Note from Cathy: Our next guest post while I’m on vacation is from Ethan with a great article on how to pick kid friendly furniture.
That’s why we can’t have nice things!” Have you ever said, or heard, this phrase in regard to kids and furniture? For many, having small kids can put a damper on your home’s sense of style. It doesn’t have to though! Even though kids can be (well…they are) messy, accident-prone, and unappreciative of fine things, there are a few ways to decorate and furnish your home that are both stylish and incredibly child-friendly.
The first thing you want to consider is whether your furniture is safe for curious kids. Early childhood is a time when exploration and curiosity severely outpaces carefulness and wisdom! But we love our kids anyway! They will learn with age. So, in the meantime make room for their wild spirit.
Avoid pieces with sharp edges or corners. Metal is typically an undesirable material because of its density and propensity to be really sharp. On the other hand, steer clear from tall glass vases or table tops that can be knocked over and/or shattered.
If you have rooms or pieces that you just love and can’t change, kiddie gates help tons of parents who are trying to keep the kids’ roaming range to friendly rooms. Also, keep low hanging décor, or small collectables on higher shelves or in rooms that are off limits.
Carpet is probably the best type of flooring for safety concerns, but it’s sometimes very hard to clean! If you have wood or tile floors (actually, even if you have great carpet), try to make generous use of area rugs for play areas and main living spaces. These are slip-proof, easier to clean than carpets and are usually more ornate, hiding stains when they come.
Next, ensure that your walls and furniture are easy to clean as well. The best materials for easy clean-up are leather, microfiber, and acrylic.
Leather is typically more expensive, but totally dominates messes. Since good leather (or even waterproof varieties of faux leather) doesn’t absorb moisture and dirt like most other upholstery, it makes for quick wipe-ups and offers a sleek and classy look for the style conscious parent.
Microfiber (what I use), has the appearance of suede or leather depending on the color but is a breeze to clean using either a wet rag or a cleaning agent (depending on the manufacturer’s recommendation). Microfiber is plush, offering maximum padding and comfort. Kids are sure to love this kind of material!
Acrylic is mainly used in outdoor furniture but, as a type of plastic fiber, it can be utilized as a woven fabric for throw pillows and seat cushions. It’s completely water proof and can be cleaned with a moist rag.
Beside flooring and furniture, another potential mess area that needs to be addressed are walls. With young kids, the writing is very often on the wall. A co-worker of mine offered a suggestion today that I had never considered. He said his wife turned him on to matte finish, a glossy spray coat for kids room walls (or any walls for that matter) that provides water-proofing, easy wipe-off for messes, and reduces glare.
Finally, consider how much space you have. To amplify your room’s area, look into furniture pieces that offer multiple functions or have increased levels of storage. This is huge! Ottomans that double as storage trunks, and coffee tables that are designed to also serve as kiddie play stations (there are some that actually offer cushioned seating that can be stored underneath) are really handy. Storage is especially handy for quick pick-up.
Chances are, it’s hard to keep your house as clean as you would like, especially if you have guests coming over….in 5 minutes! Having plenty of attractive and multi-functional storage space allows you to quickly hide toys and other objects until you have the time put everything where it belongs!