Interior design and even the most straightforward decoration can feel like a daunting task when kids are around. We’ve seen it many times, where families often dream of the day that they can change things up in the home without any danger of their time and money going to waste when the kids wreck everything in sight. Most people go with the relatively cheaper options for furniture, especially anything they expect the children to play on, while others just power through until the kids reach an age where they are less likely to make a mess!
We’ve had the same thoughts in the past, but decided that there were better things to do than just wait it out. After all, each day that passes in a home that is not decorated to your tastes is a day that you’re not making the most of the home that you love. Rather than letting it pass us by, we decided to set about putting together some great tips to make your house a home, while being as child-friendly as possible in the process.
1. Use Slipcovers to Protect Vulnerable Furniture
Slipcovers are handy at any time, even when there are no kids in the picture. Accidents happen, and adults can be just as susceptible to them as anyone else. The chances are that you can’t just put the sofa in the wash, and this is where these removable covers come in. We have sung their praises in the past too, as they are an ideal solution to freshen up any type of fabric furniture, but they really come into their own when kids are about. If you do suffer a spillage, remove the affected cover and put it in the wash – just keep a close eye on any exposed fabric until you get the opportunity to put the cover back on!
2. Try a Pre-Used Style
The sheer number of vintage and antique stores around are all the evidence you need that ‘old’ and ‘used’ can be styles of their own. As long as you can pull it off in such a way that it looks intentional, there is no harm at all in using pre-owned furniture. For starters, unless you buy genuine antiques from famous historical artisans, they are often cheaper than buying new. Secondly, any damage that your child can possibly inflict will add to the character of the piece rather than stick out like a sore thumb as it would on a brand new item.
3. Use Tubs and Baskets with Labels
If you’re anything like us, you like everything to have its place. While the kids can get out whatever they want to play with, they need to learn early on to put it away too. If you put some time and effort into your decisions, you can get hold of containers that enhance the look and feel of a room and complement other style choices, while doubling as the perfect storage space for all their items. Labels are crucial too, as they ensure that both you and the children know where things should go, making the eventual cleanup process much more manageable.
4. Use Trays Liberally
Trays can fill the same role as slipcovers on harder furniture, and we’re big fans. Anything that is out and on display but won’t end up being permanent should be placed on a tray, and you can take the opportunity to seek out trays that match or enhance your style choices. If you need a surface for something else, the tray and its contents can go elsewhere for the time being.
5. Go for Darker Colours
Even if you’re a bright and cheery person, there are likely to be darker colours that appeal, even if they are not as bright as you might normally go for. Design decisions aside, darker shades are simply better at hiding dirt and marks. Sticky fingers get everywhere, and you never know what your child might decide on being the ideal canvas for their latest work, so if you don’t plan to clean extensively, hiding the marks works wonders.
6. Get Everything in the Washable Variety
This goes for paint, wallpaper, fabrics and anything else. Mess will happen – it is inevitable – and you’ll have to clean up eventually, even with liberal use of darker shades. If you wipe a painted wall, you don’t want the paint to come off on your cloth, so go with the washable option when you decide to decorate.
7. Make Use of Wall Storage with Hooks and Shelves
You’ve probably reached a stage at some point where you’ve wondered where all these toys came from and, more importantly, where they can go. We speak extensively of using wall storage throughout the site, and it works well for kids too. Hooks are easy to use, even for little hands, and shelves can double as ideal storage space while keeping certain objects out of reach.
8. Make Space for them to Enjoy
Kids love personal space as much as anyone else, so if you can integrate quiet space into your design decisions, you’ll be able to reap the rewards. While not practical for every home, we recall a window seat that served this purpose really well in years gone by, but any dedicated, comfortable space should be high on the priority list.
9. Go Artificial
If you have any concerns at damage to plants and flowers or, worse still, the kids eating something they shouldn’t, then there is no harm in faking it until you make it. You’ll lose out on some of the benefits of introducing greenery into the home, but if visual appeal is the concern, you can stick with artificial versions that look just as good.
10. Make Space for Artwork
This is not the first time that we have mentioned the qualities of artwork as part of interior design, and it won’t be the last. With kids specifically, you should ensure that there is space for them to display their own pieces. It makes them feel more involved and at home, and while the quality can vary, it is often free!