I often hear from couples who tell me they have lost their home to their kids. Before children they had the typical DINKs lifestyle – a fashionable trendy home filled with the latest gadgets and gizmo’s, an active social life, an expensive petrol guzler 2 door sleek car, several weekend breaks away and a sun holiday every year.
Then along came the kids and chaos ensued!
The car was the first casualty almost immediately replaced with a sensible 5 door family saloon. The social life and weekend breaks became a very distant memory, all they had left was their lovely trendy home. But as babies turned into toddlers, Minimalist became Messyist; the living room floor became a railway track and the hall had a collection of shoes that Imelda Marcos would be proud of!
Now I can’t help you with the car, the holiday or even the social life. But I can help you to design a family home where the mortgage payer manages to claw back some of the living space.
Is it possible to have a stylish family home and young children? Of course it is
Use hard working furniture.
I’m sorry to break this to you, but if you have young children, your white silk sofa doesn’t stand a chance! But you can still have beautiful furniture. Just consider more durable fabrics that will take a bit of abuse. Heavy fabrics with a flat weave such as leather, wool, twill or velvet will withstand more abuse than lighter soft fabrics. And make sure you Scotch guard to protect against spills.
Wood, tiled or laminate floors will take a lot more abuse than a velvet carpet. While carpet is a great option for crawlers, it doesn’t stand up well when junior is trailing his bike through the hall. Soften large expanses of wood floors with a colourful rug.
If you do go for wall to wall carpet, choose a nylon blend which will wear well and ensure you invest in a stain resistance finish.
As beautiful as flat paint finishes are, they are probably not the best option when you have young children. Children will rub against walls, there will be scuff marks, shoe marks, hand prints and the remains of this mornings breakfast on your walls. Choosing a paint finish that you can wipe down with a sponge will more than compensate for sacrificing that flat finish.
Encourage their creativity
Children love to draw. Unfortunately sometimes they love to draw on the walls! But instead of scolding them for it, why not develop an area where they can explore their creative sides without turning your home into a graffiti studio. Ideapaint.com is a brilliant new paint finish which turns any wall into a dry erase board. It’s not just for kids either, I’m thinking of painting one of my office walls in it for an idea’s board.
Personalise their space.
Let’s face it, we all love our own personal space and we can become quite protective about it. Encourage your children to be protective about their space. Not in a selfish way but by personalising toy boxes, coat hooks, shoe boxes etc, you can encourage them to put their stuff away… and thus allowing you to reclaim some of your space back.
Image from Centsational Girl
Let them leave their mark!
Believe it or not, your kids can help you to create a stylish home. If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you will know that I am a big fan of displaying family photographs. There’s no better way to personalise your living space than by displaying something unique to you …… your family!
But don’t just stick them in a frame and plonk it on a coffee table. Have some fun with how you display your photos. Display a row of canvas prints on a large wall. Or choose a family event, or a black and white display. Instead of the kids just marking the walls, they can mark the walls
Image from Controlling Craziness
Multi functional furniture
Let’s face it for little guys, kids have a lot of stuff! But you don’t have to let their clutter infringe on all areas of your home. Incorporate storage boxes and baskets into your design scheme.
Use multi purpose furniture like a coffee table or footstool with a lift up lid will help keep a room clutter free and is a great way to quickly clear up if the need arises.
Make the space you have work harder for you. Click here to learn how to optimise the space you have and hide away the clutter.
Windows to the world.
Elegant pooled drapes may look beautiful but to children they are simply great hide and seek places or an indoor climbing frame. Before you know it, you end up with a curtain pole dangling precariously on one bracket and a jumbled mess of what was once beautiful fabric trailing on the floor.
Opt for clean no fuss window treatments like bamboo or wood slat blinds. Roman blinds are a great way to inject colour into your window treatments without being a temptation to children. And don’t forget to install a child safety catch on chains.
Don’t hide away your treasures
Don’t feel the need to hide away all your treasured ornaments and accessories. Ok so you don’t want them right in the line of fire, and make sure anything dangerous or precious is out of reach. But there is no need to look everything away in the “Good Room” that no one is ever allowed into. Yes things will occasionally get broken, but lets be honest, adults can break things too!
Don’t wait to decorate!
Many many people hold off decorating until their children are older on the assumption that the kids will destroy everything anyway. But if you haven’t decorated, you will have no appreciation of your surroundings. Children are no different, they learn to appreciate beauty by living with it. Involve them in the design process and create a home the whole family can enjoy.
So you see you don’t have to resign yourself to living in a day care creche once the kids arrive. Choosing clean lined casual furniture, wipe-able wall surfaces, no fuss window treatments, and by utilising plenty of storage you can have a trendy home and young children.
I hope you enjoyed this article, please leave a comment and let me know what you think.
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Hello and welcome to my BlogMy name is Karen Hughes and I'm an Interior Designer from Dublin, Ireland. I’m passionate about design and I started this blog as a way to connect with others just as passionate as myself. I tend to ramble on about all sorts of things, projects I’m working on, people, places and things that inspire me (and some that don’t). So put the kettle on, get comfy and settle in. I hope you enjoy your visit and don't forget to say hello. Visit my website to find out more about my services and view my work.
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