Casual Family Living Room

Designer Sandy Kozar creates a relaxing family room full of favorite artwork and travel souvenirs where a retired couple can each entertain their friends.


Photography by Edie Ellison

From: Sandy Kozar

Photography by Edie Ellison

From: Sandy Kozar

From a basement to an enticing lower-level family room retreat, designer Sandy Kozar of Decorating Den Interiors in Knoxville, Tenn., angled furniture, retained a TV and edited art so both husband and wife got their design wishes.

Describe the homeowners' wishlist.

The homeowners — a recently retired couple — had a room downstairs that they wanted to use for entertaining in a casual way. They are travelers and art collectors and had a Native American picture that they were very fond of and wanted to incorporate. They wanted the room to be a retreat and remind them of their travels.

Casual, Eclectic Family Room

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Smart Furniture Placement

By angling furniture into the room, designer Sandy Kozar whose Decorating Den Interiors firm is based in Knoxville, Tenn., used more of the space and created an intimate conversation grouping. Photography by Edie Ellison

From: Sandy Kozar

Casual Hangout

Blue painted walls add a sharp accent against the beige carpeting. The TV placed atop a credenza rather than on the wall avoids it overtaking the space. Photography by Edie Ellison

From: Sandy Kozar

Coordinating Shapes

The shape of the taller Wingback chairs works with the lower sofa because of a shared commonality of curved forms — in the chairs' rolled outer edges and the sofa's rolled arms. Photography by Edie Ellison

From: Sandy Kozar

Better Traffic Flow

By angling the furniture grouping into the room, Kozar reserved enough space for an entertainment unit along one wall, so that it can be used without traffic getting in the way of conversations. Photography by Edie Ellison

From: Sandy Kozar

Shared Color Scheme

Curtains, pillows and an area rug have different patterns but work together well because of shared red-and-blue palette. Photography by Edie Ellison

From: Sandy Kozar

All in the Details

Using nailheads discreetly on a handsome sofa adds a luxurious detail for its classic shape — the equivalent of one great piece of jewelry for a little black dress. Photography by Edie Ellison

From: Sandy Kozar

Lively Color Palette

Kozar used deep red and a pale yet rich blue to enliven the space, but they stop from overpowering the room by her using pale beige upholstery and similar colored carpeting. Photography by Edie Ellison

From: Sandy Kozar

What were the homeowners' design problems?

The room needed to appeal to each of the homeowners. In its original condition, the room was feminine. The husband wanted to bring down his golf buddies after being out on the course, while the wife wanted to be able to use it with her friends to play cards and socialize.

What was your biggest obstacle in this space?

The TV had to stay on the wall they had it on. I was able to pull the small media stand together with existing bookcases from another room to stay within their budget. They had a big collection of eclectic art pieces that did not have the same color palette or subject matter, but I was able to narrow down the selection to their most important pieces.

How does the end result match up with your original vision?

I think I was pretty much on target with the plan we put together on installation day. Some tweaks included moving the artwork around and placing accessories to mix their existing pieces with ones I introduced.

What lessons did you learn?

The room's space plan was done on an angle to accommodate the odd-shaped window that seemed to be hung in mid-air. By angling furniture, the room opened up and allowed for all the pieces that were necessary for it to function well. Sometimes, you have to make the best of what you have available to you. Most people can't afford to change every tiny detail. I loved being able to repurpose items that are treasures sitting unnoticed in other rooms. I was able to do this with artwork, as well as tables and bookshelves.

What are the "hidden gems"?

The Native American artwork they loved so much was my inspiration for the color palette. The artwork also inspired the room's design. Without over-indulging in the entire Southwest design motif, I chose subtle hints of it and used them throughout the room. Beginning with the Tibetan area rug, I pulled together colors for a soft cream palette in the sofa and chairs and used a window treatment with subtle embroidered pattern. I chose to angle the furniture in the room to make it feel more open and adjust for the odd-shaped windows. The area rug anchored the seating area and brought life into the entire room.

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Sandy Kozar

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Decorating Den Interiors of Knoxville 1440 Charlottesville Boulevard Knoxville, TN 37922 865-982-6368