No one should have to sacrifice good interior design simply because younger children are present. And there’s no reason a beautiful living space can’t also be functional and practical. The key is in finding that happy compromise between adult sophistication and child-like playfulness.
1) Keep things safe
The goal is to be able to set a drink down on any item, and to not worry about any possible collision with hard surfaces. Obviously no sharp edges or choking hazards. But other than that, a good rule of thumb is to only have usable furniture. Nothing should be too fussy or expensive, or feel like it’s “off-limits,” especially if you live in a small space.
Try replacing your living room coffee table with a cushioned ottoman. And use low furniture, like this modern inspired leather couch. This way, you can comfortably lean against the sofa while playing with toys on the floor, and if the kids ever do stumble off of the sofa, they don’t have very far to fall. And as a bonus, it’s much harder for toys to get lost underneath.
2) Keep things out of reach
With small children, anything below waist-level is liable to break. So all the valuable decor needs to be either removed or placed out of their reach. Keep items secure in a high floating shelf or, if you’re unwilling to put away that antique porcelain vase, use a clear museum gel to secure any breakables. Maybe use that fancy wallpaper on the ceiling to avoid any damage, and turn the ceiling into a cool focal point.
3) Display the toys
Why spend money on impersonal decor when you have a steady supply of arts and crafts at home? Frame your kids’ masterpieces in a colorful wall gallery, create a children’s books display, or store art supplies in rustic containers. These touches add character and style to your interior design in addition to celebrating your family.
4) Add bright colors
Incorporating bright colors into your interior design scheme make the baby toys seem less incongruous with the rest of the room. Because let’s be real--kids are never happy about tidying up their belongings, and toys will inevitably end up everywhere. And as much as we would like our children to develop an affinity for minimalist, natural toys, kids will always gravitate towards bright colors.
Embrace it, and camouflage the Frozen 2 play sets with colorful throw pillows and accent walls. Protip: stick to a single high-contrast color palette, like blue and yellow, or orange and green. For more info, the Learning Hub has a great post on color contrast in design.
5) Plan for stains
Dirt happens. And the easiest way to keep your kid-friendly space looking clean is to incorporate a shabby chic, eccentric look. Think modern farmhouse.
In short, work to hide stains not prevent them. Trade white and light-colored rugs for darker shades. Switch out solid colors for vibrant patterns. Add outdoor chairs to your interior design. And opt for more durable fabrics like vinyl or polyester blends. Another great option, if you’re able to spend a bit more, is leather. Leather is easy to wipe clean, and any scratches will only make the piece look more weathered and antique.
Remember: a kid-friendly interior design doesn’t necessarily mean childish. And kid-proof decor can be both safe and appealing.