This week, we’re helping a family create a comfortable and cozy family room.

The house belongs to the Laurence family, Judy and her three sons Walter, Harry and James. This bunch has a lot of fun together, but it’s time to give their den an update that’s stylish and functional.

Danny Lipford and Chelsea Lipford Wolf install picture ledges to the wall in Judy Laurence's family room
Installing a picture ledge

Install Picture Ledges

First, for finished carpentry, I am replacing our table saw blade with an 80-tooth Wood River Precision Blade from Woodcraft. It also has copper inserts to reduce vibration for even smoother cuts.

Then it’s time to make the picture ledges. I’m ripping a 1-by-6 into three separate pieces at 45-degree angles. After I measure the length of each shelf, Chelsea and I get busy hanging the picture ledges.

Watch “How to Build Picture Ledges” for the complete step-by-step guide.

Updated mantel with new shelf and electric logs in the fireplace
You don’t have to remove your mantel to update it — just cap it!

Update the Mantel

For the mantel, I’m cutting four pieces, which will form a cap once I attach the front and two sides to the new top.

Then, we begin painting the inside of the fireplace. To move along the update to Judy’s family room, Chelsea starts a competition to see who can paint the fastest.

Overnight, Judy and James apply a stain to the mantel and picture ledges, so in the morning, they can be coated with polyurethane and installed in the living room.

The last touch to this mantel update is setting up electric logs in the fireplace.

Coffee table assembly on a drop cloth under a car port
This coffee table has special powers: its top lifts and doubles as a TV dinner tray!

Assemble the Coffee Table

I start cutting material for the coffee table and then Chelsea and I begin assembling it.

This is a special coffee table with some versatility for a family who loves to enjoy meals on the couch.

So, once all the apron pieces are installed, we add the bottom for a compartment inside the table. Then, we can start working on the plywood top.

Once the edges are secure, we trim off the excess and smooth the seams with a file before Judy applies the stain.

Now, all we have to do is attach the lifting hardware to the coffee table top, and this family can donate their TV trays!

We also:

  • Painted a piece of Judy’s old furniture for the family room
  • Mounted the TV to the wall

Danny Lipford and Chelsea Lipford Wolf with Judy Laurence and her three sons standing outside of their home
“Today’s Homeowner” hosts Danny Lipford and Chelsea Lipford Wolf, pictured with the Laurence family.

Post-Production Thoughts

Judy’s family room was painted and decorated in the rush of getting moved into the house a few years ago, so it never had the warmth and comfort it needed as the hub of their family life.

The fireplace doors and mantle were tired and dated, and the display of family photos lacked any structure to give them the attention they deserved.

Now, the whole room feels warmer thanks to the new color on the walls. The fireplace looks completely different with a new, more substantial mantle and a clean firebox illuminated by those new electric logs.

Painting some furniture, rearranging furniture and mounting the TV on the wall have all decluttered one entire end of the room.

Judy’s display of family photos can now be fully appreciated with a little extra attention, courtesy of the wall-mounted light above the new picture ledges.

Plus, the new lift-top coffee table will make it easier to enjoy a meal or snacks in this cozy new room.

And, we did it all for less than $1,000 in materials.

Other Tips from this Episode

In a Simple Solutions segment on an episode of Today's Homeowner, Joe Truini demonstrates how to level and space a shelf.Simple Solutions
Hang Perfectly Level Shelves Every Time with This Trick
Best New Products-59.jpgBest New Products
This Bluetooth Bathroom Speaker Fan Also Functions As Your Phone
“Today’s Homeowner” hosts Danny Lipford and Chelsea Lipford Wolf install a picture ledgeWatch & Learn
How to Create Stylish, Space-Saving Displays

Further Reading

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

Learn More