I see it all the time: busy families living in hectic, pieced-together, stressful homes that have no intentional style or design. Mamas who have resigned themselves to waiting for their dream home until 1) they can afford it & 2) there are no kids in the house to ruin their nice things!
Why do we let children make us feel like we don’t deserve to love where we live? And why do we convince ourselves that our children can’t coexist in the house we really want- so we let them dictate our lifestyle? (I feel like we could draw this line of questioning out WAY further than home decor… but that’s outside my realm of expertise, so I’ll leave that to the other professionals.) Now, back to your home design dreams. :)
I’m going to give you 5 simple ways to improve the style in your home while also keeping it kid-proof! Kid-proof in our house means that my entire family can live in our home, they are comfortable, relaxed, and can access everything they need. It is organized in a way that is clear and easy to navigate for each person (grown-ups and 5-year-olds, too!).
1. Don’t over-invest in your home before your lifestyle can allow for it
What I mean by this is that the first thing you need to establish is what is the standard of living that you are willing to uphold in your home. Do you religiously make everyone take off their shoes at the door? Or do you sometimes like to have “couch-dinners” (my daughter LOVES to have special dinners while watching a movie on the couch!)?
The standard of living that you are willing to uphold sets the stage for the types of items you have in your home and the future design choices you make! A very formal home filled with expensive furniture can be so beautiful, but if it adds stress and friction to the lives of the people who live there- (in my honest opinion) the beauty isn’t worth it!
Work on setting the stage in your home so that the design and decor supports the type of life you want to live.
2. Introduce a simple color palette so you can quickly dress up a space without scrambling
When I’m working on bringing the design of a home together, I always focus on only THREE main colors. A light neutral, a dark(er) neutral, and an accent color.
When there are 4 or more colors in a room that are competing for your attention, your eyes become fatigued and confused, and aren’t able to really take in the entire space. Adding backpacks, extra shoes, the dog leash, Legos, and art supplies…. and that is one HECTIC place to live!
Simplifying the color palette of your homes is a simple way to begin updating and adding peace to your home without making a huge change with furniture or decor.
3. Choose floor coverings that are washable and withstand foot traffic
I love dark wood floors and white area rugs. I’ve heard over and over- how in the world do you keep your rugs clean? Do you just keep the kids in their rooms or in the basement? (Ha! no way, Jose!)
My tip for purchasing rugs that will stand up to all of the foot traffic, shoes, food, pets, etc- is to choose indoor/outdoor quality rugs that are made from synthetic materials. If it says “can be sprayed with a hose” - EVEN BETTER! Now, I don’t take my living room rug outside and literally spray it with a hose. BUT- I do soak it with soap and water when it is inevitably spilled on, and scrub it when needed (WITHOUT freaking out about ruining the carpet).
4. Be sure pillow cases, throws, and other covers are washable and dry-able for easy clean up
Pillow cases and throws are one of the easiest ways to update the decor of a space. They are relatively affordable, can be removed and washed (hello- couch dinners!) and can also be updated and changed for seasonal decor if you want to refresh your decor. Pay close attention to the care instructions for pillow cases (Dry Clean Only is NOT ALLOWED in my house! LOL).
Also check the care instruction of sofa and chair cushions when you’re investing in new furniture. All of the seat and back cushions on our couch are machine washable. A quick wash and dry, and the couch looks brand-new!
5. Designate kid spaces and be mindful that EVERY thing in the room is kid-proof
The final component to planning a kid-proof home design is that you are clear in your home where each activity belongs, and where all of the people “fit” in your home.
I talk with clients about 3 stages of a room design:
People & Purpose / Function & Flow / Design & Details
In each of the stages of designing a room, consider how your kiddos will fit in your home. What spaces do they live in the most? Where do they need self-guided access to their belongings? Can you help put systems in your home to encourage them to learn? grow? help you keep your home clean and organized? ;)
Every home functions differently, and my kids need different systems than yours. But by being intentional about making home design WORK to support your lifestyle can help every day tasks be smoother and less stressful.