Continued from page 1

Ms. Schlegel said a big mistake many families make is to pick storage units that are too small and then start to overflow with toys and other items.

“Furniture costs a lot of money, so I think you need to make sure everything has multiple functions,” Ms. Schlegel said. “You can put a console table behind the couch with drawers, and your end tables and coffee tables can have shelves for extra storage. You can even add cabinets in the transitional space between the family room and the breakfast area.”

A narrow desk or table behind the sofa, just deep enough for a laptop, can be useful as well as visually separate utilitarian space from living space, Ms. Meyer suggested.

Ms. Huff said homeowners need to control what they store on open shelving.

“If you have a lot of items with a lot of color, even books and picture frames, it can become visual clutter,” Ms. Huff said.

You also can find hidden storage in the kitchen, Ms. Schlegel suggested, by designating a lower drawer or part of the pantry for children’s art supplies.

“A built-in banquette in the kitchen with open shelving next to it makes a great place for small children to do their homework and art projects within the kitchen but away from the cooktop,” Ms. Sanchez said.

While the family room should have its own personality and function, in homes with an open floor plan, you can use color and cabinetry to link the spaces.

“One of the things we like to do to integrate the kitchen and the family room space is to design built-ins on the living side that coordinate or match what we are doing for cabinetry in the kitchen,” said Nadia Subaran, principal and co-owner of Aidan Design in Bethesda. “Often, when we are opening a kitchen up, we are taking down a large wall and losing some surface area for storage. The nice thing about built-ins aside from the additional storage is that it simplifies the furniture plan. You can customize the cabinets to serve your specific needs.”

Ms. Meyer said that while cabinets in the kitchen and family room don’t have to match exactly, they should reference the same style.

“If your kitchen cabinets have an inset cabinet door, then so should the family room storage cabinets,” she said.

Your color schemes in the kitchen, breakfast area and family room should be complementary, she said.

“You can repeat the window treatments or pick up a color from your toss pillows in your kitchen accent pieces,” Ms. Meyer said. “Your colors can be warmer and less neutral in the family room, since the nature of this space is to be livelier.”

At Waterlily Interiors, Ms. Huff and Ms. Schlegel recommend using neutral wall colors and neutral colors for the larger pieces in the family room, and then adding pops of color in the kitchen, breakfast area and family room that can be changed occasionally to add interest.