10 Minutes to a Room You’ll Love:: Part 1 Family Room

This is a repost from January 2009.  I enjoyed reading it again and I think you will too.

Sometimes the things that make the biggest change in a room can take just minutes. You don’t have to purchase new furniture. Just make sure you are using what you already have to it’s fullest. You know, accentuate the positives. Right Bing?

1. Furniture Placement:
Pull the sofa and chairs away from walls and closer together to allow for more intimate conversation. Let me repeat. Pull the sofa and chairs away from walls closer together to allow for more intimate conversation. Avoid the trap of aiming every chair directly towards the television. Aim the seating towards the center of the room for conversations sake. We have a couple seats in our room with their backs to the TV. If needed, they can be turned around but the purpose of this room is people. Of course, our sofa and man chair do have good TV viewing stations so this works for us.

Has your sofa been stuck up against the wall? Most people naturally place the biggest item {their sofa} on the longest wall. Kristen decided to move her sofa away from the wall. It had been there for 5 years. She really had nothing to lose by moving it because if she hated it she could simply move it back. Here’s what she had to say about the change:

I cannot believe the difference this has made! Moving our couch off the wall to the middle of the room has created an intimate, cozy setting and works better with the traffic in the room.

2. Maximize Seating:

Challenge yourself to see how many seating options you can place in your room. Use the extra wooden arm chair from your Grandmothers Dining Room table, the ottoman that can double as a coffee table. In my 13′ x 14.5′ size room I have seating for 8 at all times and can move more chairs in if needed.

3. Open the Blinds:

And I don’t mean twist that rod thing. Pull them all the way up and let the sun shine in. You will be surprised at the transformation your room will have. Currently, we do not have blinds so I pull my mistreatments right before bed to keep in the warm. I love driving by a home and getting a peak at what’s inside and I don’t like the feeling of being all closed in when I’m sitting inside my house.

4. Turn off the Overhead Light:

Want to look 10 years older? Stand under an overhead light–especially the kind from the ceiling fan with 4 different naked light bulb bottoms showing–they will surely highlight every crevice on your face. Soften up the room with lamps. And TURN the lamps on! Most family rooms can hold three lamps placed around the room.

5. Bring the Outside in:

Natural items like shells, sticks, pine cones, and acorns can be piled in a bowl. My boys are always bringing home rocks and we keep them in an apothecary jar. A nest under a cloche or a plant, cuttings from your bushes in the backyard–all of these items help bring life to a room.

6. Remove All Clutter:

NO PILES. Look around, how many things are in the living room that are not used daily in that room? Do you have stacks of magazines and books and mail and too many toys and two printers and a laundry basket full of summer clothes? Do yourself a favor and declutter.

7. Music:

Most DVD players will play CDs. I also have a radio hidden under my skirt. My table skirt that is. Music can set the mood for a room and take the edge off a stressful day.

8. Cozy it up:

Use pillows, throws, a rug, mistreatments on a window or table, table runners, even a tassel. Fabricy elements add softness to a room. Shop the house and see what you can find to add some textural warmth.

9. Humanize it:

Candid, informal photos, children’s artwork, the quilt that was handed down–all of these items have a quality that represent natural beauty and trigger relaxation and help put people at ease. Something about the imperfections are welcoming and disarming.

10. Fire:

Do you have a fireplace? Use it. Is it in disrepair? Load it up with some logs and strategically place some chunky candles inside for some ambiance. If you don’t have a fireplace an arrangement of candles can go a long way to add visual warmth to a room. And although I say there’s no wrong–there’s a rule with candles that you must not break. LIGHT THEM! Do not have a never been burnt candle sitting out in your room. There is nothing more sad.

So there we have it. Ten easy no brainer ways to quickly comfortize your family room. None of these ideas are earth shattering but look around, how many of these things are actually happening in your room?

Are you a 1 out of 10 or 10 out of 10? I just moved my sofa because it just didn’t seem right and I have an empty wall right now that I’d like to humanize a little more..

Go to Part 2:10 Minutes to a Room You’ll Love :: Master Bedroom

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. where did you buy that beautiful couch and chair with the red toile?

  2. Love the idea for the unusable fireplace :) Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Oh, goody! I’m so glad for you to re-post this. It’s one of my favorites, and I hadn’t read it in awhile. Such good, timeless tips. And a time frame that I can actually use!

    Have a great day!

  4. I am a big believer in getting the sofa off the wall!!! Mine has not been on a wall in 10 years! Great post!

  5. My living room is very small 15×13 with two big openings. I would love to move my furniture away from the wall or reconfigure but just don’t see how I could in such a small space. I have two long walls and one short wall because it has an opening, the other side is mostly opening to the dining room. No fireplace. Very cookie cutter blah newer construction colonial. I have tried to work on this room for years but have never been able to get it “just so”. I did just do a mistreatment which turned out great, now if I could just figure out a great furniture placement. Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated. I am sure I can not be the only person with this problem.

