Kid-friendly and chic don’t have to be mutually exclusive. You don’t have to fill your home with leather La-Z-Boys and create décor out of legos and play-doh just because you have a few toddlers running around the house. In fact, it’s actually fairly easy to design a home that’s safe, durable, and stylish. It just takes a little creativity, common sense, and advanced planning. For all of our fellow moms out there, we tapped the super-stylish Layla Lisiewski of GreenwichMoms.com to share her best tips for designing a home that’s both pretty and practical.
Take it away, Layla!
Hide it in plain sight. One of the first things that comes to mind when decorating a house with kids is storage, storage, and more storage! How much do you have, where is it, and how can you make more…there’s always more room somewhere. It’s necessary and so helpful to maximize every bit of space that you can.I love trunks, big chests, and storage benches. Built in storage like our window benches opening up is a great way to take advantage of otherwise wasted space, and have a place for all of your little ones belongings….including the little toy parts that you can’t keep track of otherwise.
Cut corners. Another extremely important design factor for homes with kids is coping with sharp corners. I would honestly suggest avoiding them all together but we can’t live our lives in plastic and bubble wrap now can we? Not only that, but you can only have so many cushioned ottomans in your house. Luckily, there are soft corner guards for the furniture that simply doesn’t come with round corners. To safely make the most of your furniture, use clear corner guards to keep them from standing out and distracting from the furniture itself. Safety 1st corner guards are wonderful because they stick well and don’t leave residue when removed.
Choose practical fabrics. Opt for fabrics and upholstery in patterns and dark colors, especially for surfaces that see a lot of use. Our ottoman is reupholstered in a navy blue Sunbrella fabric, for example, and it was the best decision we made. If you can’t shake your love of light colors, slip covers and easily washable fabrics are key.
Say goodbye to the breakables. Fragile items may be lovely to look at but too dangerous for little hands. The way around this one is plain and simple, keep them out of reach or in a cabinet that locks. Most of our wedding gifts are made of glass and crystal. We probably won’t see them for a few years but at least they’re out of harms way, and you don’t have to worry about the moment when your toddler breaks something special by accident…which creates an unhappy situation for all. We also recommend avoiding glass tables all together. If you can’t resist showing off your favorite ceramics, keep them on a high shelf.
Accept the chaos. get comfortable with the idea that your entire house may look like one big playroom for a few years. It will. Embrace it and create a home the whole family can enjoy. I simply don’t have it in me to tell my kids that a room is off-limits nor do I have the energy to police the boundaries. To create a comfortable, safe shared space (that doesn’t look like an explosion at Smart Kids), consider what you can do to make clean up a breeze. This will help keep you sane, and also creates an opportunity for kids to help put things away, and for them to have their “own” special space for their favorite toys.
Take the experience as it comes. Sometimes it seems like my toddlers and my passion for good design are oil and water. My daughter found the one corner of a side-table that wasn’t padded…with her head. My son found the edge of a step stool that my daughter had taken the safety strip off of…with his lip. We can take all the safety measures we want, but accidents happen. The most important thing is to learn from these experiences and tailor your decor accordingly.
Buy second-hand. You’re a lot more likely to be upset about a ruined sofa that costs the equivalent of a year’s college tuition that you will be about an Ikea version, but that doesn’t mean you have to be relegated to particle board furniture until your kids are in middle school. Buying second-hand allows you to get stylish, quality furniture without the huge price tag. It’s the best of both worlds.
Visit GreenwichMoms.com for more great advice, ideas, and resources for moms in Fairfield County!