Getting Cozy in My Family Room for Fall


all is one of my favorite times of the year to decorate around. I love how all the orange, gold, and brown makes my house look glowy and warm. I’m not one of those creative-crafty DIY types who goes all out, creating an Autumn Wonderland that has Better Homes & Gardens beating down my door. But I do like to swap out all the summery stuff for orange throws and pillows, pumpkins and gourds, and lots of candles (I discovered the joys of flameless ones this year, so I have them flickering all the time now!).

I’ve been enjoying the coziness of our family room. Come on in…

You may remember I used to have a black coffee table with a glass top in front of the sofa. Here’s how it looked before:

You also may remember me complaining about how it drove me crazy. That glass top was impossible to keep clean. Everyone wanted to put their feet up but the table was higher than the sofa, which made it uncomfortable. And because the table was black, it showed dust approximately 5 seconds after dusting it. Not only that, but dust would seep underneath the glass and taunt me.

In one of those “I’ve had it!” moments, I relegated it to the basement rec room, where I don’t care how dusty and smudgy it looks.

Problem was, we had nothing to replace it with. For a while the family room was kinda empty. Then my husband pulled this poor old footstool up from storage, and it sat in the middle of our family room all summer.

It was not only too small, but it was ripped in places and missing two of its buttons. I felt compelled to tell everyone who came to my house that the footstool was “Only temporary!”

At one point I ordered a black ottoman from, but it was immediately obvious that it wasn’t going to work. It was like a big black hole in the middle of the room. And the square shape didn’t look right in the space, either:

Finally, I found an ottoman I both liked and could afford in a Grandin Road catalog. It came in lots of colors (I chose Natural), was the right size (a rectangle, not a square), and was only $249–a lot less than most of the others I had looked at. Woo-hoo!

I like how it lightened things up in here, especially since it’s such a small room:

I have so many more things I want to do in here. We got an estimate on installing hardwood floors. The carpet is worn out and needs to go. But as you know, I already spent a lot of money on new flooring this year, so it might be awhile.

Also worn out: the sofa. I’m constantly having to fluff the cushions back up. Lots of throw pillows are required to hide the mushed-up, lumpy cushions. But it’s comfy and the kids love taking naps on it, so I’ll put up with it for a little while longer…

About this point in the photo session, Maizie decided she wanted to be a part of it. She’s the Shih-Tzu we adopted last year. She was in bad shape when we got her. But after surgery and lots of TLC, she’s doing great. And she is the sweetest little thing. You’d never know she had such a rough start in life. (You can read her story here if you missed it.)

We were recently told by someone who works with small dogs that Maizie is actually a Micro Shih Tzu. The woman was very excited to see her because apparently there aren’t many of them around. We had no idea–we just thought she was small for her breed. (She usually looks even smaller–she needs a haircut!)

Then the kids came home from school and crashed the photo shoot, too…

Within 5 minutes, the family room was wrecked again, the throw pillows tossed off the sofa and the floor littered with book bags, dirty socks, cast-off hoodies, and homework. But let’s just pretend it always looks this neat and tidy, okay?

Thanks for stopping by! How do you decorate for fall?

P.S. I won’t be hosting a linky party this year but there are plenty out there if you want to participate. A good place to start: The Inspired Room’s annual month-long Fall Nesting Series. If you’re hosting one, feel free to let us know in the comments!

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  1. Tracey says

    so lovely and cozy, I switched out our coffee table last year for a large ottoman in the middle also, best home decorating decision I ever made.

  2. says

    Haha … it is so difficult to keep a home clean and organized with kids and a dog!! It turns into a disaster in second… Believe me I know I have two… anyway love the ottoman that was a great change … actually your living room looks much larger now after you removed the black tufted one… the small black one was a bad choice…I like the taller legs of the current one also the color works perfectly… Thanks for sharing

  3. MelanieL says

    So cozy, it’s amazing what a few change outs for the season can do to a room! I love your new ottoman and that tray is super cute, would you mind saying where you got it? Have a great day:)

  4. Margaret says

    Love the toile and the room looks even better with kids, dogs and dirty socks.

  5. Teresa says

    We have a big round ottoman with cat-scratched ecru pleather underneath the leopard-prinf fur fabric cover I made a few years ago. It’s indispensable as a coffee table (or beer/wine table…), footrest and cat lounger. Love functional furniture!

