Candice Olson remade this living/dining room to be both stylish and family-friendly. This 'after' photo reveals a cohesive design theme that features durable furnishings and multifunctional storage.
A nature-inspired palette of greens, browns and aqua are visible in this view from the dining room into the living room of this space redesigned by Candice Olson.
This 'before' photo shows a living/dining room in desperate need of family-friendly design help.
Candice Olson can be seen as the host and designer of HGTV’s Candice Tells All, Divine Design and as a judge on HGTV Design Star.
Candice's Secret Tip
When selecting materials for kid-friendly family rooms, choose durable flooring such as reclaimed woods (and finishes that look antique), fingerprint-resistant furnishings and durable (and ideally washable) fabrics.
More on Candice
Today, Candice can be seen as the host and designer of HGTV’s Candice Tells All and Divine Design as well as a judge on HGTV Design Star. She has been featured on the Today show, Live! With Regis and Kelly, The View and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Candice’s foray into TV began when a Canadian station profiled one of her award-winning design projects. Her unique approach to residential design and engaging personality led to a weekly stint as a design contributor to the show. Candice also writes a syndicated biweekly newspaper column that runs in more than 400 U.S. newspapers.
Candice Olson on Family-Friendly Design
A 'before' and 'after' look at a stylish makeover designed to withstand kids and pets.
- by Trisha McBride Ferguson
When it comes to designing for active households, style can be a challenge. What looks good doesn't always stand up to daily wear and tear, and furnishings designed for durability can be boring. That's what makes this room makeover by Candice Olson, host of HGTV's Candice Tells All and Divine Design, so impressive—she shows you don't have to sacrifice good design just because you have kids or pets.
In the before picture of this living/dining room, it's easy to see the space lacked focus. While the two rooms are connected, the layout didn't encourage traffic flow. An under-sized area rug divided the floor space while the only color in the room came from the overflow of toys and kid's stuff. The dated fireplace and blank walls set the tone for this completely forgettable space.
One thing is certain about families with kids—there's always a need for more storage. In this makeover, Olson incorporates stylish storage solutions throughout the room. Check out the open built-in shelving around the fireplace, closed storage in the dining area, banquette seating with storage, and vintage side table with shelves.
When it comes to balancing form and function, no one does it better than Candice Olson. In this makeover she creates a layout that is big on style and storage. What makes this room design so successful is that its aesthetic appeal complements its functionality. Olson chose a nature-inspired palette with soft shades of green and brown (great for camouflaging dirt and spills) and punctuated it with an aqua-colored feature fabric—that ties all the colors together—for the draperies. Ultra-durable vinyl provides an easy-to-clean covering for the banquette seating.
Focus on Finishes
Creating a space that flows across two rooms creates unique challenges. Olson tied this living room and dining room together by sharing key fabrics and finishes. The aqua feature fabric is used in the drapery panels in both rooms, as is the cork wallpaper. The dining table is crafted from reclaimed wood, and the round cocktail table in the living room shares this look as well. Even the lighting in the two rooms is coordinated with the selection of old bronze and vintage brass finishes.
Made for Living
Successful family-friendly spaces have one thing in common: they're made for living. This design by Candice Olson illustrates the concept with fabrics that are touchable, surfaces that resist fingerprints, and style-driven storage.