When one shares a home with children, it can be tricky to strike a balance between an adult-centric and kid-friendly design aesthetic. It’s important not to fill the home with precious things; otherwise, we’re likely to become tense and frustrated when items are damaged or ruined. On the other hand, most of us don’t want to live in a home that feels like a daycare center, either!
Here are our top 10 tips for creating a kid-friendly home:
1.) Choose Easy-Care, Patterned Rugs
Rugs add comfort and style to hard flooring, but they’re also magnets for mud and stains. Because staring at dirty, stained rugs is a recipe for a gloomy mood, choosing the right kind of rug for your home is essential.
Choose an easy-care, patterned rug. In between cleanings, that busy pattern will distract the eye from stains. Once cleaned, your rug will look nearly new!
Natural wool rugs are resistant to water, which gives you more time to soak up spills. They tend to clean up well, and always lend a luxurious look and feel to a home.
If you want the easiest kind of rug, shop for rugs labeled “indoor/outdoor.” These woven vinyl options are nearly indestructible, resistant to stains, mold, and mildew, and can be scrubbed clean outside using standard dish soap.
2.) Satin Paint Only
From a sheerly practical standpoint, high-gloss paint is the most resistant to kid-related grime. However, few of us want our walls to gleam and glisten, especially because high-gloss paint highlights texture and flaws.
As a compromise, stick with satin-finish paints. They are stain-resistant, easy to clean, and still do a decent job at concealing surface imperfections.
3.) Swap Your Coffee Table for an Ottoman
Coffee tables are often responsible for a litany of childhood mishaps. Children seem to love to play, climb, draw, and leave messes on them daily.
On the flip side, they are convenient and attractive, and few of us are eager to give them up.
Large, slightly cushioned ottomans (with or without storage capacity) are excellent alternatives to traditional coffee tables. Ottomans are soft yet sturdy enough to support the antics of mobile babies, toddlers, and children.
Once your kids are asleep, you can still set your glass of wine and mini snack platter on your ottoman; just use a serving tray beneath to add stability.
4.) Stick to Easy-Care Sofa Materials
You don’t have to settle for an ugly sofa when you have children. Choose materials that have easy-care instructions and style; you’ll find it’s a win/win.
Leather is easy to clean and looks even better with age. Care for a quality leather sofa properly, and it will still look gorgeous as your kids are heading off to college.
If you prefer a leather alternative, opt for stain-resistant microfiber. Bonus points for removable cushion covers that you can wash in your machine, rather than having to call in a professional.
5.) Out of the High Chair, Onto a Dining Bench
Do you have beautifully upholstered dining chairs? You don’t have to give them up or cover them when your children are old enough to join you at the dining table.
Instead, shop for a complementary dining bench! Your children can sit side-by-side, and even invite their friends over all without you having to worry about your chairs. Benches are available in a dizzying array of beautiful styles, so you’re sure to find the right one that matches your aesthetic.
6.) Choose a Practical Dining Table
You’re unlikely to be able to avoid scuffs, dings, and rings on your dining table. With that in mind, skip high-gloss looks. Better choices include metal frames, rustic wood, painted wood, and reclaimed wood.
If your table starts out looking a bit worn, the wear and tear your own brood adds will only contribute further to a lived-in look—arguably adding to the authenticity of the piece instead of ruining it.
7.) Set Up a Side-by-Side Workspace
When your child is old enough to have homework, you’ll appreciate having a side-by-side workspace. This can be in your home office or anywhere in the home where you work.
By bringing them alongside you as you work, you’ll be able to supervise and assist without being entirely pulled away from your own projects. Additionally, your child will witness and learn your work habits and ethics as they develop their own!
8.) Opt for Versatile Bedroom Décor
If you decide to go all-in and decorate your child’s bedroom to the exact style they love at age 4, they’re unlikely to enjoy it much at age 10. Instead, stick with temporary wallpaper, removable decals, and hanging art. They can also express their interests through their bedspread and sheets.
When it comes to more substantial elements like paint, shelving, and furniture, we recommend sticking to neutral aesthetics that will complement your child’s tastes as they grow.
9.) Carve Out Miniature Magical Spaces
The great thing about kid-centric spaces is that they don’t have to be enormous to be magical. Set up a small play tent, convert a closet into a cozy getaway, or furnish a tucked-away corner with child-sized furniture and a pile of books.
You can show your child that you want them to relax and enjoy the house without turning your entire living room into a play space.
10.) Tile Your Bathroom Walls
Your child is going to get toothpaste, soap, and water everywhere as they learn the ins and outs of their hygiene routine. Rather than working to scrub bubble mint off painted walls, we recommend tiling as much of the walls as possible.
Tile is easy to clean, so you can begin to teach your child about wiping down the bathroom from a young age. Somehow, they’re more invested in avoiding huge messes once they have to help clean them up!
Ultimately, sharing a harmonious home with children will require you to embrace a perfectly imperfect aesthetic. The chaos they bring will only last for a season, and you’ll likely miss it a great deal when it has passed, but with our tips, you can create a harmonious home that feels welcoming to both the kiddos and their parents.