  6. Christina from Dallas says

    Your living room looks sooo cozy. I really like those arm chairs. Where did you get them? The curtains match them too. How did you get that to happen?

    • says

      We had the chairs upholstered in the toile years ago. The window treatments are a Waverly fabric that’s very similar. Glad you like ’em!

  7. says

    I love that ottoman – it’s perfect for your space! I didn’t even notice your “worn out” couch until you pointed it out, so I think the ottoman serves as a good distraction. 😉 Very warm and welcoming!

  8. says

    I just love your home! I never get tired of seeing it and especially love the use of black and white toile. I had a tufted coffee table which was great for resting your feet, but when I had a crowd over it didn’t provide enough flat surface for drinks and snacks. So…I stopped having a crowd over…LOL! I now have a hard surface table, and I don’t like it nearly as much. Yours is beautiful and I’m slightly envious. I think I see a new table in my future.
    By the way…I agree on keeping a glass table clean…impossible.

  9. Linda says

    Thanks for sharing your home with us! I love your fall updates in your family room. I wish I could keep my home as tidy as yours. Do you fall-ize your sunroom too?

    • says

      A little bit! I’ve added a few things out there. The biggest change to the sunroom comes when the leaves turn outside the windows. So pretty! :-)

  10. Laura says

    I’m thinking about getting an ottoman instead of a coffee table too. Our coffee table is so uncomfortable for putting your feet up, and it’s also a junk-collector. Your family room looks great – love the toile and the orange accents. I need to get a few gourds and pumpkins and do a little fall decorating myself. Thanks for the inspiration!

  11. Paul Collins says

    Julia, Very nice room! We both have the same chandelier in our kitchens! :)

  12. AmandaM says

    I love it! Can you tell me about the white loveseat/settee? Where did you get it/cost? Also, I love your toile chairs too, where did you get them? Great job! :o)

    • says

      The settee and chairs were ordered from a local store that went out of business years ago, I’m afraid. Shouldn’t be hard to find something similar, though. We chose the fabrics we wanted them upholstered in.

    • says

      They have some great stuff and the prices are really reasonable. I found a yellow metal bench for our back deck this summer on their website, too, and I love it!

  13. says

    I think you scored a home-run with that Grandin Road ottoman Julia! It looks great and fits in so naturally, it looks like it was made for your living room!
    And love the pics with your kids – so nice to see another mom who’s kids walk in and rearrange everything! :)

  14. Lynn says

    You have such a beautiful house and I love that you seem to find so much at Target! I’m so excited to see a fall entry – I’ve been re-reading all of your past fall entries while waiting for a new one! :)

    I agree with you completely about flameless candles! I still burn Yankee Candles everywhere, but there are places where the flameless ones work so much better! I just discovered them a few months ago and can’t stop buying them. :)

  15. says

    Love your family room…it’s so cozy and warm. That new ottoman is fantastic. I’m heading over to the web site to take a look. It might just work in my living room. :-)

  16. says

    What a pretty, cozy family room Julie! Your last ottoman is a winner! It’s just right for the room. We just bought 3 new chairs for our family room replacing our huge modular five piece unit (over 25 years old). Now we have new comfy chairs and more room to walk around, get to our windows and storage units. Now if I could just get in gear and put out some Halloween stuff. I’m like you I don’t go all out for fall decorations. Now Christmas…that’s another story. Love your blog and so enjoy all the work you put into it. PS – cute kids and cute doggie!

  17. Lucinda says

    Love to decorate for Fall! I love fresh pumpkins on cakestands and few Halloween goodies sprinkled in. That way I just take away the Halloween stuff and still leave the fall up through Thanksgiving.
    I’ve also discovered electric candles…wonderful invention!

    Totally off the subject but I know you are always profiling TV houses and I saw a new show last night and kept wanting the next scene to be in the main characters house. Couldn’t help but think of your blog maybe you could profile it. It’s The New Normal on NBC.

    Enjoy your beautiful cozy living room!

  18. Shabby Chick says

    I LOVE your new ottoman! And such a great price! Please never get rid of the toile chairs, I adore them!! 😉

  19. says

    That room is SO cozy and I love how it looks! I am also obsessed with those black and white chairs you have. I am really into natural elements for my Fall decorating this year. I wanted things to look neutral, muted and from nature. Last year I did a lot of color, so it was fun to try something new.

