When designing a true family room for my clients, there are many things I take into consideration. Not only does the space have to be a place to relax, but it usually functions as the playroom, home office, media room and sometimes dining room. This is a true statement for me as I'm on my couch with a dog curled up by my legs, listening to the television and writing this on a Sunday afternoon. That is the true definition of multi-functional! Family rooms are filled with fabrics and those fabrics need to be durable, but also pretty. A room filled with brown leather furniture isn't the best choice, in my opinion. A durable fabric, with some color variation and a stain resistant finish is a better choice than leather. Plus, you will never wake up from a nap sticking to fabric! I don't mind a leather piece here or there, but mix it up a little and don't be afraid to add some fabric, even with young children and pets.
One of the biggest trends out there is the industrial and vintage look. What a blessing this is for today's family rooms. The furniture is already made with a worn or distressed finish, which means less worry if a toy truck is rolled across the top of the coffee table or that wine glass didn't get a coaster. Furniture pieces that serve double duty are also great for family rooms. Coffee tables with baskets underneath or ottomans with a removable top provides clever places to hide toys.
A challenge most designers face when designing a family room is where to put the television. Mounting them over the fireplace has become very common, but it isn't my favorite location. It's usually too high for comfortable viewing and it's a large, black rectangle most of the time. If you have the space, try placing your television on a media console. Those are almost always made at the correct viewing height and gives you more storage (for toys, electronics or the like).
When designing your family room, think about function first and make your choices based on how you plan on using the space. Try to find pieces that are multi-functional, especially when you are short on space. Personalize the room with fun fabrics and art. Finally, take the time to really use your family room to create memories for years to come!