Family-Friendly Home Design Do’s & Don’ts
Decorate your home with a family in mind using these design do’s and don’ts that are kid-friendly and adult approved.
DON’T: Use High-Maintenance Fabric
When choosing upholstered furniture, take the time to research and find a fabric or material that is stylish, but resistant to spills, stains and snags. Popular choices include leather and microfiber, which are great high-performance fabrics. Also keep in mind that tight-weave fabrics tend to be more snag-proof than looser weaves like tweed.
One fabric that is often overlooked as overly fussy for family use, but actually shouldn’t be, is velvet. As crazy as it sounds, velvet is actually very kid-friendly. Besides being quite beautiful — soft, polished and lush-looking — it’s not easily snagged and provides more spill-resistance than most fabrics.
DO: Provide Low Seating Options
Kids love seats that are low to the floor, so it’s a good idea to incorporate some low seating alternatives for them. Luckily, there are a lot of fun options to choose from: stylish poufs, beanbag chairs, floor cushions, low-profile sofas. Poufs are especially effective, as they provide texture and warmth in any room, but are completely safe. It’s almost impossible for kids to get hurt on or around them.
DON’T: Put a Rug Under the Kitchen Table
If cleaning crusted food and spilled drinks off of rugs isn’t your idea of a fun time, it might be smart to just do away with a rug under the kitchen table altogether. It’s true that rugs can bring warmth to a room, but it may not be worth the hassle when dealing with the inevitable stains and messes that are bound to happen with kids. Bare floors make messes a cinch to clean — just sweep or wipe.
DO: Tables With Easy to Wipe Surfaces
Dining tables make popular spots for crafts and other creative activities. Because of this, it might be worth choosing a table with an easy-to-wipe surface. One great option to consider is a glass tabletop, since they make markers and glue easy to clean up. Glass tables are also a snap to wipe down after messy meals.
DON’T: Crowd High-Traffic Areas
Try not to clutter up high-traffic spaces with too much furniture and decor. Since entryways and family rooms are prone to congestion and chaos, make it a point not to overfill them with non-essential decor, like extra accent tables and lamps.
DO: Consider a Banquette
Banquettes are a powerful solution for dealing with wiggly, squirmy kids during mealtime, and they’re especially good for increasing seating capacity in limited spaces. As an added bonus, try to find a banquette that allows for storage under the seats.
DON’T: Cut Corners on Kitchen Counter Space
As a popular gathering spot for families, kitchens benefit from designated counter space for kids to sit and snack, draw, talk or help out with meal prep. In addition, consider incorporating comfy stools that encourage family members to congregate and make memories.
DO: Pick Furniture That Ages Well
Seek out and invest in furniture that will age well and improve with wear and tear — like vintage items or leather upholstery. You want pieces where nicks and dents won’t be very noticeable, and will actually add to the inherent charm. Examples would be vintage metal bins or shelving made from distressed wood.
DON’T: Scrimp on Storage
You can never have enough storage in a home with children — bring in all the cubbies, bins, baskets and consoles! Mudrooms and family rooms are especially sensitive because that’s where most kid gear is found. The goal is to have beautiful storage pieces that are functional and can be used to hide kid stuff in a hurry when guests drop in on short notice.
DO: Use Closed Storage
When shelves overflow with toys and games, they can be an eyesore and make it look like the kids have completely taken over your space. The simple solution is to incorporate more closed storage, which reduces visual chaos. A balanced mix of open and closed storage is probably the best option, allowing kids to see some of their toys as well as easily help clean up.