Please please please help me design my awkward family room!!
Melissa KayOctober 20, 2013
Hi! This is my very first time reading and posting on these boards...I had no idea they existed until now and BOY am I excited! Hee hee. I am going to try to explain this room the best I can, but I have a feeling I will be all over the place because the whole thing is super overwhelming. Hopefully my pictures will help to explain things as well. Feel free to ask me any questions.

We just starting renovating our first floor family room. It's a 24' by 15' room with lots of closets, doorways, windows, fireplace, etc, which is making it VERY hard to decide how to design/decorate and where to place furniture.

One of the biggest issues we are having is that there is a ledge that runs around half of the room. It is covering the's about 22 inches high and 11 inches in depth. We tore down the old 1980 built-in that housed the TV, and was built around that ledge. Now that the built-in is gone, the ledge is there and it's making it hard to figure out what to do in terms of placing the TV. (The built-in was not made for a large tv nor a flat screen and there was no way to modify it).

Do you place a media console in front of the ledge? Do we try to build another "built-in" type thing AROUND the ledge? Should the TV go on the wall above the console or actually set on the console?

Other things: We tore out the carpet and will be installing carbonized bamboo. We will be painting the trim white and replacing all of the doors/closet doors. We tore out the ugly bar and now have an awkward nook about 4 feet wide and 2.5 feet deep. We plan to do something to the fireplace, even if we just paint it as a temporary fix (I'd like stone eventually).

Ok I think that' all. I guess my major questions are about tv placement/ledge issue...but also about painting that ledge...Do we leave a wood cap or paint it white to match all the new trim? Any other creative ideas? It's not deep enough to be a seat or anything.

If you have read and deciphered this long post, THANK YOU!! Any tips or advice or decorating ideas would be so appreciated. Some of these pics are from 7 years ago when we first moved in, there are a lot less toys now that my kids are older. Some pics are of a messy room, LOL, don't judge! ;) Thank you all in advance for your help.
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Seems like this is a family area with lots of toys. I'd take advantage of the ledges you have and build up for storage. I took one wall and put together a sample idea with shelves for storage, a table extending off the ledge and a chalk board under the window.
4 Likes    Bookmark   Thanked by Melissa Kay    October 25, 2013 at 5:08AM
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You could build out over the ledge and make a window seat along that wall. I wouldn't put the tv there blocking the window, but it would be a cozy place to come read some books to your kids!
    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 5:21AM
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Handy, I was thinking the same thing. Those ledges could be put to good use.
1 Like    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 6:02AM
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You could put Woven Wood Shades up to warm your space up a bit and add style.
    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 6:10AM
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Some roller shades with Kid's designs could work as well.
    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 6:15AM
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I would put a flat-panel TV over the fireplace in place of the picture and a sofa facing it if it's going to be a media room.

You need way more shelving for storing the books and toys - use the ledge as the bottom shelf and add shelves above it. Paint them to make them less obvious, but the clutter needs a place to be stored.

I would place them on the window wall, with a padded area under the window, and add a pull-down shade for light control when watching the TV.
    Bookmark   October 25, 2013 at 6:29AM
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Paint the shelf your trim color. Consider if your style is more contemporary or cottage/traditional. You might cream wash (use watered down buff toned paint) the brick if you are a cottage gal, or go for a neutral greige solid if you are more contemporary - select two shades of greige - put the lighter one on the walls and the deeper one on the fireplace (use masonry paint). I would hang the television on the wall and use some of your existing open shelves for media adjacent. 22 inches high is just above seat height, but if I was you, I would make some shallow box cushions for the areas to the left and right of the fireplace so you are indicating seating use. Add a kids size table and chairs in an accent painted wood over there. It is a neat space with lots of opportunity.
    Bookmark   Thanked by Melissa Kay    February 6, 2014 at 1:57PM
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Patricia Sutherland
Is there anything inside those ledges beside the fireplace? I'd put a hinges on the top or a few sliding door openings in the front to store stuffed animals and toys in little shoe bins, keeping the ledges clear for free space to play when its play time, and neat and tidy when its movie night. The shelving and window seat is an awesome plan. I had a window seat that was purposely made to fit a crib mattress in a house I rented. My cat and I shared this space when my daughter wasn't taking a nap.
    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 7:03PM
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LEICHT New York / LEICHT Westchester
A client of ours had a similar fireplace. She painted it, then added custom cabinetry, here's the result: My Houzz: Susan 1
and the before photo: My Houzz: Susan 2

All the best! Feel free to write us if you have any questions.
1 Like    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 10:06AM
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This room is real loveable and inspiring...Realy love it
    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 4:34AM
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Bepa Studio
Liven up the room with unique art. Bepa Studio has true nature and funky conversational pieces. Check it out at
    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 6:08PM
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