Interior Decorating · Interior Design

Why My Family Room Decor Is Always A Work In Progress Or: How To Play Decorating Whack-A-Mole

You can redecorate some rooms you rarely use, like guestrooms or formal dining rooms, once in a blue moon. In these spaces, you may add an accessory or a seasonal decor item here or there. But otherwise once decorated, you can walk away satisfied that they will need little or no updating for some time. Not so, with family room decor. Since we spend most of our leisure time in this room, the furnishings are subjected to much more wear and tear and may need to be replaced more frequently. Also, because we occupy this room all the time, we have much more opportunity to view our family room decor with a critical eye.

If you regularly read this blog, you may know that I recently purchased custom slipcovers for my family room sofas.

Strong black accents in a family room with neutral linen slipcovered sofa and loveseat-- Why My Family Room Decor Is Always A Work In Progress
The new neutral linen slipcovers on my family room sofa and loveseat.

And, as so frequently happens, much to my husband’s dismay, this one change created a sort of decorating “Whack-A-Mole” situation. You know what I mean. You change one thing in your family room decor (or any room, really) and suddenly, several other elements in your interior design, which heretofore looked perfectly fine, now spring up like wily animatronic moles, screaming to be updated as well. Unfortunately, whacking down all these annoying and possibly unanticipated, “decorating varmints,” as soon as they rear their ugly heads, may not be in the budget.

Since I don’t fancy the idea of running around wielding a mallet, like a crazy-eyed Bill Murray in Caddyshack, I typically employ a couple of different strategies to deal with these pestilential pop-up decorating problems. The first thing I do is prioritize the things that need immediate attention. In the case of my family room, covering the soiled yellow upholstered sofas with neutral linen slipcovers made my yellow print wing chair, and ottoman stand out like a sore thumb. So, this chair became my first target.

Yellow floral print wing chair --Why My Family Room Decor Is Always A Work In Progress
Yellow print wing chair

I originally thought about replacing it and I had fallen in love with this gorgeous ebony finished spindle chair from Ethan Allen.

But alas, it was too rich for my blood. The fact of the matter is that the wing chair was actually in excellent condition. And I really couldn’t justify the purchase of a new chair. So instead, I decided to have it reupholstered. I searched around and eventually found this black diamond lattice fabric on sale at Ballard Designs which I really liked.

I took it to my upholsterer, who is somewhat of a wizard, and had the newly covered furniture back in my family room in less than a week — for a fraction of the cost of a new chair.

Wing chair upholstered in black diamond lattice fabric from Ballard Designs --Why My Family Room Decor Is Always A Work In Progress
Old wing chair and ottoman with new upholstery

While the new upholstery looked great with my sofas and draperies, the balance in the room still seemed off. So, the second strategy I use to deal with pop-up decorating problems is to shop my other rooms and storage closets for likely furniture and decor items. I love the black garden stool I was using as a small end table next to the chair. However, I felt that the new fabric called for a side table that could offer more display space.

Black garden stool used as a side table --Why My Family Room Decor Is Always A Work In Progress
Black ceramic garden stool

Because my guest room is kind of tight, I had no problem moving this small table with shelves from there to the family room. I snugged it up to the wing chair and loaded it up with accessories that add interest to this corner of the room.

Why My Family Room Decor Is Always A Work In Progress

Small three-shelf side table provides an opportunity to display accessories and add interest to this corner of the room --Why My Family Room Decor Is Always A Work In Progress
A small three-shelf side table pulled from the guest bedroom offers much more display space and interest than the tiny garden stool it replaced.

I also felt the fireplace wall needed some zhushing.

Why My Family Room Is Always A Work In Progress
Previous family room decor with yellow upholstered furniture and red transferware displayed on the bookcases.

I moved the garden stool to the hearth and added a pair of preserved cypress topiaries to the mantel to bring in some greenery. I also changed out the red transferware pieces on my bookcases with black transferware china I had in storage.

Black and white elements create a classic look for the mantel --Why My Family Room Decor Is Always A Work In Progress
The strong black and white elements on the mantel are softened with the greenery of a pair of preserved cypress. topiaries.
Traditional family room decor --Why My Family Room Decor Is Always A Work In Progress
The new look of my family room decor for the time being.

My last strategy for winning the game of decorating Whack-A-Mole is patience. There are still a number of things I would like to change about my family room decor, but I know that I will have to wait until time and circumstance allow me to make these updates. I would love to upgrade the fireplace and built-in bookcases. I want to add more pot lights, as it’s a bit dim in the evenings even though I have many lamps. And, I would like to replace my slightly wonky coffee table with something more substantial. These are the things that come to mind at the moment. I have no doubt that, if and when I am able to make any of these upgrades to my family room decor, additional devious design devils will pop up and need to be whacked down. But that’s okay. Design needs and tastes are always changing, and that is the fun of interior design or, if you will, the game of decorating Whack-A-Mole.

Why My Family Room Decor Is Always A Work In Progress Or Decorating Whack-A-Mole

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Metamorphosis Monday, Inspire Me Monday, The Scoop, Show & Tell, Reader Tip Tuesday, Party In Your PJs, Wow Us Wednesdays, Share Your Style, The Creative Circle, Feathered Nest Friday Home Matters, Sweet Inspiration, Best Of The Weekend, Share It One More Time, Sundays At Home, Inspiration Monday, Amaze Me Monday, Over The Moon

17 thoughts on “Why My Family Room Decor Is Always A Work In Progress Or: How To Play Decorating Whack-A-Mole

    1. Thank, Amy. I am pleased with the way it turned out. Originally, I had wanted a black Ikat design but I couldn’t convince J. to go with that but I think the diamond lattice fabric was a good compromise.

  1. Wow! Amazing what a difference a few small changes can make! It looks awesome, I would say you’ve won this round of whackamole

    1. Thanks, Debra. I agree that Ballard Designs is a great store. I have bought many things from their catalog over the years but now that we have their brick and mortar store in our local mall, I’m going to be in a lot of trouble!

  2. I had to laugh at”whack a mole” decorating. I call mine “If You Give A Mouse a Cookie” If you give a mouse a cookie, he’ll ask for a glass of milk… In my house it’s if you change the sofa, you’ll need to replace the rug…. lol! Glad to know that I’m not the only one with this problem! Your living room looks beautiful!

    1. Thanks so much for commenting, Tammy. I really appreciate it. My kids loved that book when they were little and it is definitely another fun metaphor for this decorating issue.

  3. Your home is GORGEOUS. But I am just like you in that I move my stuff around all of the time. In fact, my dining room and my living room literally flip at least once a year. I like to keep my family on their toes. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Kari, for your kind comment. I am totally impressed that you regularly flip your living and dining rooms. I don’t know if I have enough energy for that. It would be fun to see if my husband noticed, though

  4. Your whack a mole title totally brought me here but your Bill Murray reference got me hook line and sinker!
    Boy do I EVER know about this syndrome, although I’d never had it diagnosed before with such accurate descriptions.
    The new fabric on the chair and the exchanged table turned out fabulous! I always shop my house and our rental (rental = storage) houses for decor items I’d forgotten about. I love your update on the mantel also.
    🙂 gwingal

    1. I am so glad you liked my whack-a-mole decorating post and better yet, got my Bill Murray reference. It’s great to meet a kindred spirit. Thanks for your awesome comment!

  5. Larr,
    I am back to tell you that your Whack a Mole family room update is one of my features on the OVER THE MOON LINK PARTY which goes live tomorrow, Sunday, at 5 pm eastern. Please stop by and link up again.
    🙂 gwingal

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