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How to furnish and decorate for a big family

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

Functional family furnishings

When decorating, you want your living space to not only look good but be functional, particularly if you have a large family. Follow these tips to furnish and decorate for a big family:

Large familyStep 1: Draw a floor plan

Before you get started shopping for furniture or decor, draw a floor plan to evaluate your current space. You can use a simple piece of graph paper, or many online sites such as floorplanner.com, allow you to create floor plans online.

Step 2: Inventory the furniture you have

Whether you have just moved to a new home, or are redecorating a room, take inventory of the furniture that you have. Decide which pieces you would like to keep and which ones need to go. Hold a garage sale, or put an ad on Craigslist to get rid of any furniture that you aren't keeping. You'll make a few bucks to put toward your new furniture and decor.

Step 3: Decide on a style

For a large family with several young children, delicate furniture and expensive decor doesn't make sense. Instead, fill your room with stylish pieces that are both comfortable and durable.

Read on to find out about defining your decorating style >>

Step 4: Pick your paint

Are you going to repaint the whole room or just add paint to an accent wall? If the entire room, choose a neutral color (but not necessarily white). For an accent wall, you can select a bold color that really pops. Consider painting your ceiling a lighter shade than your walls—it makes the room appear larger.

Check out these painting tips for your home >>

Step 5: Divide the room

If you are decorating a large family room, divide it into functional spaces. For a large family, there should be an area to relax and watch TV, as well as a sectioned off space for reading or homework and another space for toys and play. You can divide the room with screens or build a half wall to break the room up.

Step 6: Purchase the big furniture first

In your living space, your couch should be the investment piece. Be willing to pay a little more for a high quality sectional that will fit your entire family and last for years to come. If you are working on a budget, shop garage sales, eBay, and Craigslist to find used furniture with "good bones" that you can reupholster to match your decor.

Step 7: Buy multipurpose furniture

For a big family, you need lots of seating and storage space. Look for multipurpose furniture that does both. An ottoman or cushioned chest that opens up for storage, yet is comfortable to sit on, is a wise investment. Entertainment centers that have a flip down desk or slide out laptop tray are perfect for working at home. Don't waste money on something that just looks nice; every piece should have a function or two.

Step 7: Bargain shop for accessories

Once you have your main pieces of furniture in the room, you can shop for vases, lamps, wall art, and other accessories. Don't pay full price. Start at thrift shops and consignment stores where you can find high quality merchandise at low prices. Also, bargain shop at neighborhood garage sales and estate sales. Keep in mind that Craigslist.org and Freecycle.org often have home accessories that are very low cost or completely free!

More decorating tips

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