also added a few flokati type faux fur pillows from Target to add some interest. (My husband is not a big fan of these – calls them abominable snowmen – but I like them)

And next to the secretary desk I added a decorative chair .

This serves a dual purpose of providing additional seating for guests as well as being a great desk chair.

Function Should Be Your Decorating Goal

While decorating can make a space look nice – the purpose should be increased functionality.

Affordable decorating ideas for a family room.
No – the dog was not part of the room redo! 😉

After all, people are going to use the room, not just look at it.

By decluttering and cleaning my family room – it became a place that is much more enjoyable to hang out in.

The new coffee table offers a people a place to work, use a laptop, or just put up their feet.

My family needs a place to charge their stuff. The open shelves on the end table are perfect for this.

The decorative chair does double duty as a desk chair and the rug demarcates distinct traffic patterns in the room.

Overall, I am really happy with the way the family room looks now.

Keeping to a Budget

I kept costs down on this project by shopping at Target, buying Final Sale merchandise at Pier1, and repurposing the end table from furniture that I already owned.

The new recliner was a splurge – but by shopping at Wayfair, I paid less than I would have at the manufacturer.

Your Affordable Decorating Ideas?

What ideas do you have for decorating on a budget?

Let us know in the comments below.

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