  20. amanda says

    I was actually gonna ask if you bought or made that ottoman when I saw the first pics, so thanks for the details! Your room looks so cozy, the ottoman works great here.

    I love Fall so much, I just wish we got cooler true Fall weather here (last couple days were kinda nice, but the high is back up to 87 for today with high humidity, go figure). I seriously contemplate moving to another state every year at this time just for the weather.

  21. says

    It is going to be 104 here in AZ today, so I’m living vicariously through you! Your home looks beautiful, cozy and inviting. Fall decor is also my favorite, I just wish we had a bit of fall weather to go with it! Your ottoman looks great and so high end. Thanks for sharing your source!

  22. Barb says

    Your room is beautiful….it has a wonderful glow. Do you mind my asking where you got the tall floor lamp? I’m looking for a floor lamp, but they all end up being to short. Thank you! P.S. I just love your site…..I look forward to it every day!

    • says

      That was another bargain–spotted it at Value City Furniture and snatched it up. I had been searching for a simple but tall floor lamp like that for months.

  23. Alie Butler says

    I love this site! Your home is so cozy and the new ottoman works great in the family room. Great job! :)

  24. L Clark says

    What is the color of paint on the family room walls? very soft….and warm….blessings..

  25. says

    You must have ordered your ottoman just in time. After thinking about it for a month, I decided last week to order that same one (in gray) but they are back ordered through December! ;( Looks great though.

    • says

      Bummer! I hate when that happens. That black one I ordered first took weeks to arrive (and then I hated it). I got the one from Grandin Road right away, though. Maybe the gray is more popular or something.

  26. MissCaron says

    Love the new ottoman! I am so sick of our coffee table. Next house we’re getting a big ottoman since we just use it for our feet anyway!

  27. Michele says

    Wow, Julia, you really do have a flair for decorating. You incorporate many of the latest trends, and also make your rooms look so cozy. Great job!

  28. says

    I love it, so cozy and FALLish! There is always something that needs to be done, no matter how much we do, isn’t that how it goes? Love the new ottoman too, fantastic! I’d want one if our dog wasn’t so obsessed with our leather ottoman, he thinks it is HIS, and I don’t have the heart to get anything else to replace it. HAHA! Decorating around the dogs, that is so classy but story of my life.

    Happy Fall! And thanks for the mention of the Fall series!

  29. says

    It looks great. I love that ottoman. We have a round one like it at Pier 1 that I want for my living room. Alas, it only comes in prints….so I’d have to recover it which is what is keeping me from buying it. Your living room looks so pretty.

  30. Cate says

    I love how you reworked everything, and the dog matches! One question, how do you keep the light fabric on the ottoman clean?

  31. says

    Lovely post. I absolutely love those two toille chairs. So beautiful.
    Your home is lovely.

  32. says

    You should have named this “The Coffee Table Saga!” ha ha. I love how you took us through all of your different attempts at finding what worked. I have a sofa that is sadly in need of reupholstering and coffee table with a glass top. I LOVE your ottoman! But I already have one ottoman with a chair not 2 feet from where this one would go. Suppose that would be too many? Wait…I am supposed to be talking about fall..oh yes, I use mums and pumpkins everywhere…hopefully doing a post on it after we move our son this weekend.
    Great post Julia!

  33. Sarah says

    I love the changes. Simple, yet effective. I never decorate for any season, other than Christmas, inwhich I completely saturate the house…until this year. I have become ” blog-inspired” and made a new table centrepiece topped the buffet with Dollarama pumpkins and fall sprigs. I even chopped cornstalks for the front porch and have pumpkins lining the walk. I should have done this years ago! It was fun and I love it!

  34. Kim says

    Beautiful decorations! I love how the simplest changes make your room feel like fall. I also love your new ottoman. It really does lighten up the room. Great choice.

    I love the pictures you take and share on our blog. You are a great photographer. What kind of camera use?

    You have a nice house. Thank you for sharing it with us.

      • Kim says

        You’re Welcome! What a nice thing for your husband to do. That’s a nice camera.

