Make My Family Room Great!

It’s been a very busy summer over here at Emilia Decor and I’m excited to share with you the projects that I’ve been working on this summer.  I want to start by updating you on my D.C. design project that I was able to visit in June!

My best friends from childhood, Lara and Adam, moved to DC a few years ago and just bought a house in Hyatsville, MD.  They enlisted my help to design their family room.  I, of course live in Portland, but with modern technology and lots of Facetime we were able to pull this off.  Once all of the big design decisions were made, I gave Lara and Adam and shopping list and a To Do list.  They went on their merry way to implement the plan themselves.  It was so much fun to visit them and see their handy work!


First, let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we?  You can get more of the before details here.

Here’s what it looked like before.

It’s a pretty decent sized room with lots of natural light.  Their main pain point was that they needed the room to serve a few different purposes: A) an office so they have room on their “work from home” days B) a play room for their 2-year old C) a binge watch Netflix room.

There is something really exciting to me about designing rooms that need multiple purposes.  It’s my personal belief that with the more constraints we have, the more creative we become because we are not bogged down by decision fatigue.  We narrow in our focus and the decision making is sharper and easier.  It’s kinda like being paleo on a budget in an all you can eat buffet.  You’re just gonna whip through that line!

We ended with this final mood board.

Lara and Adam’s style is very minimalist and they are the least cluttered people I know.  (Seriously, on any given day, open up their “junk” drawer.  You will find a pair of scissors, a paper clip and two rubber bands.  I’m not joking! I should have taken a picture of it. It blew my mind!) Because this space needed to serve multiple purposes, we wanted to take extra care that it was free from any visual chaos or unnecessary objects and decor.

While they are very attracted to the clean lines of the mid-century modern style, they still wanted their room to have a few punches of personality; a nod to their Pacific NW roots and their years of working in Central and South America. We decided to go bold with the wall color to give it a moody Oregon look.  We kept the sofa and media cabinet neutral and added a few touches of textiles to remind them of their globe trotting youth.

I feel somewhat embarrassed to admit that the watercolor art in this room is from Target.  There are so many talented artists out there, and it pains me when I’m not shopping from them.  In this case, it came down to numbers and cents and we chose to splurge on the sectional, leaving a small amount of money for art.  If we had more money in the budget, I would have chosen these pieces from Elizabeth Sanchez on Minted.










Their sectional is from West Elm and they were able to get it on super sale for around $1500.  For their desks, we decided on the ever famous Ikea hack that includes nothing but two to three file cabinets and some butcher block.  We cozied up the space with a nice swivel chair and some greenery.

Remember when I said that these people are minimalist? I kid you not, we have more toy clutter in our house than this family.  I don’t even have kids!  We used the closet in this room as toy storage.  It can stay open while Rubencito waddles back and forth from his train set to his train accessories in the closet.  When it’s time to clean up…all that’s really needed is to shut the closet door.


Instead of buying a traditional media cabinet or credenza, we used an Ikea locker, painted it and adhered the extra butcher block from the desks to the top of the cabinet.  It makes the perfect media cabinet if you’re on a budget. I’m actually thinking about buying one for our home to use a bar cabinet.

Since the room has been completed, Lara and Adam say that they want to be in this space more than any other space in their house. It feels intentional, put-together and sooo “them”.  After a long day of work and traffic they said that having one space in their home that truly let’s them relax was well worth the investment of their time and money.

What do you think of the space?

Before I sign off, I have to share this photo of a pre-pubescent Lara and Emmy after cross country practice. This photo just gets me every time.  Nerd alert!


Happy Decorating,