Great rooms can be designed for different uses but with a unified look

Dec 6 2010

Great rooms often are located adjacent to a kitchen, the hub of the household.
Great rooms often are located adjacent to a kitchen, the hub of the household.
Great rooms generally reflect the families who use them. Most often, great rooms are located adjacent to the kitchen, the hub of the household, either in the initial design of the home or through a house renovation project.

Among the guiding principles used by designers to develop a multi-functional theme for this space is to create a unified atmosphere while balancing all the functions. Homeowners frequently view their great room as an activity center as well as a place to relax.

According to the Boston Globe magazine, several furniture pieces in the same style can be spread throughout the room, while rugs in different areas can be the same color but varied patterns in order to provide a pulled-together look across the expanse of a great room.

"Unify the space with color, pattern, and texture," Boston interior designer Eric Roseff told the Globe. "Perhaps there are one or two accent colors that are consistent throughout the space, or you can go for an all-over monochromatic look or playfully mix patterns."

For families that entertain a lot, a great room is an ideal space where guests can circulate and socialize with different groups. Such rooms can include different clusters of seating to allow one-on-one conversations as well as space for a larger group. A variety of seating should be included in the space - sofas, a dining area with a table and combinations of soft seating with end tables.

And since great rooms are intended to provide more space, there's no need to skimp on the scale of furniture pieces. "You want the furnishings to fill the space," Rhode Island designer Kevin O'Brien told the magazine. "Big objects make the room feel more intimate."

Bringing in natural light throughout the large space without compromising privacy can be achieved with a variety of window treatments that fit different functions within a great room.

Custom drapery helps personalize a look with a wide range of fabrics, patterns and colors. But with a similar color uniting various areas in the space, different styles of window shades or blinds can be incorporated into the design scheme. Soft sheer shades, for instance, can cut the glare on computer and TV screens in a media area.

Once the uses of a great room are established, tying in art work and family mementoes can make it a room that is welcoming to both family members and their guests.
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