design plan for the family room

by | Jun 9, 2021 | All Things Home, Decorating, Family Room, My House, Room Makeovers | 35 comments

As I’ve been thinking about the basement family room, I’ve had this image sitting on my desk.  It was on the cover of a Serena & Lily catalog I received in the mail and it immediately became my loose inspiration for the family room, which already had blue and brown elements.  This was important because I want to work with the big pieces that are staying in the room – the built-in cabinets around the TV, the gray corduroy sectional sofa, and the cream, blue, and brown wool rug.  This room hit all of those notes and provided a good visual for me to use just as a jumping-off point.

serena & lily inspiration photo | miss mustard seed

After playing with fabric and brushing out some paint samples, here is what I put together for the design of the room…

basement family room design | miss mustard seed

As you can see, it’s lots of neutrals, a soft blue/green/gray, and punches of indigo.  I want to use lots of textures and patterns to give it an eclectic feel.

First, I had to pick out the wall color.  I tried four Farrow & Ball samples ordered from Dreamy Whites Lifestyle.

farrow and ball paint samples | dreamy whites lifestyle | miss mustard seed

Top to bottom: Blue Gray, Pigeon, Stone Blue, and Oval Room Blue.

Almost immediately, I knew which one I liked the best…

basement family room design | paint samples | miss mustard seed

If you guessed Oval Room Blue (on the bottom), you are right!

oval room blue | farrow and ball | dreamy whites | miss mustard seed

The green undertones of Oval Room Blue work well with the red-ish brown cabinetry (since red and green are complementary colors.)  This pairing seemed more cohesive and intentional than the others.

basement family room design | paint samples | miss mustard seed

For the fabrics, I decided to go with lightweight cotton indigo for the curtains.  Indigo blue is a nice pairing with Oval Room Blue without being too matchy-matchy.  I purchase fabric for $10/yard from THIS SELLER on Etsy.  I might not have bought it sight-unseen except my friend Amy used a similar fabric from the same shop as curtains in her home and they look amazing.

This is a picture of the curtains in her room.  Man, she always blows me away with how she pairs things.  (As a side note, Amy is a dealer and designer at the Lucketts Store, so we used to work together.  She also used to buy furniture from me when I first started out and I still consider it one of my “big breaks!”)

@amycwhyte on Instagram | miss mustard seed

This is the fabric I purchased, but I bought all 20 available yards of it!

basement family room design | indigo curtain fabric | miss mustard seed

I am going to make functional curtains for the sliding door, so we can get rid of the vertical blinds, and dummy panels to flank the large window.  That window is covered with plantation shutters, so we don’t need the curtains to be functional.

basement family room design | indigo curtain fabric | miss mustard seed

To put together a design board, I took pictures of the rug, sofa fabric, and cabinetry on my phone and then printed them.  The colors in the printed pictures are a bit more muted than they are in real life, but it still gives me an idea of how things will work together.

basement family room design board | miss mustard seed

In the photo above, the paint sample looks very green, but when I peer over my desk at the grouping, currently spread out on the floor, it looks blue.  So…I’m not sure what that’s about!

I’m waiting to purchase any additional fabrics, specifically a brown check.  I want to see how the paint and indigo curtains look together in person before I make other purchases.

basement family room design board | miss mustard seed

On my to-do list for the family room so far is…

  • install chair rail
  • paint the walls
  • paint the trim, doors, wet bar cabinetry, fireplace surround, and banister
  • sew curtains
  • sew covers for a couple of square poufs
  • refinish an empire dresser
  • make slipcovers for two wing chairs we’re moving into the family room from the playroom
  • buy a table to fit behind the sofa to create an area for puzzles, games, etc.
  • paint a piece for over the dresser or fireplace (maybe)
  • sew pillows
  • hang art
  • change out the cabinet hardware

On top of that, we need to do lots of cleaning out and organizing so we can turn the playroom into an exercise room.  It can still be a place to play, but we’re going to thin out the toys and move the weights, weight bench, and treadmill into that room.  The boys will be in 8th and 9th grades this coming school year, so the days of setting up battles in the basement are winding down.  We’ve already started working on it together, doing a little bit each day, and we’re making good progress.

We also built and installed an 8′ x 8′ climbing wall in the family room last summer that we’ll be taking down.  It was one of those ideas that came out of quarantine and the boys’ climbing gym being closed for a few months.  Now that the gym is open again, they don’t ever use it.  In hindsight, I don’t know if it was a great idea, but we had good intentions when we built it!  So, we’ll remove that before we paint, too.

This basement makeover has been on my list for a while, but there have always been projects that are a higher priority.  The basement is our hangout place.  It’s where the boys have sleepovers and where we have movie nights.  I want to make sure we retain that casual, comfortable feeling while making it look more like ours.


  1. amy Mogish

    In love with your color palette. Beautiful.

    • Mia

      Gorgeously beautiful. You’re one talented lady! 🙂

  2. Grace

    Beautiful vision, Marian! Would you be able to share a source for the rug you are considering? Those are my colors too. Thanks!

