I am a mother, entrepreneur and Interior Designer who’s worked for all sorts of clients over the years. My number one challenge, and one that is close to my heart, is creating a space that can stand up against the wear and tear of family life. I recently launched a new on-line design concept with my business partner Jennifer (also a mother) called Fifty Two Rooms. My company was born from the idea that everyone deserves to live in a space that not only nurtures them but inspires them as well. The words “I will redesign my living space as soon as my kids are older” should never come out of your mouth. No one should have to wait to live in a home they love, no matter what their life circumstances. The time is now! I speak from experience. I have two adorable little wrecking balls who are a mere 13 months apart. I have seen what they can do to a room in a matter of minutes. Enter the expertise of a designer who used to work in the hospitality industry, aka me, and one who has done countless residential homes for clients all over the world, Jennifer. Below, I’m sharing 10 tips on how to create a kid-friendly home, even if your kids are still young.
1. Invest in a great sofa. A well made sofa can handle the wear and tear that family life brings. We love our family room sectional. It is 100% American made. It meets all sorts of environmental standards, making it healthier for your family. The seat cushions of a well-made sofa will not break down, meaning they will hold their shape for years and can take all the jumps, somersaults and wrestling matches our little’s can throw at them. A well-made sofa will have a hard wood frame that is kiln dried (no warping over the years) which makes it super durable. Last but not least, the fabric on this sofa is key. Be sure to select one that is easy care or washable. We take that into consideration when specifying all of our upholstery fabrics.
2. Wool should be your material of choice when selecting a rug. It is not only environmentally friendly, wool is also naturally stain-resistant. Go for something with a pattern. Patterns help to hide dirt and stains should they occur, as well as lint, etc. And word to the wise, red dye number 5 does NOT come out of anything. EVER. Not even professional cleaners can get it out fully. So please, if you must have drinks or food with red dye (Gatorade etc.) it is ok to have a “not in the living room” rule.
3. Consider closed cabinets as side tables to sofas and chairs. They can double as a game cabinet, art cabinet and will successfully and stylishly hide all the crap that comes with having kids.
4. Get a simple coffee table that won’t break the bank. Accessorize it with a gorgeous tray and kid-friendly coffee table books. The tray allows you to remove the items from your table quickly when play dates arrive. For books, I love to use those that interest my kids. My daughter (who is three) loves shoes, so I got a book about Manolo Blahnik, and she and I sit on the sofa together and look through it all the time (to my husbands dismay). The jacket of the book is gone but the underneath is just as pretty and looks equally as good without it.
5. Create an art wall using simple frames and your kids’ art. Children sometimes really are the best artists. Use their art to create an art wall. It helps them to feel a part of the space and gives them pride when showing it off to guests. Mix in some real art pieces to create a colorful, unique art wall that is not only a show-stopper but also, if done properly, can add a little color and interest to the home.
6. If possible, pick a wall to place all your kids “treasures” against and use a drape to hide it all. Select a fabric that is not too heavy so that you cannot see through it but also allows light to filter through when lit from behind. The drape allows you to quickly put away all their toys and close them off from the room. Back-light the drape with rope light or lamps. The lights will add a glow to the fabric and is additional mood lighting for the space.
7. Throw pillows should be down and feather filled. They hold their shape better than synthetic fillers. These are worth the investment, and are so much more comfortable to lay your head on when lounging with your kids on movie night.
8. Consider adding poufs in front of your coffee table or under a console or sofa table. Not only do they look great, they give you additional seating and are just the right height for little ones who want to be part of the action.
9. Don’t buy anything too fragile. There is nothing worse than worrying about your stuff when little friends come over. Fragile items should be strategically placed so that little hands can’t easily access them.
10. Enjoy your space! No matter what, create a space that inspires you and nurtures you and your family. A happy, well-designed home is your greatest tool for creating a life you love.
What are some of your tried and true decor tips to create your kid-friendly home?