    • I have a similar issue. Our only living room (no den or play room or sitting room in our casa) has no separation from our entryway; the entry wall has the doorway to the hall in the middle of it (so that wall functions as the drop zone), the opposite wall houses the TV and our guitar collection and that wall is the only full, uninterrupted wall in the space. Then there are the two long walls of the room which have a HUGE windows on them (natural light, check! window between the living and dining room, wierd). The seating all aims at the middle of the room, and it’s pretty close because the room is so small. The only place to move my sofa off of a wall would block the entry way, which would greatly damage the flow in our tiny house (only 1300 sq. ft.).

      So maybe the placement is as good as it will get for now. In the long run we will probably get a chaise end unit to add to our sofa, and that will bring the couch into the space a little more and cozy up the room (I love the flexibility and shocking comfort of IKEA furniture). If your room allows it, could you put the couch on one wall and the chairs flanking the opening, so you can still move between the chairs and through the opening? Furniture placement is tricky in a small space!

  6. I am a 9 out of ten, not too bad….no lamps, only over head lighting! I could use some more warmth too. Lots of big windows need lots of big mistreatements, and that costs lots of big money :) Thanks for these series, I love them best!

  7. Love the Bing!!

    Nester, after reading this last year, I started opening each and every blind in our downstairs every morning. All the way up. And I’d leave them up all day long until the sun went down and we needed privacy. WHAT A DIFFERENCE. :) I felt happier with the sunshine streaming in, I could see better (haha), and my rooms looked better…even with the Fisher Price stuff all over the floor. ;)

    Thanks for reposting this. :)

  8. Great advice. I couldn’t agree more about letting the light in!

  9. I am going to start working on your list today. I have been feeling a little overwhelmed by the clutter around here (kids toys, school paperwork, tax documents) and I want to change some furniture placement too. I guess I just needed a little nudge and your blog did it! yay!

  10. Great tips! I definitely do not have enough seating anywhere in my house. The max amount of people I can have at any given time is only 4, lol. I’m still searching for the perfect wing back chair…

  11. LOL I already have most of your tips working :)
    I LOVE candles and always have somne in my fireplace and YES they are burning almost every evening. NO couch near the wall, it is opposite my fireplace. Oke the tv is facing the couch but I live alone so…. NEVER have the overhead lamp on, it is only for show :) Never have the blinds closed, also mostly for show. LOVE the sun esp in the cold winter ♥ Pillows, adore them and have a couple on the couch and the chairs too ♥ And the moment I get downstairs in the morning ON goes the radio YAY! Love music all day long.
    SO ….whataboutthat lol.

    Hugs and have a great weekend. Thanks for the advice anyways lol

  12. I loved that series! And the 30 days one, too. Please tell me you’re doing a new series sometime soon?

  13. Thanks for some great ideas. It is also reassuring that I am already doing a lot of these things. I just need to hunker down and do a bit more decluttering!

  14. Nester-this, I think, is my favorite series from NP. Very worth repeating.

  15. Love and agree with all of your suggestions, I did a post on my new blog about these very elements that I require in my own home I called it:

  16. I love this post, didn’t see it the first time! I really couldn’t agree with you more. There is something about natural light, when I go visit my MIL all her drapes are all shut, the first thing I do is open EVERYTHING up. It puts me in a better mood, Now, I don’t know I would do that to just anyone but it really is amazing what a little light from the outdoors can do for your attitude :)

  17. Loved this series – so glad to see the repost!

  18. I did enjoy this post again. I’ve been telling everyone for years to pull their furniture off the walls! In my living room, I don’t have a choice. I have a fireplace on one wall, picture window on the other, entry on the third and dining room on the fourth. It has been challenging! There are no plugs in the floor, so installing lamps sometimes requires extension cords. Yuck! I haven’t given up yet though! Have a great weekend!

  19. Always good to have a refresher! I’ve learned a lot from you since the first time you posted it, so I’m happy to see that most of those are being implemented… yay! :) Still needs some cozying up, though…

  20. I totally needed that refresher! I’m going to go have at my basement family room now!

  21. Such good info! And I get a perfect grade in the living room- maybe I need a couple more pillows! Bedroom….maybe an 80. right now I’ve got some laundry sitting on my chair by the window. And the tv stays….sometimes in the middle of the night when he can’t sleep he’ll turn it on, no volume. That settles his brain and he doesn’t have to leave me ; ).

  22. This is one of the posts that inspired many changes to my home and encouraged me to frequent your website. I wish I had photos of my home before “the nester” to compare to the afters. What an inspiration!

  23. I started working on this immediately and my sister-in-law happened to drop by so she helped me rotate our sectional couch and move in a side table–now I’m super-motived to accessorize, add a lamp and bring in some other elements. It’s exciting, and just the inspiration I needed to get going this morning! Thank you!!!

