Not quite as formal as a living room, family rooms and dens blend comfort and communality. Whether you envision a family-friendly room to binge-watch movies or a sophisticated den allotted to relaxation, the right furniture—whether it be a plush L-shaped sofa, a kid-friendly coffee table, or a wall-mounted shelving fixture—can help strike just the right balance. To help you tee up your dream family room, we’ve rounded up the quintessential pieces every family room and den needs. From sofas to accent chairs to shelving and coffee tables, here are our best tips for picking ones that the whole family will love!

Ayromloo Design utilized a three-seat sofa, side chairs, and a round coffee table with an iron base for this family room.
Design by Ayromloo Design / Photo by Annie Schlechter

7 Furniture Options for a Family Room or Den

Peti Lau interplayed nature and animal inspired prints in this family room with an orange sectional and throw pillows
Design by Peti Lau / Photo courtesy of Peti Lau


Comfort is the name of the game when it comes to family rooms and dens. For spaces dedicated to quality family time, roomy L-shaped sectional sofas provide plenty of room for everyone to stretch out. In a family room, resist the urge to deploy a small sofa or loveseat. A large-scale, central sofa makes it clear that your family room prioritizes relaxation. Opt for an extra comfy fabric to dial up the leisurely vibes even more. Consider a sofa upholstered in velvet, wool, or even a worn-in leather. Piling on a passel of pillows will also up the snug factor.

A modern rocking chair plays in the fore front of this blue, custom bookshelves and velvet blue sofa
Design by Studio Preveza / Photo by Daniel Collopy

Accent Chairs

Enhance your den with standalone seating. Flank a couch with club chairs or barrel chairs to up the style quota and provide more seating. Or, forgo the sofa entirely and encircle a coffee table with lounge chairs. Just like with a family room sofa, you’ll want to pay mind to the fabric your accent chair is covered in. Forgo the stiff cottons or scratchy wools that you might be inclined to tolerate among more formal living room seating and spring for those feels-good-to-the-touch velvets, leathers, and suedes. Likewise, forgo stiff, upright chairs like wingbacks and instead opt for laidback, lounge-y forms.

A brown, two-set sectional sofa and geometric coffee table pairs are used in this contemporary family room with abstract art.
Design by DJDS / Photo by William Waldron

Coffee Tables

By integrating a new texture or silhouette, coffee tables can break up the softness of a seating-filled family room. While most of us default to wood coffee tables, a family room can be an excellent place to experiment with a table crafted of an alternate material. Kid-friendly options include round coffee tables as well as upholstered, wicker, leather, and plastic coffee tables. If you’re planning to bust out board games on your family room coffee table, consider a table with storage space that can accommodate game boxes, card decks, and other gaming essentials. Especially big on family game night? Go straight for a card table. A small card table with chairs shoehorned into a corner of a living room specially designates a spot for board game battle.

A multi-level steel coffee table grounds this den with an L shaped sofa, travertine side tables and a media center
Design by Jamie Bush + Co. / Photo by Peter Murdock


The unsung hero of any lounge space, ottomans are game-changers when it comes to adding flair and functionality. Plush enough to protect rowdy kids and sturdy enough to prop your legs on, poufs and ottomans are exemplary furnishings for family rooms and dens. Use a large rectangular ottoman in lieu of a coffee table or simply opt for a compact version with inner storage. Ottomans come in no shortage of materials, patterns, and colors, either, making them the perfect opportunity to add a pop of cheeky personality to a space.

Two small, round leather ottomans cover the rug in this family room with built in cabinetry, a bust, and leather couch
Design by Katie Leede & Company / Photo courtesy of Katie Leede & Company

Shelves & Shelving

Outside the restraints of a formal living room, family rooms and dens are ideal places to tuck away personal knick-knacks. Open or wall-mounted shelving offer up a stage to display books, board games, trinkets, and other mementos. Floating shelves increase storage while also providing an opportunity to create a wall feature that functions similar to art. Incorporate bins and boxes to hold toys, chargers, consoles, and other bits and bobs. Store your cache in storage ottomans, multilevel coffee tables, and baskets.

gold bar cart with ginger jars backed against a moss green wall
Design by Amanda Reynal Interiors / Photo by Rick Lozier

Bar Carts

A home bar is bound to be a hit with family and friends alike. Create a cocktail corner by shoehorning a bar cart into an underutilized nook. Perhaps more appropriate in a den than a family room (although, hey, we won’t judge!), bar carts add a sense of cheerful glamour to an otherwise humble space. Plus, it’s rarely ever a bad thing to have spirits nearby!

Lead image: Design by M + M Interior Design / Photo by Heather Talbert


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March 28, 2022

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