The holidays are here and families and friends will be gathering to enjoy each other’s company. It is my interior design wish that every home has a well-designed, functional space where the family can gather, entertain, or just relax. Whether you call it a family room, a living room, a hearth room, or a great room make it comfortable and functional.

Every home is different. Some have both a formal living room and a more casual family room. Newer homes are trending toward a great room, where the living room and kitchen are blended together into one open space. Another trend is to add a hearth room with a fireplace adjacent to the kitchen to provide a casual space where family members can read, watch television, or entertain. Regardless of which type of space your home has, it needs to meet your family’s specific needs.

My professional advice is to splurge on your seating! Seating is a long-term investment so quality, comfort and style should be your priorities. There are many ways you can arrange the furniture, but you should always focus on and consider what would work best for your family.

If you are looking to snuggle up with the family, I would recommend a sectional. A sectional is an L-shaped couch that offers a variety of seating positions. Since sectionals tend to be modular, a variety of sizes are available to fit any size room. Checkout this room by visiting our portfolio.

For a more formal sitting layout, consider a combination of individual chairs. This allows each person to have their own space. The benefit of this is the versatility of being able to rearrange the room for any type of gathering. We found these great layout examples on Houzz!

My preference is a combination of the two. I like to mix and match a great sofa, with comfortable chairs along with a couple of smaller more formal side chairs. Check out the before pictures on this Design Connection, Inc. project.We took and empty room and transformed it into this.

The coffee table has evolved. We are seeing a lot of ottomans being used in place of the coffee table. A great large ottoman can serve as additional seating. We also found these great ottomans on Houzz!

Design Tip: I prefer to go neutral and streamlined with my seating to keep it timeless. I add color and trend with throw pillows and accessories around your room.

If your living room, family room, or great room is ready for a facelift, give Arlene a call at 913-210-0511 or e-mail her at