To find harmony between a wife who longed for a family room that felt calming and inviting and her husband who wanted a comfortable place to entertain and strum on his guitars, designer Kathleen Bliss Goldfarb had to riff on each homeowner's design sensibility when renovating the 25-year-old space. "She has very conservative, quiet taste, and he likes bright color," says Bliss Goldfarb, owner of Decorating Den Interiors and the Valley Design Team, NE Ohio in Chagrin Falls. Bliss Goldfarb placed a mural bursting with color on the wall for him while choosing upholstery in quiet and neutral colors for her. The duet of tones, fabrics and textures — including a subtle, silvery-gray rug that grounds the area — all bring balance to the room. "I wanted the rug to be warm and reflect the cool neutrals that are in the room," she says. For the Akron couple, the family room now functions as a place to gather with their three grown children during the holidays, as well as the go-to spot for games with friends. "I'm very proud of the results," says Bliss Goldfarb. "It was like writing a symphony."
Built-in pieces such as this 22-foot-long cherry unit with backlit onyx, by Chagrin Falls designer Ruthann Capozzi, provides a focal point for the room and offers plenty of storage options. "It's good to consider a mix of drawers and shelves, however, every person's needs are different," Bliss Goldfarb says. "A lot of people may not need drawers. If you have young kids, you're probably going to be storing toys and games."
Bliss Goldfarb takes into consideration clients' existing furniture during remodels and renovations. For this room, she recovered a pair of high-end chairs and ottoman in Irish linen. "When you have furniture that you want to reupholster, it better be of good quality and something that is comfortable or that has heirloom value to you," she says, "because it is just as expensive as buying new."
This handpainted wallcovering by British artist Carl Robinson brings balance, color and visual interest into the two-story space. "A lot of folks that have these two-story rooms, they don't do anything with the wall space higher than the door," she says. "This keeps your eye up and offers the ability to take in the whole room."
To offer plenty of seating options, consider a sectional sofa — and one with durable fabric that's stain-resistant and easy to clean such as Crypton. "A sectional is
a significant investment and to get it in any kind of quality and good fabric, you're spending several thousand dollars," she says. "Crypton is pretty bulletproof. You can get wine, mustard and chocolate out of it."
Finishing touches such as pillows can bring life and personality to a room. "Textiles — pillows, throws, anything that you can touch and give you texture — are important design elements in a room," she says. "They become almost like mini art pieces."