Design Room Swoon:

Room Swoon: Brooklyn Family Room

Nicole Franzen
Nicole Franzen

For our family room, I craved a formal library, but with the comfort to slouch into a plush sofa and watch movies or read as a family.

The initial vision was in line with the neutral tonality of the home, but something wasn’t working. The room felt incomplete, so we enveloped the walls and ceiling in deeply saturated navy plaster, which offered a suede-like quality. The dark hue demanded furniture that was equally weighted in form and color; we added a bespoke sofa designed by Giancarlo Valle and a jewel-toned fringed chair and velvet ottoman inspired by Milanese design.

Once transformed, the room became the cozy nook it wanted to be. 

sarah elliott
sarah elliott
athena calderone
athena calderone

When approaching the bookshelves, think of them as curiosity cabinets—filled with books and objects meaningful to you. Then keep the following in mind as you style them:

  • Create vignettes by pairing various heights and shapes.
  • Stack books in uneven parallel and perpendicular lines, clustered by subject and spine color.
  • Orient each shelf differently from the one adjacent to it, and add the offbeat (like something found in nature that does not “belong”) to move your eye about the bookcase.
  • If you get overwhelmed, step back and take a photo to assess it as an entire tableau.
Sarah Elliott
Sarah Elliott
Nicole Franzen
Nicole Franzen

Yes, the navy and ochre tones in my family room are a complete departure from the rest of my home but this is yet another reminder that taking a bold color risk, even in a singular space, can still work in an otherwise neutral environment. So let your curiosity be your guide and push yourself beyond your design boundaries to take a chance—you might be surprised at what happens next! 

Sarah Elliott
Sarah Elliott
Sarah Elliott
Sarah Elliott
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