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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I also felt the fireplace wall needed some zhushing.
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.
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.
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