Although I don’t have children of my own yet, I’ve learned a lot about how to have a kid friendly home from designing for several couples who have young children. These jobs always have a different focus than my other projects: a design that keeps the house looking clean and stylish even though everything needs to withstand being jumped on, spilt on and knocked over.
Why is it that little children always seem to want to do everything that will cause them bodily harm? One of the main culprits is the coffee table, which always seems to be the cause of a head bump at its best and a gash that needs stiches at its worst. Switch it out for an ottoman with a tray and problem solved! Think of this as investing in a classy alternative to those unsightly rubber bumpers that attach to the sharp edges and corners of coffee tables.
Kid Friendly Upholstery
There are a few different ways to go when trying to protect your furniture from dirt, spills, and magic marker. Darker colors with texture will always hide dirt and stains much better than lighter, non-textured upholstery. Vinyl and leather are also great options as they can be wiped clean and don’t absorb liquid as much as other fabrics. But my favorite solution of all is slip covers. Not only can they be removed and thrown in your own home washer, but they also give you sofa or chair two completely different looks if you have a pattern or color underneath and a solid as the slip cover, or vice versa. This is an especially great option if you love white or lighter color palettes. It’s the absolute best way to have a white sofa and small children harmoniously living under the same roof.
In my small apartment I have to get creative with storage solutions and I feel like the same is true when a baby arrives on the scene with all of their baby paraphernalia. Suddenly storage is in short supply and it’s time to get creative. Utilizing baskets and bins on an existing bookcase is a great way to utilize what is already in the room, but stylishly repurposing it for toys. Side tables with built-in storage or large baskets with lids are a must in living spaces. Try using a wicker hamper in place of an open legged table. It will add interest and provide a quick and easy place for stashing kiddie gear.
Some hard surface options just won’t hold up as well as others when used on a daily basis, especially by children. For flooring, tile is always a great option, but if you want something softer and worry about scratching on wood cork flooring might be a good choice. Cork is durable, hides wear and tear, and has a certain softness the helps cut down on noise from indoor tag and hide-and-go-seek. Countertops are another surface that can take a beating from busy families, especially those with kids. You really can’t go wrong with quartz based stones like Caesarstone, which is more durable than natural stone and is also stain and scratch resistant making it perfect for Kool-Aid spills.
What are some of your suggestions for making your home more stylish but also kid friendly?