It’s the often very difficult choice that parents have to make when it comes to choosing new decor or furniture for their home – how to choose something that is stylish, but also practical and family-friendly? Mum and dad might have a long time love for all things white and minimalist, however do they take the risk and invest in that swoon-some designer white sofa for their newly redecorated living room or settle for the more run-of-the-mill design that won’t show up those grubby fingermarks and milk spills?
Although it’s completely understandable that as parents we don’t want to let go of our personality and sense of style just because we have chosen to have a family, with a little extra consideration and the right choices, you can create a sophisticated, stylish space, that is also kid-friendly.
Here are some pointers to help you on your way…
1. Choosing Your Sofa
When choosing a sofa, opt for heavy wear fabrics e.g. tweed or leather (especially if you love the lighter colours!) and always purchase the stain guard package! Opt for well constructed designs that will last for years even with family wear and tear; extra long sizes are good for growing families, too. Stick to modern, sophisticated lines to ensure your sofa still looks stylish even when upholstered in a heavier duty fabric.
2. Opt for a Patterned Rug
Whether it’s a kilim, nevajo, geometric or moroccan rug that you covet, a floor covering with a graphic or patterned design will not only conceal all manner of spills; it also looks super stylish and adds a pop of bright colour, ideal for a family room. When younger children are at play on the floor, it serves as a soft surface for them to sit on during the day, however a low coffee table can be moved back into place come evening when parents finally have time to relax.
3. Consider Flooring
It is best to go for good quality hard flooring, which is easy to keep clean (think concrete, wood, laminate, tiles), but avoid white or very dark floors as they show up the dirt more readily! If carpet is your choice, avoid light or cream carpets unless they’re very hard wearing and keep to bedrooms or lesser used rooms and away from high traffic areas, such as hallways or living rooms – until the kids are older, at least!
4. Mix Old with New
Thrift shop pieces of furniture (coffee tables, chests of drawers etc), which are often more durable and of superior quality to today’s mass produced furnishings, can be picked up relatively inexpensively, so you’re much less concerned about the odd scrape or scratch on it as a result of normal family life. In addition, vintage and retro pieces can add much-needed character and interest to a modern setting.
5. Keep Windows Simple
Avoid fussy window treatments that are hard to keep clean. Linen is a good choice of fabric, as it looks good with creasing, but don’t go too light as it will undoubtedly show up grubby handprints! Roman blinds let lots of natural light flood in and can be quickly folded up and out of the way during the day, however beware of hanging cords and their danger to small children. Venetian blinds just gather dust – you don’t have time to clean them constantly!!
6. Up the Cosy Factor
Add cushions and throws to layer the look and for cosy family nights in front of a movie. Children love being wrapped up in a blanket at story time or when watching TV, so you may as well use your good wool blankets that will look equally good folded over the arm of the sofa when not in use! Don’t be afraid of bold pattern and colour in your soft furnishings; again they are less likely to show signs of wear and tear and they add a fun element to the decor, that keeps it from feeling too stuffy and formal.
7. Plastic Fantastic
Design-led pieces of furniture are often made from heavy duty plastics or fibre glass in bold colours and clean lines, so look effortlessly stylish and trendy, whilst being scratch resistant and easy to wipe clean. Bonus!
7. Wall Art
Keep the overall look fun, quirky and full of your family’s personality with a selection of brightly coloured canvases or framed prints dotted around the walls. You can mix your own children’s artwork in if you like, but be careful it doesn’t start to look like a messy kindergarten wall – choose funky frames or even strips of washi tape for a fun, but organised display.
Have you managed to achieve the perfect balance of keeping your living room design stylish, yet kid-friendly? I’d love to hear your ideas!
(Article updated 23/02/2017)