When it comes down to it, we all want that magazine worthy home where everything looks put together and perfectly styled. But planning and then executing a well styled home can seem daunting, especially when kids are thrown into the mix. It’s true, finding that balance between practical family needs and beautiful elements you love is difficult. But not impossible! You may not believe us but you don’t have to sacrifice good design for comfort just because you have exuberant children! Read on to find out how…
1. Consider your family
We all remember that one room in our grandmother’s house we were never allowed to go in. And ultimately, it never got used by ANYONE. Your home shouldn’t be sectioned off! All spaces should be livable and welcoming. So consider your family’s needs and incorporate a design style that will take into account any tent building, movie nights or indoor soccer games. Then, if the kids are old enough, involve them in the process! They may really enjoy looking at paint swatches or shopping for a new sofa. Then, if you’re lucky, they might even feel some ownership and pride at their new space and think twice about coloring the brand new white wall (here’s hoping! lol!)
2. Choose the right materials and finishes
With a little know-how, your selections can really make a difference in having a well styled, yet indestructible home. Here are some examples:
Need to be durable! Look at heavier fabrics with a flat weave or synthetic fibers added in for extra longevity. Some really great options include leather (or even pleather), ultrasuede, twill or wool. There are even some great velvet options that are quite resilient. If the manufacturer or upholsterer offers a stain resistant finish, then take them up on that. Another option? Go for slipcovers and pillow covers that can easily take a spin in the washing machine. Remember: color and pattern will always help to disguise the stains!
Walls will surely take some dings over the years. But don’t be afraid of that or think that white is completely off the table. Make sure high traffic areas are painted with an eggshell, semi-gloss or satin finish, which is super wipeable. Have extra paint on hand for touch-ups and stock some magic erasers for a quick cleaning here or there.
They need to be practical. A slippery glazed porcelain tile in a bathroom, for instance, may be problematic for little wet feet. If you are renovating, try choosing flooring that is both wipeable and grippable. Wood floors that are hand scraped or wire brushed have more texture and tend to hide the scratches and dents better. Remember too, the darker you go, the more will show! For grout lines, a medium tone works best to disguise the grime. If you’re needing some carpet for comfort, nylon and wool-nylon blends are soft, wear well and are more stain resistant.
Rugs can make all the difference. They soften a space and inject some style – plus they can disguise ugly or damaged floors! Fabrics like jute, sisal or wool are great for adding texture and they are so durable. Nowadays, there are some really stylish indoor/outdoor options as well, and these are meant to be put through the elements! We’re also obsessed with carpet tile – order a couple extra “tiles” for when that one stain just won’t come out. And again, the busier the pattern, the less likely you’ll be able to see that spilled juice.
3. Find the right furniture
After considering your material, think about your actual furniture choices. We recommend authentic and classic choices rather than trendy, “of the moment’ pieces. It’s better to invest in something that is solid and well-crafted that will stand up to years of hard use than to go with that knock off piece that will more than likely journey to the landfill in no time. That well-loved vintage wood dining table for instance? We can guarantee the scratches and dents will tell a beautiful story and just add to the character. Some other tips: opt for rounded corners to avoid some bruises or find a great ottoman with a tray to act as your coffee table. Poufs also help to pull a space together and can easily move around the room to accommodate that impromptu dance recital.
4. Storage is king
We’ve all been in that home that basically looks like a daycare – hey that might even be you! But clutter doesn’t need to take over your home. You just need to get creative with storage. The most stylish option in our books is the trusty basket because it becomes an actual design element. And that added texture is always a plus. You can find furniture that doubles as storage, utilize closets to their max and install some pretty hooks at the kids’ level so they can get involved in being organized. Then get a handle on the toys and prioritize what is actually needed in which space. Maybe the bigger toys can be housed in the less high traffic areas and only the favourites are out in the living room, for instance.
5. Corral the creativity
Nothing should be static when it comes to creativity. Have one spot in the house for a rotating gallery wall of current kids artwork, a think board or chalkboard to encourage creative moments or a dedicated workspace tucked away for that budding artist. It’s important to display your kids’ artwork but they don’t need to take over the whole house.
6. Accessorize just the same
Kids that grow up with house plants, coffee table books, and candles positioned within reach will definitely touch them, don’t get us wrong. But we think that should be encouraged. Eventually it becomes normal to them and they may even grow to respect and appreciate those small details. So go ahead and accessorize with the tchotchkes and pieces you love, and if something is overly precious, position it higher and feel happy with your styled shelfie!