We live in a fast-paced world. Between breakfast, kindergarten, school, work, and bedtime, families hardly get to spend any time together. But there is a solution: The family room.
The Family Room – a Safe Place
Sometimes it feels as if we’re always on the run. Getting the children up in the morning, preparing breakfast, dropping everybody off. . . and we haven’t even had lunch! After that, parents need to commute to work or take care of household chores before homework, extra activities, and more. At this pace, how can families actually spend time together?!?!
In fact, a recent study shows that the average American family spends fewer than 40 minutes together each day. Why? Long work hours and complex school schedules are the chief culprits, but none of us is constantly at work or school. When families get home in the evening, they often scatter to different corners of the house doing their own thing. However, in order to be a happy family, you need to spend time together and communicate.
Family time happens more easily when you have a space where you can all meet up. It doesn’t have to be a dedicated “family room”, but it could be the living room, kitchen or even the garage. Try creating a physical family room where every member of the family feels welcome and safe. You’ll soon see that your relationships improve, this togetherness will promote a healthier family life.
How to Use a Family Room
The key word in “family room” is “family”. It can be any space around your house where you and your kids feel comfortable and want to spend time together. Having open conversations about what’s going on in everybody’s life is essential for strong family relations. Therefore, the family room should be a space for open communication. It’s an area where you can share happy moments as well as challenging discussions, especially with teenagers!
The rising popularity of the open concept floor plan in many houses might mean you don’t even have to choose one room as the dedicated family room. The kitchen and den might even connect to each other, so you can spend time in a broader space.
A Family Room to Make Decisions
Also, a family room gives the opportunity to value each and every member of your family. In weekly or even daily meetings, you and your children can make decisions together. You can decide things like:
- Who takes the garbage out?
- Where do we want to go on vacation?
- What do we want to do on the weekend?
But you don’t always have to actively spend time together. You can also use the family room as a space in which everyone can do their own thing, like homework or reading. This makes it similar to a co-working space, where, according to recent studies, people feel more valued and creative. Lastly, of course, a family room is a great space for shared activities. Playing board games, watching a movie or cooking and eating dinner together are just some of the many ways your family can use this special room.
Different Families, Different Family Rooms
Every family is different, so no family room is ever the same. Maybe you and your family enjoy preparing meals together? In that case, a kitchen with a big table where your kids can do their homework or play games could be the perfect family room.
In many ways, family dinners represent the traditional family space, as everyone comes together to enjoy the food and share their day. A Harris Poll survey clearly shows that even though the majority of Americans value the importance of a shared dinner, family dinners are becoming rare. If the kitchen serves as your family space, you might be able to enjoy more meals together.
If your family loves board games or relaxing and watching movies together, the living room is your ideal space. The living room’s also great if you like the idea of a family co-working space. Bonus: it’s usually one of the most comfortable rooms in the house.
Another, slightly more unusual option for your family room, could be the garden or terrace. Especially if you live in a warmer region, connect with your family in outdoor areas. You can grow and harvest vegetables together, play outside, have barbecues on the terrace and enjoy the fresh air. Of course, there are many other spaces that you can convert into a family room. Let your imagination run free…!
Creating a Family Room
Regardless of which room you choose as your family room, furnish it in a way that makes every member of the family feel welcome. Especially if you have smaller kids, the furniture in this room should never be so valuable that a scratch or mark results in a family crisis. We highly recommend forgiving colors and fabrics.
Depending on your family’s character, choose warm or cool colors. Warm colors tend to be more playful and inviting, whereas cooler colors create a calming space. Make sure you have enough seating space for everyone, and you should ideally furnish your kitchen, terrace, living room or any other place you consider your family room with functional and cozy seating options.
You should be able to relax and have active family discussions in your family room. Equally important is a big table for shared meals, game evenings, shared decision-making, meetings, homework or reading.
Since a family room should strengthen your family bonds, some families choose to incorporate everyone’s opinions in terms of furnishing and decorating it. This way, it can become your whole family’s space.
Of course, even if your kids have no say in the decor at first, you will often find their toys and favorite things sneaking into your family room. It will almost always reflect everyone’s personality in one way or another.
What do you think? What’s your family’s family room style? Traditional den, or contemporary outside patio? Share design ideas and thoughts on the perfect family room on the FamilyApp.