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Stylish Living with Kids

Living with kids requires a family room that works for the entire family, especially the kids. Finding the dècor balance between day-home style dècor and a white crystal palace for the parents is often difficult. It needs to look sophisticated - where grownups will want to hang out, as well as withstand the tornado of juice, toys, Lego pieces and crayons that children bring along with them. A family room that works for the entire family can be possible with a few simple ideas to incorporate into your home’s design.

Here are 4 tips to help your house stand up to living with kids:

1. If you have tile floors, hardwood or even wall-to-wall carpet, rugs are a great addition to any room. An inexpensive rug provides a soft landing for infants to lie on, crawlers and children learning to walk. Patterned rugs go a long way to help hide stains as well as adding pattern to the room.

2. Strong furniture. Slip covered sofas can be easily removed and washed, erasing the stress of minor spills. A lot of manufacturers will sell additional covers so you can replace it down the road for a fraction of the price of replacing the entire sofa. Darker colors will hide stains better; however, white can be bleached. Leather and outdoor fabrics are a durable option as well. Consider a sofa with attached pillows or a bench cushion.

3. Smart storage. Baskets and bins are your best friends. A coffee table with a lower shelf and/or drawers is a great place to hold baskets of toys. Open shelves can become attractive storage with fabric covered bins or wicker baskets. If you are worried about smaller kids getting hurt, an upholstered ottoman or round coffee table is a great choice. Most importantly, make sure the baskets and bins are kept at a low height on open shelves so children can help with the cleanup.

4. Accessorize out of children’s reach. Anything within four feet of the floor is no place for anything sentimental. Storage with doors on the bottom work great to keep toys and books together. Candle sticks, picture frames and heirloom items can sit safely on shelves above.

Top 5 tips for family-friendly design:

1. Create art from personal photos - this doesn’t always have to be portraits.

2. Display collections out of reach from small children.

3. The more storage, the better. Baskets, bins and cabinets help keep everything tidy.

4. Avoid kid-specific furniture. Instead, opt for furniture that can work double-duty such as a coffee table as a kids’ table.

5. Large items should be styled for adults but durable for the kids. Think slipcovers, leather, stain hiding patterns and easily cleaned.

I promise that living with kids can be both stylish and fun. Don’t put off having a home you love for a future day when the kids are out of the house. It’s not worth enduring to the end; enjoy what you have now!

Brooke is an interior designer and mom to three boys. You can read more of her ideas on her design blog,


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