Install a bulletin board so your kids can pin up anything from homework to-do lists to their latest art projects. Fill it with decorative pieces so the space feels lively and inspiring.
This layout is easiest -- could be enough seating if the couch is long and there are 2 ottomans/poufs under TV. Or 2 chairs on each side? Or a loveseat on one or both sides? Plus, I like the built-ins to give our wall some balance.
Slipcover hand-me-down chairs and ottomans in the same fabric for a cohesive look. When the slipcovers get dirty, just toss them in the wash. Other wallet friendly ideas include using washable flat paint on walls for easy wiping, and opting for bare floors throughout. Reinvent vintage finds like the antique post lamp rewired into a chandelier.