    • Marian Parsons

      That’s actually the rug I already own. I bought it years ago from HomeGoods, but I’ll check for a tag and see if I can find it online anywhere.

      • Susan

        I can’t wait to see what you do with all of those great colors and ideas! I’m also interested in whatever info you may have on the rug, please.

        • Arlene

          This is going to be so fun to follow….love your vision, as always!

  3. Ange

    Love all this and can’t wait to see it!

  4. Cheryl

    Your colors , textiles are so you and always on point. You always gather great inspiration and run with it.

  5. JC

    This will be such a cozy space.
    Love all the colors and patterns that work so well together. Looking forward to seeing it come together!

  6. Kristine

    So looking forward to watch this come together !!

  7. Linda Ebright

    What a gorgeous plan. Hoping you can share link for the rug you had patched in? At least, I think the upper left corner was a rug swatch?!

  8. Kathleen

    You are an amazing color coordinator and decorator!! Can’t wait to see the newly decorated room!!

  9. MaryLisa

    Great vision board. The colors will really suit the room. I love how you set up your projects and get them done..

  10. Betty Bashaw

    Love our inspiration board. I’ve actually never used one, and I can see the reason for doing so. Thank you! And I love your look!

  11. Susan McCall

    i love the samples you have picked out!

  12. sandi m

    Love everything! Yes to the brown checks..a nice tie in to checks on the other floors.

    You are so good with analyzing and visualizing design options….and sharing with us. Thank you.

  13. Lynda

    Love all your choices Marian. I can’t wait to see it all put together. 🙂

  14. Carlotta

    I’m sure you’ll enjoy your room when it’s completed. I’m like everyone else-loving your color & pattern choices! Would you mind telling us what brand your brown, large check(brown,cream/heathery brown) fabric is? Thanks!
    P.S.-You always bite off big chunks of projects & it’s neat to see how you pull everything off. 😊

    • Marian Parsons

      That is Check Please in Java by P Kaufmann

  15. Cheryl

    This made me smile. Every time I see an email from Serena & Lily, which by the way is everyday..I think of you. Their colors so remind me of your home! I think your downstairs will be beautiful and can’t wait to see it when it’s finished.

    • Marian Parsons

      Oh, man, I know! I’ve never bought anything from them, but I love their catalogs!

  16. Connie M.

    I selfishly hope you’ll consider making a how-to video for covering the poufs. I need to do the same thing soon.

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, I will! I’ll just be making covers for two cheap foam poufs I got from Target a few years ago.

  17. Lisa P

    Love this combination of colours and textures! I think it will be easy to live with and give you pleasure for a long long time.
    Looking forward to seeing it develop.

  18. Marilyn Barbeck

    Marian, I too love the British series “Escape To The Country”. Another series I think you would enjoy is, “Escape To The Chateau”. A British couple buy a French chateau and restore, repair and decorate it. They are talented, quirky and thoroughly charming.

  19. MaryS

    Marian, No one puts together that many colors and prints and paint and have it
    all look fabulous. I sure wish I had your vision and your creativity. It’s gonna be
    PERFECT!! Can’t wait to see the final version.

  20. Jenn Anderson

    Will be fun to follow along and watch your vision become real. Love your style and design!

  21. Anita

    Ha! Ha!, Marian— When you wrote about the color Oval Room Blue, you mentioned that it has green undertones—mystery solved. 🙂

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, I definitely lean towards green/blues over purple/blues!

  22. Babs

    The room will be so comfortable and a great place to be together. We live in our basement during the summer as it is much cooler than the upstairs and I would love to have it look like yours! Unfortunately, it looks nothing like yours. This may give me a push to work on my basement. Thanks for the nudge in the right direction.

    • Marian Parsons

      Yeah, we were fortunate that the people who lived in the home before us did a great job finishing the basement. It really is a wonderful space.

  23. Cindy D

    Hi Marian. I hope you do a tutorial on how you made the curtains for the sliding doors. My son has twin french doors in his mudroom, one on each side of that room. Right now there is ugly cheap curtains with the large built in circles that do nothing for it. I’ve been trying to come up with ideas on how to make curtains for them. Since they open and not slide, it defeats the purpose for a full length curtain above it, they’re always open. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. 🙂

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, I will!

  24. Karen B.

    I love the fabric and the paint color. I’m always inspired by your selections and started slowly changing my neutral color palette to a blue and brown and cream design directive about a year ago. I’m so happy that I did. I’ve always loved blue and cream.

  25. B Folk

    Oh, my goodness, those are the same colors & ideas (textures and pattern-mixing with flowers and checks) that I have been planning for my living room! My husband hates painted wood, so I have the same red-undertoned woods to work with, also beige carpet that we can’t afford to replace yet (but- it will.come.out!) I haven’t been able to find the fabric that I want in my (cheap) price range. Think I will look at your friend, Amy’s, offerings. The only big difference with my plan is that I will keep the wall some shade of white…our living room needs some lightness for those gloomy “Great Northwet” days!
    It will be fun to see how your room comes together. You have the best ideas!


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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