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Decorate With Intention and Keep Your Design

First it is the tiny plastic outlet covers, then security gates and cabinet locks, and all of a sudden your not-so-little one is clambering over the furniture and creating “art” on the walls, walls and anywhere else crayons can reach. Rugs become crusted with Play-Doh keyboards become destroyed by uncontrolled juice drinking, and quite soon you start to wonder if you’ll ever have a trendy, pulled-together home again. The short answer is, yes. It could take a little bit of extra planning and creative thinking, but there are some great ways to build an elegant home which caters to kids’ needs. Here are 10 ways to get started.

Alice Lane Home Collection

1. Pair contours that are formal with fabrics. Tailored furniture contours (such as wingback chairs and tuxedo couches) feel fancier than loose, overstuffed pieces, which means that your distance will immediately feel more pulled together. The trick is having them covered with hardworking cloths: black or black colours, tough natural materials such as linen and burlap, and stain-repellant cloths will hold up well against shoes, crayons and food spills.

Keep some stain remover on hand as well and be ready to live with a little bit of imperfection. We are living in the real world, not a museum — and it is far more fun like that!

Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

2. Know that leather upholstery is a kid-friendly option. Go ahead and get that sleek leather sofa or armchair you had your eye on, because it is actually among the easiest stuff to care for. Spills wipe right up, and a little wear and tear only makes it look better. Light-colored leather may stain more readily, and quite delicate leather may get straightened, but otherwise there is not much to be worried about.

One of my favorite leather pieces is that the superversatile Moroccan pouf (displayed here). Employed as a footrest, a coffee table or extra seating, it may fit in anywhere.

Pottery Barn

Tauna Recycled Yarn Kilim Indoor/Outdoor Rug – $49

3. Make the most of the new indoor-outdoor rugs. Many of the new carpets (such as the one shown here) are made from recycled plastics and can withstand spills with ease but look just like the real deal. Save yourself a lot of hassle by utilizing these virtually indestructible rugs in areas that have a lot of usage or are likely spill zones: the kitchen, dining room, entryway and playroom.

Kendall Wilkinson Design

4. Use walls and spaces. Fragile vases and table lamps could be out once you have young kids at the house, but you only have to look up to locate your new design playground. Bold, deep wall color; elaborate sconces and chandeliers; art; wall-mounted sculpture and any other wall decor pieces you may put your hands on are fair game. Have a assortment of breakable trinkets? Install high shelving over doorways and windows to display your treasures from reach of small hands.


5. Go for wicker and rattan. They can take a beating and still look great. To get that simple-chic French country look (that is also resistant to spills), search out sturdy pieces in antiques, antiques or sea grass, along with wood, tile and washable all-natural fibers such as cotton and linen.

Kathleen Walsh Interiors, LLC

6. Bring outside fabrics in. The selection of patterns and colours available for outside cloths has expanded tremendously in recent years, making these sturdy fabrics much more appealing to use inside. Try them on dining seats, cushions at a breakfast nook or even on a sofa.

Escale design

7. Borrow design ideas in the wee ones. An indoor swinging chair is suddenly cool and fun for everyone, and chalkboard walls are only as easy for jotting down menus and shopping lists since they are for doodling. Get creative and invite a sense of play in your home; you could be surprised by what you produce.

Economy Interiors

8. Pick pre-assembled pieces for small ones’ spaces. In regards to designing a nursery or kid’s room, I tend to veer away from furniture aimed specifically at kids. Real, grown-up furniture and lighting are perfectly suitable in a child’s space and will last much longer than some thing with a cutesy motif. Insert the fun and whimsy with artwork and accessories rather.

Economy Interiors

9. Set the stage for a fashionable future with wallpaper, lighting and more. Just as with all the furniture, it makes sense to decorate the casing of your child’s space in a way which will nonetheless feel appropriate a couple of years in the future. Gender-neutral color schemes and prints generally have the most staying power whether you’ve got a boy or a woman. You may always tilt the decoration in another direction with your selection of bedding, nightlight, hamper and other accessories.

The yellow wallpaper and bright green overhead light create a fun, graphic statement in this nursery. The neutral area rug and grey door will be easy to blend into a brand new scheme if tastes change in a couple of years’ time.

10. Produce immediate elegance with symmetry. Matched pairs of decor or furniture arranged symmetrically make any space feel more pulled together — an especially remarkable effort in an impossible-to-keep-clean kids’ room. Even if toys and clothes are flung all over the area, when you glance into your mind will register the pair of stylish upholstered headboards and crisp window shades, and you may tell yourself it is OK to ignore the rest, at least for now.


Tell us we would like to hear about your experience creating a family dwelling. How do you balance the truth of kids with design? What thoughts (or belongings) have you needed to let go of, and what have you gained? Join us at the Comments section to talk about your stories and thoughts.

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