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Home design for a gathering place meets both kids' and adults' needs

August 06, 2013

Hardwood FloorsWhether they are called great rooms, dens or family rooms, the place where every member of the household is likely to gather takes special planning to meet everybody's needs. At the top of the list should be furnishings that are kid-friendly and durable but attractive features like the maple hardwood flooring in Anderson's Sugar House collection.

Multi-task lighting
If the gathering place is next to a sunny kitchen or in a finished basement with small windows, the lighting needs are going to be substantially different. A room that has lots of natural light streaming in may be great during the day, but requires window treatments that will provide privacy after dark. Even in basements, window shades are needed to control glare on large-screen TVs and computers.

A mix of task lamps and overhead lighting is needed to take care of the varied needs of a room that's an activity center, used for entertaining and a place for adults to relax once the kids are tucked in for the night.

Pulled-together look
In any part of the house, family rooms satisfy their multi-functional theme best by creating a unified atmosphere while balancing a host of functions.

According to the Boston Globe magazine, several furniture pieces in the same style can be spread throughout the room. Area rugs over portions of the hardwood floors can be the same color but in varied patterns to provide a pulled-together look.

"Unify the space with color, pattern, and texture," Boston interior designer Eric Roseff told the newspaper. "Perhaps there are one or two accent colors that are consistent throughout the space, or you can go for an all-over monochromatic look or playfully mix patterns."

Flexible arrangement
For homeowners who entertain a lot, a multi-purpose room is an ideal space where guests can circulate and socialize with different groups. The room design may include different clusters of seating to allow one-on-one conversations as well as space for a larger group. If space allows, a variety of seating may include sofas, a small table with dining chairs and niche settings with soft seating and end tables.

In a large room, home decorators shouldn't skimp on the scale of their furniture pieces. Leaving large gaps in a basement family room that stretches across a long expanse of the home will make the room seem cavernous and uninviting, while big furnishings will command attention and create an unexpected coziness for a space so large.