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  • Writer's pictureEstie

A Cozy Family Room Makeover

When we were first building our home, we knew the family room would be where we spend a lot of our time. We had the kitchen configured to an open plan with a spacious breakfast nook right off of the family room, having in mind that we'd be able to keep an eye on the kids from the kitchen. And three years later, this space has really lived up to its potential. Playroom by day, this is where the kids hang out in the morning before school, and in the afternoons when they come home; and chill space by night, where we have popcorn movie nights and catch up on shows after bedtime.

As an interior designer, I love the idea of creating a backdrop that suits my clients' needs and sourcing every last detail on a deadline to create that grand reveal. But when it comes to designing for myself, taking time to live with the home often makes things better. We are constantly evolving, and as we change so do our needs and tastes. While the rest of our home is primarily light and airy, I was craving a cocoon-like space where we could snuggle cozily. The more I thought about it, the more I warmed up to the idea of a rich brown grasscloth wall covering to swathe the walls in. Although the room is small, it is not enclosed on all sides and has 10 foot ceilings which keeps it feeling spacious. And so, the layering began...

Grasscloth Wallcovering

The grasscloth wall covering was gifted by Annie Selke, a go-to source for me for home decor and finishes. Their timeless styles are so well made and truly feel luxurious. I couldn't be happier with how it turned out! We do have textured walls but decided not to skim them as the material was sturdy enough to be plastered on securely and not show any texture underneath. You can read more about grasscloth and the pros and cons of it in this post.

Harlequin Rug

Checkerboard patterns are definitely trending in in fashion as well as interiors (see full post here), but also have a long-standing history so I was very excited to update the space with this gifted Annie Selke Harwich rug designed in collaboration with Mark D. Sikes. I love how it elevates the space without overpowering it, and gives just enough graphic edge. We did originally plan to install a coffee table or ottoman here but decided against it as it would take up much of the kids' floor play real estate. Another instance where taking time gave us better insight in how we use the space!

Window Treatments

Previously, we had installed bamboo roman shades on the three windows in this room, but now felt they clashed with the similarly textured grasscloth. Instead, we opted for linen curtains, gifted from Annie Selke, in a natural color and light-filtering weight. It's really incredible what a change window treatments add in creating a warm and inviting space!


If you scroll back far enough on Instagram, you may remember the first rendition of this space featured a blue velvet sectional. While I loved the tailored shape and gorgeous turned wood legs, we were craving something more spacious where everyone could get really comfy. We swapped to the IKEA Farlov, which is super comfortable and looks comparable to sectionals of much higher price points. I especially love the bench seats and slope arms. To elevate it, we added custom slipcovers in a white linen from Comfort Works, an Australian brand that specializes in slipcovers for IKEA (and other retailers) furniture. The process couldn't have been simpler, within a few weeks of ordering and adding customization like the pleat style and French seam, the covers arrived and were ready to swap.


To protect the sofa, I sourced a pair of hand-block printed Indian quilts. I just spread one on each side of the sectional under the back cushions, and then tucked under the bench seats. They've been staying in place really well so far, and I love how the floral pattern adds contrast the linear textures of the other elements in the space. They really dress up the room!

As a finishing touch, I added a few new cushions and a throw gifted from Annie Selke. One tip with creating a space that's not too stuffy is to add pillows of various sizes and shapes but that have some unifying characteristic, like a color family. And always use a natural down insert, the feel is unmatched!

So what's left? I still want to swap the ceiling fan for a beautiful light fixture; I'm keeping my eye out for a semi-flush mount that won't block the view of the television and will add a focal point here. Funny story -- while our builder really pressured us to install more fans throughout given Houston's humid climate, we didn't really want to but Mendel, who was 4 at the time, was obsessed with fans so we thought he'd love controlling it with the remote. We haven't really used it so I'm sure it won't be missed however.

I also want to add some art, a sconce, and an indoor tree to round out the space give it some dynamic energy. Keep your eyes on the lookout for those additions in the near future!




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