We all love the idea of a stylized yet classic home. Something that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Home and Garden cover. The idea of this can often feel impractical, with the vibrancy of our families taking up our space – in a beautiful and often chaotic way. Kids are messy, clumsy, and they mean a lot more ‘stuff’ in your home! ‘Stuff’ tends to take up a lot of space. And the living room is a space in your home that gets a lot of traffic. From visitors to family night, you want a living room where everyone feels comfortable. To keep your living room looking lived in, without looking like a disaster zone, check out these tips. We can help you design a kid-friendly home that everyone in the family can enjoy.
1. Slipcovers and Kid Friendly Surfaces
Kids spill things. They have accidents. They tend to get their hands in sticky concoctions that end up on the floors, the walls, and every available surface of your home. Make cleanup easy for yourself, by getting some kid-friendly, easily wipeable furniture. Leather is a great option for kid-friendly furniture. It’s more expensive, but it can be wiped down easily with a damp cloth and tends to be more durable than a lot of upholstered furniture. If you really need to go with upholstery, or you inherited some light-colored furniture, invest in slipcovers. If you find any spills or stains, it’s as simple as taking them off the cushions and tossing them in the wash. Finally, make sure your rug is as forgiving as your furniture. Synthetic fibers stain easily and are expensive to clean. Switching to a natural fiber rug can save you a bundle when it comes time to steam clean, and will stay looking brighter for longer.
2. Use Clever Storage Tricks
Versatile furniture doesn’t just mean stain-proof. Keeping your living room kid-friendly doesn’t have to mean having a mass of toys and activity tables out at all times. Instead, find yourself some furniture that does double-duty. Installing built-in shelving that can be covered with a curtain or cupboard door is one way to get rid of the clutter in the living room. Furniture with built-in storage, such as an ottoman or side table could be the perfect place to hide toys and games. And using deep wicker baskets instead of Tupperware containers to hold your toys, activities, odds and ends, allows you to stay organized and eliminate clutter, without compromising on the style, or the functionality of your family room.
3. Safety First
Obviously, families with kids need to be worried about safety. If your living room is where you keep your home entertainment system, be sure to clip and hide cords where you can, so that pets and small children can’t reach them. Cover all outlets. Instead of square tables and couches, go with round ottomans, rounded coffee tables and similar. Rounded corners are less dangerous for running, playing and roughhousing. Not that that’s the behavior you need to encourage, but it helps to know the worst is less likely when you have furniture that doesn’t have any sharp edges. Rounded corners also tend to take up less space, and are easier to maneuver into smaller areas.
4. Clean Air Is A Must
You may not be a smoker, but an air purifier for second-hand smoke is still a great addition to your home. Whether you have friends who smoke, or there is smoking at your workplace, you can easily find second-hand smoke gets into your clothes and hair. If you smoke outside, there’s still a chance of bringing second-hand smoke in your home. Even if you quit months ago, smoke may still be hanging around your home. A good quality HEPA air filter can help remove 99% of airborne dust, allergens, and odors from your home. Good news if you or someone in your family suffers from allergies or asthma – and it’s a lot better for the upholstery than a potted plant!
5. Space For Everyone
In an open-plan living space, it’s a good idea to have designated spaces. Setting aside an area of the room specifically as a play-friendly space, with kid-sized furniture and toys readily available can help you keep the rest of your open-plan living space free of clutter. Use color and furniture placement to designate a kid-friendly space. Setting down a kid-friendly area rug is a great way to designate a space for your kids. Getting them involved in decorating and organizing the room helps them feel that they belong in the space.
6. …and Everyone Welcome
While having specific kid-friendly areas in your home is a good idea to keep clutter down while still making room for your kids (and their toy collection!) to play and grow, your kids shouldn’t feel that they’re stuck in the kid zones at home. Give your living room a kid-friendly feel with brighter colors, and some fun, colorful artwork, to give it a less serious note. Get a cozy rocker or glider, for reading, napping, or just a nice cuddle during movie or family game night. You can even DIY your own pet couch, by taking a side table, removing the door and shelving, and lining it with upholstery and a pet bed. With these little touches, the whole family can enjoy the room, whether it’s playtime, family time, or time to do some entertaining with your more grown-up friends.
Your living room is one of the busiest areas in your home. It should be welcoming to everyone. To make an ideal family space, it doesn’t need to be a kids playroom. Certain precautions should be taken to keep kids safe and keep your furniture (and your house!) safe too. Stay in style and create a welcoming living space for a family of all ages with these tips for a family-friendly living room. It’s sure to make your next family movie night a great time for everyone!