  35. says

    Your family room looks very inviting and comfortable. Since that ottoman doesn’t look too stable or appropriate for drinks or food, you might consider reviving an old standby and getting a set of nesting tables. –Road to Parnassus

  36. Maria says

    Lovely. I always look forward to your Fall house transformation posts!

    I agree with above, never get rid of the toile chairs, I adore them too. And the new ottoman is just perfect.

    Really like the flameless candles too, didn’t use them much in summer but I reset the timers on them for Fall. Love walking into rooms that are automatically candlelit or coming home to them.

  37. Samuel says

    I would really like to see floorplans to your house, it is amazing!

  38. says

    Love, love, love flameless candles. They look so realistic now – especially the brand Luminara. You can find them at Frontgate, Brookstone and QVC. Don’t have to worry about them and I love that most have timers. Nothing warms up a room better on an Autumn night.

  39. says

    Thanks for sharing! We’ve been crazy at our house lately (I was in charge of the BIG fundraiser) but I took 10 minutes and did a little Fall decorating. Ahhh, peace. That’s what it felt like for a few minutes. : ) Change is good. FYI, I love the “dead” socks in the picture with your daughter. My youngest is like Hansel leaving “dead” socks around our home. My room will feel all put together and then I find them tucked under a chair leg. Thanks again for sharing (and keeping it real). : )

  40. Cindy says

    Love the new ottoman! It makes the room so cozy and comfy looking! And I hear ya on how a room can look great and then go to disaster in less than 2 seconds flat – we seem to specialize in that lived-in-look around here. LOL

    By the way – THANK YOU for mentioning flameless candles! I don’t know what rock I have been living under, but I didn’t really know about these. I think I feel a shopping trip coming on!

  41. says

    I love it, Julia, and what a difference the ottoman makes….lightens up the room immediately….living is what the room is for, thus, it is great to see it happily in use by all. Maizie sure is cute and such a lucky little one!

  42. says

    Very cozy looking! And very pretty! I do pretty much the same thing you do: change out the lighter colored spring/summer pillows to darker ones then add in a few small fall-colored accessories and call it a day :-)

    I haven’t done any of it yet….but today might be the day! Thanks for the “reminder” cuz it actually is fall now here too :-)

  43. says

    i cant get over the price of that ottoman. it looks like it cost a fortune and its so perfect for the room. it really looks great in there !! you dog is so adorable, im kind of scared to read the back story ,but I’m going to go do it right now. hope it’s not too sad!!!!


  44. says

    Julia, I read the story about your sweet puppy. omg. i just can’t believe it. at all. i don’t understand people who could be so cruel to animals. i just dont understand it. I have no words.

    i am so glad she found you. she looks so happy and it looks like your children really love her too. (not sure if she is a girl or not??). What a sweet ending.


  45. e. george says

    Hi Julia thank you for sharing your family pics I think they are absolutely beautiful and so is your home. I can relate when my son gets home from school he tends to re-arrange how the family room looks. I have been looking at Pottery Barn and their Autumn decor it’s just lovely. Regards Esther from Sydney. PS I think Autumn is the most beautiful of all the seasons.

  46. says

    Hi! Oh your room looks beautiful. The ottoman is perfect (I have been contemplating one for our living room too). I know about the kids and clutter – but believe me – one day your will reminisce fondly about the socks and back packs. It’s hard when they all leave for college!
    Happy Fall!

  47. Leigh says

    Love your new ottoman! Especially love seeing Maizie! She is the cutest little dog!

  48. Screendoorgirl 3 says

    Yay! I love getting a peek at your house, Julia. It looks so warm and cozy, and I love the new table. It’s perfect. I also love to see Maizie, she looks so cute. It’s so great to come home to a dog. I always love watching my big , tough boys playing and mushing up with our Shih tzu Ginger. Thanks for sharing your home sweet home..

  49. says

    You have a great living room. I love your color scheme as well as your use of various prints and textures. I wouldn’t mind at all coming home to this!

  50. says

    Looks warm and inviting, I know that feeling when you just get the house looking like you want and those cute darn kids come home and mess everything up. I love the pops of orange color throughout.

  51. says

    Honestly, Julia, your posts about the homes of stars and real estate listings are amazing–but I like the posts about your home the best! You do a wonderful job of making your house a home–for your husband, your kids, your sweet little Maizie, and for yourself! Plus you make friends feel welcome (including thousands of online friends!).

