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The End of the American Family Room? It’s Possible


Posted by Jay Frucci on Mon, May 21, 2018 @ 10: 20 AM

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“No! Turn it off!” Diana cried out, gesturing at the television in the family room. “I can’t watch that episode – I’m too far behind!”

The television had been set to the news while we were cleaning up after dinner, but now it was time for Grey’s Anatomy. The cameras pan over a night scene of Seattle, while the voice of one of the main characters earnestly offers a corny life lesson. Like millions of viewers, my wife is hooked on the medical drama. 

Diana dove for the remote to turn off the television. “I’m two episodes behind,” she said a bit defensively. “I don’t want to jump ahead of the story.” She knows I’m not a fan. To me, the show is an endless loop of natural disasters and man-made catastrophes. All the wounds are ghastly, the doctors are miserable and no one ever cracks a joke. It’s a yawner. 

What’s intriguing, though, is the concept of how we consume our entertainment these days. Diana doesn’t sit down to watch Grey’s Anatomy on the big flat-screen television in the family room – ever. She streams the show on her laptop while she’s doing mundane chores like folding the laundry.

Our three boys, on the other hand, get their media from mobile phones. They’ll only use the flat screen to play video games. As for me, I look forward to stretching out in the recliner to watch some basketball on the flat screen. But I’m also a bit of a Luddite. I’m the only guy in the neighborhood who still gets a newspaper delivered every morning. 

So what's happening to the family room? Conceived in the 1950s, when television first invaded the home, the family room was designed so a family had a casual place to congregate to watch television and play games. The focus of the room was a television, the bigger the better. 

Now we’re watching shows and playing games on hand-held devices while on the go. So it’s a valid question: is there any future for the family room? 

Interestingly, folks have been asking us that very question about the dining room for the last decade especially as seating at kitchen islands expanded. But, ironically, dining room sets continue to be a top seller for FCG. Maybe the formal dining room will actually outlive the family room. Unlike Grey’s Anatomy, the plot thickens. Stay tuned as we'll keep you posted on all the latest trends in furniture and design. And, at FCG, you can find comfortable seating for all of the corners of your home where you secretly binge watch your favorite show.