Upgrade Your Family Play Space

Feng shui and interior design expert Jami offers help on improving a family's living room.

| January/February 2011

  • Sara Grochowski wants her living room to be a cozy, warm space—but without the overcrowding issues she struggles with.
    Photo By Sara Grochowski
  • With faux-textured walls, framed heirloom fabric and multifunctional furniture, this proposed family room is warm, welcoming and versatile.
    Illustratin By Nate Skow

Q: Our living room spans the entire south side of our Dutch Colonial house. We spend most of our time in this area, playing with our son, watching television, reading and hanging out. We want a cozy, warm space, but we have struggled with overcrowding. Please help!  
Sara Grochowski, Minneapolis 

Sara’s living room is a design challenge because of its long, narrow shape. According to feng shui, this space, along with the entry, represents the important “room of first impression” and provides the only egress to all other rooms. This makes creating a multifunctional hang-out space tricky.

Unified Space, Unified Family 

Sara could create a “welcome home” transition between outside and inside with a small foyer that includes a narrow-depth console table to the left of the door. Sara might want to relocate the coat hooks from behind the door so the door opens completely (in feng shui, this signifies that the family is fully open to opportunities) and leave a 36-inch walkway to all other spaces.



Right now, the long room is split into a “living room” area and a “play room.” By replacing the sofa with a large sectional, Sara could create a focal point to tie the two spaces together. Instead of splitting the space, the sectional unifies the room and creates additional, multifunctional seating.

Open Space, Open Communications 



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