Designing for Kids

Remember your Grandmothers mother’s living room? The one with the delicate glass collection arranged just so on the cocktail table, the silk upholstery stretched taut on the uncomfortable armchairs and the white carpet she lovingly vacuumed every week? You know, the room the kids were forbidden from setting foot in — gone are these days. It’s time to keep the kids in mind when designing and decorating your home.

Consider How you Really Live: A room that looks beautiful but doesn’t take into account the demands of everyday family life will quickly be destroyed or end up not being used at all. Instead, incorporate a decorating style that will stand up to sibling food fights, vomiting babies, indoor hockey matches, incontinent pets and slobby spouses. Consider who you live with and decorate accordingly. Hint: That means checking the color of the stains on your sofa before choosing a hue for the new one.

Conquer the Clutter: It’s is an unavoidable part of family life, but that doesn’t mean it has to take over your home. Make storage a design element by tucking commodious baskets into empty corners and sliding attractive boxes into open shelves. Turn a closet floor into a toy bin, choose a double-tiered coffee table that can hold baskets or opt for a table with drawers.

Make Space: Carve out areas in common rooms for children to do the things they enjoy. After all, part of making your home family-friendly is welcoming kids (and their stuff) into shared spaces instead of relegating them to certain areas. If your family likes games, set up a game table and chairs in a corner of the family room, or opt for a large coffee table that everyone can gather around on game night. And remember, when there are things children are encouraged to touch, they’ll be less tempted to get into stuff they’re not.

Choose Indestructible Materials: When you have children, it makes sense to buy the best-made furniture you can afford. Look for heavy, solid furnishings and upgrade chair and couch cushions to spring down, which does an excellent job of holding its shape. These pieces will stand up to years of abuse and can be reupholstered once your children reach a more civilized age. As well opt for vibrant color, a bit of pattern and touchable texture. All help to camouflage the inevitable spills, fingerprints and other mishaps.

Don’t Wait to Decorate: Many families hold off on decorating until their children are older, making do with furniture for years after its expiration date because, well, the kids will just destroy anything else. But even the youngest children benefit from living amid beautiful objects; they grow to appreciate and respect them.

Don’t Forget your Teen: When brainstorming teen bedroom ideas, the most important thing to remember is that their bedroom is an expression of who they are. A teen will most appreciate their room as their mini, self-contained apartment where they can spend most of their time comfortably. While adults prefer a space that’s calm and understated, teens appreciate vibrant, high-energy rooms.

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