Designing a Great Room


Our tips for overcoming common decorating dilemmas 

Photo by Rebekah Westover

We often get asked the same questions when it comes to common gathering spaces like family rooms, entertainment rooms and great rooms. From where to put the television to deciding on seating arrangements for families or decorating around a tricky fireplace, here are solutions for every dilemma. Read on for tips you can incorporate to take your room from good to great!

Television Placement

Television placement has changed over the past few years. We used to hide them away, but there’s no getting away from the fact that they are often the focal point in a family room.  

Keep it in Plain Sight

In a room with a fireplace, place the TV over the fireplace or in an open cabinet to the side. A wall-mounted TV over a low console works great in rooms with no fireplace. 

Photo by Rebekah Westover

Create balance 

If the TV is off to the side, balance the other side with large scale accessories.

Photo by Rebekah Westover

Make it Artful

When it comes to TV size, never go larger than you would a piece of art in the same spot. We love framed televisions that look like art when they are not being used. 

Photo by Rebekah Westover

Maximizing Seating 

Create the best scenario for free-flowing conversation by arranging seating to accommodate a wide range of scenarios. From intimate discussions to a group conversation, envision how you want to enable people to interact.

Seating All Around 

Swivel chairs, small stools or low benches are a great way to utilize space in front of a TV or fireplace.

Image by Rebekah Westover

Keep it Flexible 

Consider using nearby ottomans or dining chairs for extra seating that can be pulled into the conversation when there is a big group. These pieces don’t necessarily have to be a permanent part of the arrangement. Avoid coffee tables that are too big as they restrict the flow of the room and eliminate space that could be used for occasional seating pieces. 

Photo by Rebekah Westover

Foster Conversation 

Group seating into conversation areas. People feel most comfortable when someone can be seated across from them or diagonally rather than right next to them. If your room is on the large side, consider splitting the area into two conversation areas.

Photo by Rebekah Westover

Furniture Selection

Sectionals are typically a go-to for a gathering room but there are several things to keep in mind when selecting furniture. 


Sectionals are great for kids piling on and watching a movie since they don’t mind sitting close to each other. They are also great for balancing out a tricky spot like a corner fireplace but can block traffic in and out of the seating arrangement from one side. A note on fireplaces: If you have the option between a corner fireplace and a fireplace on the wall, choose the wall as corner fireplaces can be hard to design around.

Photo by Rebekah Westover

Separate Pieces 

Separate sofas and chairs are a good option for a room that will be used more for adult conversation. They also allow more rearranging options for temporary get-togethers or for future flexibility.

Photo by Rebekah Westover

Flooring Selection

We love the durability and look of hard flooring layered with a rug or bound carpet. Rugs add warmth, texture, color, interest and they define the space. They can even be layered over carpet. Large rugs can be expensive and don’t always come large enough for a large gathering room so you might consider having a large piece of carpet bound and layer in other smaller rugs to create interest. For more help, see our guide for picking the perfect rug.

Photo by Rebekah Westover


Can lights are great for general light but it’s nice to create ambiance and flattering angles with multiple light sources. Dimmers are an easy way to change the mood in a room in addition to lamps, chandeliers and wall sconces. Try to vary your light sources as much as possible for a relaxing atmosphere.

Photo by Rebekah Westover

Photo by Rebekah Westover

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