Chic and Approachable? Absolutely.
Home is where the heart is. When you have kids or grandkids, home is also where there may be fingerprints on the mirrors and Goldfish crackers under the sofa cushions. However, active children and chic, stylish décor are not mutually exclusive. You just need to be strategic. Here are some key considerations when designing for kid-friendly home décor.
A Focus on Durability
We’ve come a long way from covering sofas in plastic. Materials and fabrics that are easy to clean and can withstand wear and tear, like stain-resistant upholstery or washable slipcovers are your best bets.
Real Simple recently shared its picks for the best kid and pet friendly sofas. Burrow’s Block Nomad Sofa (above) is made up of an olefin fiber weave which is inherently scratch- and stain-resistant. The manufacturer also offers chaises and ottomans. Even if you choose the ivory color, you can rest easy when someone is perched on it with a sippy cup.
I also like the Issa Sofa in Marigold shown above. Can’t you picture that in a playroom with its sunny, cheerful hue? The fabric is velvet, which may not seem like an obvious choice but liquids won’t absorb quickly on it, giving you time to wipe up any accidents. There are 20 colors to choose from and the company offers a return policy of up to 365 days. (Also, you may recall last month, we discussed incorporating trendy geometrics into your interior design and softening the feel with velvet. Check out “Retro Geometrics in Interior Design” for details.)
Slipcovers are another way to spruce up an existing piece of furniture but also protect it from sticky fingers. You can use slipcovers on a sofa but you can also use them on ottomans and stools. They come in a variety of fabrics including cotton, microfiber, denim, polyester, linen, chenille, and faux leather. The microfiber, polyester and faux leather options are typically the most kid-friendly but most of these can be laundered to remove any stains. At Pamela Hope Designs, we like slipcovers that are made to fit your furniture. These can be an investment but they provide a custom look and can be used for many years. We have one client who orders a new set every 5-8 years. She washes them weekly on a sofa that had belonged to her mother and her grandmother before that. When you look at it that way, the return on investment is outstanding. Thanks to high-quality slipcovers, one piece of furniture is being used for generations!
For the walls, Joss & Main offers a variety of beautiful wallpapers that are also stain-resistant. There are a lot of charming peel and stick options on Etsy too. When a child grows out of Dinosaur Pink Girl Wallpaper, just peel it off.
Even paint is scuff-resistant nowadays. Benjamin Moore has an option called SCUFFF-X® that works for hotels and high-traffic areas, so it would certainly work for the 12 and under set.
Additionally, there are many flooring options that are durable and easy to maintain like wood, linoleum or cork. However, if you have carpeting already in place, it’s safer to deep-clean it than to replace it, according to the U.S. Green Building Council. Still, Pamela Hope Designs often recommends porcelain tile for flooring in homes with pets and children since this option doesn’t sacrifice good looks for durability.
Functionality is important for a variety of reasons but when there are kids — and their toys — it becomes a necessity. Multipurpose furniture can provide additional storage and its versatility gives it a longer shelf life.
A loft bed with railings (as shown above) is both a statement piece for kids and a way to maximize space in a room. You can even put their desk underneath the bed. For grandparents in a smaller home, a trundle bed is a great choice to accommodate overnight guests. The Daphne Upholstered Daybed with Trundle is one such option that can be used as a sofa during the day.
New parents may be familiar with convertible cribs and bureaus that also double as a changing table. But even as kids age, there are more double-duty furniture options, like this adjustable Desk/Table from Crate and Barrel.
Adequate storage is key for a kid-friendly home. Think coffee tables with lift-tops, ottomans with hidden compartments or bookshelves with bins for toys. I like the Sturdis Kids Organizer because of its versatility. It works well in a child’s room but teens could also use it to contain odds and ends.
Let Kids Add Their Stamp
Whether you’re redecorating a room or downsizing to another home, you want children and grandchildren to feel welcome. Involving kids in the decorating process and letting them have a say in the design of their own space is always a good idea and can be a lot of fun.
Maybe the youngsters don’t have the final say but finding out what matters to kids will give you ideas and give them a sense of ownership in the process. As an example, when House Beautiful Interviewed children about their fantasy rooms, Wyatt, age 4, said he wanted “green walls, an astronaut painting, a secret hiding spot, a cool chair, bunk beds, and lights that come out of the wall so that you can read at night.”
The designer’s interpretation? Reading light sconces near the bed and a space-age chair from a vintage dealer.
Other ways to personalize the space are by incorporating the kid’s artwork and displaying favorite books and toys. Chalkboard walls and pin boards are a fun way to let kids do their own decorating. We usually put these on a side wall that is a little more private so it’s not the focal point of the room.
Comfort is Key
Kid-friendly homes should be comfortable and inviting for both children and adults. Creating a designated play area is a way to make kids feel welcome in a new space. For grandparents, setting aside a specific area in your home for play and adding soft cushions, bean bags, and other comfortable seating options sets a good vibe. Consider the Yogibo Rainbow Max (below) as an inspiration piece.
I also like the idea of creating reading spaces (and not just for the youngsters!). This can be a small nook with a cozy chair and bookshelves, or even a over-sized bean bag in a quiet corner. Lemon & Kiwi has some really creative ideas for reading nooks. (Be sure to see the reading nooks elsewhere on our blog too.) I love the repurposed wardrobe. Narnia awaits.
Of course, it’s important to keep in mind the safety of children when selecting furniture and accessories. Sharp edges, heavy pieces that can tip over, and decorative items that may pose a choking hazard are all not advisable.
For grandparents who are downsizing and want to evaluate a home with grandchildren in mind, accessibility is an issue for young and old. Consider accessibility features like step-free entrances, wide doorways, and open floor plans to make it easier for all to move around and play.
Whatever your personal style, the goal for any kid-friendly space is for it to be an area you are proud to show off, not hide away. The less formal way many of us live now has given rise to so many options with furniture and décor. Home is where you put your heart, so it might as well reflect that in the most genuine way possible. To bring kid-friendly home décor to your abode, contact us to jumpstart the fun.