  24. Oh yes, we love our candles in the fireplace…as we prefer life over death. Lighting our gas fireplace would bring an end to us all through carbon monoxide poisoning. Just blogged about it, its fresh on my mind…he, he, he.

  25. Great advice!


  26. Youa re so good at making impossible decorating challenges seem manageable. I am very impaired in the decorating area, but your stuff gives me hope and makes me get off my butt and try stuff out. Thanks.

  27. I want to be you when I grow up!! :)

    I am going to rearrange next week! Woo hoo!

    Haven’t been here in a while and wanted to just invite you to a give away on my blog for a book about the journey to joy by Nancy Leigh DeMoss!

    Love you.

    God bless,

  28. Love number 9 and the image you’ve shown. I would love something like this from one of my children! Janell

  29. Great points. Love your “rule” about unlit candles :)

  30. Thanks for the repost! I love it!!

  31. I don’t know how people live & never open their blinds! My mother is one of them. The first thing I do is open the shades. The last thing I do is close the shades. And I LOVE driving around around at night looking ‘in’ at people’s pretty houses! I call them “peeking houses”. And I peek. :)

  32. Here’s a trick I use and love: I buy a set of new candles (vanilla, two sizes, at Wally World so cheap). Then I light all three and let them burning down until they each have a deep “well” in them. Deep enough to place a PLASTIC CUPPED tea light inside so the candle doesn’t show. Wait til the wax is cool, of course. Anyway…this enables me to have a three-tired (on three sizes of candle holders) candle grouping that never burns away. I just replace the tea candles. Do not use the metal cupped tea lights. They get too hot and melt the candle wax. The plastic doesn’t. The candles just glow and I can let them burn out without worrying about them. Try it!

  33. Love this post!

    I’ll never profess to be a great decorator, but there is one thing I do know and that’s good lighting matters.

    I hate overhead lighting, rooms without lamps, and kitchens without undercounter lights. I have certain lamps in my home that I turn on each morning and they stay on all day (I know, Al Gore is frowning).

    I have no window treatments or blinds in the family room/kitchen area and it’s a large room with six full length windows and a french door. I LOVE all of the light that streams!

  34. Another mind meld. I just decided to expose my entire house on the internet (I’m a lunatic) to enlist help from all of these amazing gals . One of the first changes that I NEED to make is move the sofa away from the wall. It’s been there for 10 years. I remember. I went into labor while sitting on it watching my husband hang our new window treatments.

    Thanks for this great re-post which is a new post to me!


  35. Thank you for resposting this as I didn’t see it the first time. I am JUMPING for joy because I just bought a bunch of the same fabric you have on your windows! Love it :)

  36. Ah, I like the comment about having a radio under your skirt! Very humorous. I’m going through some decorating education by checking out many articles and blogs on the internet. I have some ideas about what I like but I need some guidelines to follow and your article has helped with that.

    My sister always has her blinds closed. It’s drab and dreary.

    Thanks for good suggestions.

    Kimberly Aardal
    Publisher, EveryDayRockingChairs.com

  37. Great post!!!

  38. I can not agree more with LIGHT YOUR CANDLES. I had a friend…. she was dying, very upsetting. We were having a conversation one day and I asked her “what is one thing you would change about your life?” She said “I would light my candles!” What? She had candles sitting around and candles she would take out at Christmas and she loved them but she never lit them! So from that day on if I buy a candle it is not to sit there and look pretty! It is to be burned and loved to the fullest!

  39. I really enjoy what you post here, very fresh and smart. One issue though, I’m running Firefox on Fedora and some of your layout pieces are a little off. I realize it’s not a common setup, but it’s still something to to keep in mind. Just tossing you a heads up.

  40. Really like these things that can transform a room in minutes!

  41. Very good write-up! I will be also going to write a blog article relating to this… thanks a lot

  42. I cannot thank you enough for the post.Really thank you! Cool.


  1. […] you can change right now to make the room just a little more inviting. Check out Parts 1 and 2, Family Rooms and Master Bedrooms. At the end of the series we will have a Mr. Linky party so you can show us […]

  2. […] love this list of things you can do in ten minutes to create a room you love (@ Nesting […]

  3. […] This is the second post in a series where we are exploring all sorts of quick and easy ways to spruce up your home. The idea is to focus on a few things that you can change right now to make the room just a little more inviting. Read Part 1: Family Rooms here. […]

  4. […] 10 Minutes to a Room You’ll Love: Family Room — Gorgeous. That’s how I describe the way our room would look if I were to follow these quick and affordable tips! Nesting Place […]

  5. […] you can change right now to make the room just a little more inviting. Check out Parts 1 and 2, Family Rooms and Master Bedrooms. At the end of the series we will have a Mr. Linky party so you can show us any […]

  6. […] side so the kids aren’t going (quite) so crazy.  Maybe you’d like your home more if you did a few quick fixes to a room or […]

Speak Your Mind