Creating a family-friendly home

Think of your grandmother’s house.

There was probably an entire room that was off-limits to pretty much everyone other than her. It had delicate porcelain knickknacks sprawled out on the shelves. It had that incredibly uncomfortable satin couch, and remember those fancy lamps with dangly tassels that would snag on anything within five feet?

Well, unless you’re blessed with an abundance of rooms in your home with space to spare, what Grandma had going on there is a big decorating don’t.

But just because modern families typically forgo formal living areas doesn’t mean that you have to live without sophistication and style. Today’s smart and savvy families want to live somewhere in the middle. They seek attractive style, but they also need durability. They want furniture that will last forever, but they don’t want it to look like they’ve had it forever.

Here are four family-friendly decorating tips to help your home go the long haul.

  1. Choose indestructible furniture materials. Velvet, satin and silk are all beautiful materials, but with little ones around, you need something that can be cleaned easily and something that won’t show wear and tear. Consider shopping synthetics like Microfiber or Ultrasuede for truly indestructible furniture. If you haven’t looked at the styles lately, you’ll be shocked to see what modern furniture makers have come up with in way of chic designs. Leather, denim and canvas are also great for growing families. They resist wear and can easily be wiped clean of most messes. Stick with darker colors or fabrics with a pattern and hard woods to help camouflage spills, avoid dents and dings, and keep it looking fresh for decades to come.
  2. Don’t wait to furnish. Yes, that couch will have it’s cushions used as a fort, and that chair will definitely be used as a second base, but these aren’t reasons to put your home furnishings on hold until your children get older. Solid furnishings are made to handle whatever your children can throw at them — literally. The cheap furniture that you will be tempted to buy just isn’t worth your time. It will end up broken and in the landfill in just a few years, costing you more overall than if you just went with the good stuff in the first place.
  3. Carve out a space for kids. Making a family-friendly home does include kids after all, so if you can, create a room just for them. You’ll be supporting their hobbies and giving them a safe space to explore their creativity. Furniture in this room might be sparse, but do decorate with a few cozy pieces where kids can curl up with a book. Maybe a coffee table, where kids can play boardgames, or an area with plenty of outlets and a central computer stand for your high-tech family. When kids have a space of their own, they’re less tempted touch things they’re not supposed to.
  4. Don’t skimp on storage.  Every family has clutter. It’s how a family prepares for that clutter that can make all the difference in how a home looks and feels. Consider built-in storage for every possible room in your home. Shoe cubbies in the mudroom. Window seats with lift up lids in in the living and dining room. Coffee tables and TV media consoles with plenty of drawers. Get the ottoman with interior storage and the trunks as end tables. Finish with plenty of hooks and baskets in the kids’ areas. It may sound like a lot of storage now, but your future self will thank you.