Freshened Family Room

August 4, 2010

Picasso went through his monochromatic blue period ~ clearly, I am going through my own blue phase.  I went through my first blue period when I was first married over ten years ago, but it was more of a cobalt blue fixation back then.  Then I rejected blue altogether and banished it from my house.   Blue was forbidden for years!  But being a fickle and forgetful gal, I’ve returned to yet another blue and white phase, this time I’m drawn to soft gray blues, robin’s egg blue, soft turquoise, and intense hues like peacock blue.   

My home office?  My living room?  My master bathroom?  Yep, they’re mostly blue.  I make no apologies, I happen to find the shade is extremely calming, and complements just about everything.  Think about it.  Soft blue works with chocolate brown, red, pink, orange, gray, green, white, everything !  So I prefer it over other colors, as long as it has plenty of gray in it. 

Now I’ve gone and saturated the family room with blue too, but more by force than by choice.  Allow me to explain.   


   cg sofas


Here’s our family room two years ago:

family room before

Let’s just pause for a moment and soak in its ordinariness. 


Now let’s look at it today:

cg family room after switch

Much improved.  Now, we’re getting somewhere, whew. 

The dark olive green couches we’ve had for a decade, but the fabric is waaaaay too dark and drab for me, hence the reason I’ve never photographed our family room.  To reupholster the green monsters in my fabric of choice will cost me muy moola  so that’s on the back burner.  But then I had a middle-of-the-night genius! idea to switch them with the slate blue PB slipcovered sofas from the guest space.  Now why didn’t I think of that months ago???   The room was instantly lightened by making the switch. 

The family room lacks its own window, so we moved the family photos to another room, then added mirrors above the sofa instead.  The power of mirrors to pull light into a room never ceases to amaze me.  This trio mimics the divided white panes in our kitchen’s garden window which is directly across, and also lightens and enlarges the space. 

kitchen window fr mirrors

I had a pair of these Grand Palais mirrors from Ballard sitting in my garage for over a year ~ they were ordered for the living room last year but ended up being too big to fit above the living room mantel, so I ordered a third, then spray painted them with Rustoleum’s ‘Heirloom White’, a favorite shade.  

cg family room in blue


Since the kitchen is all white, and the adjacent dining room is very neutral, I felt the dark family room was in need of a splash of color, so I started with this $5 dollar brass lamp from the Goodwill.  It got a dose of Rustoleum’s glossy ‘Night Tide’ spray paint leftover from my laundry room makeover, which is a gorgeous  shade of deep teal or peacock blue.  So did the satin ribbon that trims the drum shade ~ oh yes you can spray paint fabric ribbon !

brass lamp before and after

Just a little hot glue to trim the linen shade with the ribbon did the trick.

 hot glue ribbon


So I admit these colors all all very summery ~ if I had my act together, this all would have been better timed and I would have made these changes back in May, but I’m so easily distracted. 

The peacock blue velvet throw pillows and white tray are from Pier One. 

 cg glass bottles on tray


Although these are summery colors, they still make sense for August.  I’ll tweak the room for cooler weather in October.  As I mentioned here, deep blue and dark orange can look incredible together, so for fall I’ll mix it up with a pumpkin throw and other earthy tones, and I’ll bring out the fall candles.

I’m desperate for a new rug for this room, currently loving these, the first from Overstocks, the second from Dash & Albert. fr rugs

Maybe Santa will be generous this year.  

So there’s the new ‘summer’ look for our family room . . .

cg sofas

. . . just in time for all the fall decor in all the catalogs.  


Spruced up any of your spaces lately?



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123 Responses to “Freshened Family Room”

  1. Love, love, love it.

  2. Sherry Hart says:

    Seriously, I thought you had added windows to that wall until I scrolled down and read that they were mirrors. That made the BIGGEST difference in the room! And spray painting fabric…who knew?
    What a transformation.

  3. eileen says:

    What a gorgeous room! There’s not a thing about it that I don’t LOVE!

    We recently spruced up our mudroom, boy did it need it!

  4. Navy Bean says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! It’s amazing how switching the couches changed the entire feel!

  5. Lauren Liess says:

    so beautiful!! i love all the blue and your little bottles with fern are so perfect!!! GORGEOUS!!

  6. Marissa says:

    wow I love it. And I love love love that you explained everything. It makes it feel so doable!

  7. 28 says:

    Sigh … I love it.

  8. Heather says:

    I am so envious! I love everything about the room. It all comes together nicely and I can’t believe how much the mirrors added to the light in the space. It is so bright and cheerful! Great update!

  9. Jenny says:

    Thanks for the tip on spray painting ribbon! I found your blog through a search for Rustoleum’s Night Tide, because I wanted to see what it looked like before we painted three pieces of furniture. A little coordinating ribbon on the lampshades may help tie it all together! Good stuff!

  10. Talysa says:

    would you mind sharing the wall color from this room? And your room you just mentioned in your newest “fall” post? Love them both! Gorgeous. Love how neutral this color is especially.

    Thanks so much.

  11. Jennie says:

    I love this room and would also like to know the wall color. THX!

  12. […] up a wall where art would normally be.   Check out Kate’s entire transformation of her family room (above) – the mirrors and the lamp makeover really add bling to the […]

  13. Fiona Gough says:

    Love your style, and love your vision – that lamp looked wonderful once it was sprayed. Hoping to move into a new home in the next year and can’t wait to take some of your ideas and use them on my growing pile of finds!

  14. Agnes says:

    What a dramatic transformation! I was wondering how big your living room and how does it work out have 2 couches perpendicular? I have a 1 1/2 seat wingback chair perpendicular to my couch and would love to replace it with another couch to increase seating, but not sure if my living room would be too crowded? Any advice? Thanks.

  15. […] our family room got a little sprucing too.  Can you tell I’m a fan of […]

  16. Hope says:

    Could you give me a link to the style/color of those Pottery Barn sofas (looked, but could not find them)? They are beautiful and would work perfectly in my living room – I never thought of blue before!

    I just recently found your blog and am in LOVE!!! I have been stuck with with what to do with my house for SO long now (have not done much to it since we moved in 15 years ago)) and have not been able to figure out which direction to move towards stylewise, but looking at your blog has made me see that I can update it and still have it be traditional in style. Look forward to being a fan for many years to come!!!

  17. stacey grimes says:

    What color is your family room? think I’m goung “blue!”

  18. Beth P says:

    WOAH! just found your blog and love it! Did you make the window mirrors on the wall yourself? please tell me how to make those! We just finished our basement and have put a guest bedroom down there but it has no windows so those mirrors would be perfect!

  19. Serretta Barlow says:

    I always look at this post, it’s so inspiring for me! I just LURVE it!!!!

  20. Paula says:

    Oh, I love it! Now I want to do my living room all over. It is just so serene, soft, and beautiful.

  21. Esther says:

    What is the beautiful color on the walls in this family room?? Is it the same as the light bluey color you have in the living room/piano room?? please share!

  22. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Esther, that is Ben Moore’s ‘Camouflage’ – all the paint colors in my home are listed here!

  23. Ruth says:

    Where did you get your couches if you remember?? I know you had them already and you used slip covers whichso love!!

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