    Your family room looks lovely with the warm touches. I loved fall when we lived in the Midwest. I love it here in the South, too, but somehow it was really special in the Midwest. Looks like y’all are enjoying it!

  52. Ana M says

    I like everything you’ve done in your living room. Enough fall but not overly decorated! Also that sweet shit zu! I had one (Lindsey) for 18 years and they are the sweetest most loving dogs! I love that your kids are paying attention to her, as well! New to your blog and am really enjoying it! God bless!

  53. Janice Mahon says

    Oh so wonderful to see Maizie again! She’s your greatest accessory. Bless you for everything you did for her.

  54. says

    Your family room looks cozy and home-y — and also pretty. The main thing, though, is your children and the puppy look happy and comfy. Before you can blink, you will have an empty nest, and your perfectly fluffed room never gets messed up. Trust me!

  55. Jenny says

    Love this room and its paint color. It reminds me of my living room, which is painted with Behr’s “Bagel,” and with furniture and accents in russet, sage green and slate blue keeps its fall vibe going all year long…but the rest of the year I call it “earth tones.” :-)

  56. says

    btw, My Rudi is a very small Shitzu too. And i looked it up and they are called “Peking Shitzu’s.” My Harley is larger and so is my mom’s Shitzu. I Have never see Rudi’s size . I think you and I have Special Shitzus. Small but “full of great strength”.
    Sometimes people think he is a puppy but he is 12. Maybe take a brush and just brush lightly on a small spot at first. Maybe her skin is tender because she was mistreated before. Keep us posted how she is doing. Would love to know! mishelle

  57. Sam says

    Wow, beautiful! I absolutely love your house Julia! Would love to see some pictures of the outside! :)

  58. Cyndy says

    Hi~ I love your site, espeically the movie homes you feature. I just wanted to point out that before you go out and spend a fortune on a new sofa for your family room, check Craigslist. You can find great stuff on there from Pottery Barn, Arhaus, etc. for great prices. I only wish I had known about it 6 years ago when we moved and spent thousands furnishing this house! Four kids and two dogs later…. it’s almost all ready to be replaced!

  59. Anonymous Guest says

    Like your house, all but the dog on the furniture. I’ve had cats since 1983, and they are NEVER allowed on the furniture.

    • says

      Maizie is allowed everywhere but on the bed. She doesn’t shed, so I don’t really worry about it. None of my furniture is very fine anyway. :-)

  60. says

    Just found you and now following! I’m loving your house – especially how ‘real’ it is. Nothing drives me more crazy than design that doesn’t work for real living!

  61. says

    I just discovered your blog (stumbled upon it) and absolutely LOVE everything about it!!! You have a wonderful sense of style and a beautiful output to show for it. Your family is so sweet (I used to have a shih tzu who looked a lot like yours; her name was Char-may and she was so tiny but very feisty in a cute and adorable way).
    I had never considered Ikea’s sofas before but now after seeing your Sunroom project, I am going to check it out. It looks so comfortable to sit on; I just hope it doesn’t do what a lot of sofas do within a short period of time and that is — sag. Ugh! That looks so awful when it happens.
    I love your use of color and how you’re not afraid to mix and match.
    Speaking of Ikea, I love your dining chairs (the ‘X-backs) … is that where you got them? Are they comfortable to sit in?
    One more thing…
    …I love the simplicity of your decorating style. I have recently come to realize that clutter is not homey … it’s just clutter. It takes the breathing room out of a space and I try to avoid it at all costs (meaning, I have to stay very disciplined because I love beauty and it would be easy for me to just buy up every accessory that I love!).
    Anyway, I just had to write because you’re an inspiration to my sense of style and love of home.
    Sincere regards!

    • says

      Why, thank you, Carrie! Aren’t you sweet?

      So far the sofa hasn’t sagged. The cushions do tend to be lumpy and imperfect, so I wouldn’t put an Ektorp sofa in a formal room or anything, but it’s comfy and easy to clean, which was important to me.

      The dining room chairs were IKEA, too, you’re right! They’re pretty comfortable for hard-backed chairs. I’m not crazy about the table we bought to go with them, though (also IKEA). I’d love to replace it if I could justify the expense. It wobbles a lot when you lean on one side or the other and kind of drives me nuts.

      Nice to hear from you! :)