When I became a mom 16 months ago (but, who’s counting, right?), my home design and decor choices changed right along with my new lifestyle. My first priority is certainly now my child; however, I still have a need to take pride in my home and be surrounded by beautiful furnishings. There is an art to achieving the balance of a beautiful home with kid-friendly decor, and these are my tips to help you get there:
- Outdoor Fabric Indoors: I know; this sounds crazy. There are a few furniture lines that now offer outdoor fabric in a variety of colors and patterns, and you would NEVER guess it is outdoor fabric. The texture and softness of the fabric is not compromised for the durability it offers. It is soft like linen, and no one would ever even know, unless you show them your amazing trick of simply wiping stains right off! I’m talking about red wine, marker, blood, you name it! I consider “investment” pieces those that I plan to keep in excess of 10 years, such as the sofa, lounge chairs, dining sets, etc. With these pieces, we decided to really invest for quality, so we were confident they would have lasting value. The sofa and two chairs in our living room were on our “investment” piece list when furnishing our new home last Summer, and we opted to upgrade to indoor/outdoor fabric for the custom upholstery. This fabric is rather expensive; however, it has already proven itself to be worth every penny! The manufacturer suggests cleaning the fabric with a mild soap and water, and get this…BLEACH for more stubborn stain removal! The coloration of the solution-dyed acrylic fibers are not affected by chlorine bleach. I had to recently clean a spot of blood off of our sofa, and it wiped completely off with a wet paper towel. (If your immediate thought was that I was covering up a crime scene, then you watch WAY too many crime shows, just sayin’! Haha. I have a boy; so, I’m sure there will be plenty more blood stains to come!) Believe me or not,the following sofas were all made indestructible by using outdoor fabric for the upholstery. Would you dare to have a white sofa with children or pets? You can now!
- Storage that Blends In: I’ll never forget the overwhelming feeling of unloading the car from my baby shower and quickly filling up our living room with all of the new “necessities.” We were so blessed to have received so many wonderful gifts to welcome our baby; however, we had no where to put them all! How on Earth can such a tiny human need or use all of that stuff? I quickly became the biggest fan of baskets! I have them in every room, even bathrooms and closets. They are wonderful to corral bath toys, towels, shoes, dog toys, balls, Legos, crayons, books, stuffed animals….you name it! Check out Ten Items for a Home Stager’s Toolbox to learn more about how baskets and other everyday items can be used to organize and decorate your home. In addition to baskets, toy boxes are a staple. With a little bit of spray paint and elbow grease, our inherited toy box was transformed to fit the decor of our home. It now blends right in with other furnishings! Lastly, I fell in love with an industrial-style table that holds books and is made from a cable spool. The table I found online sells for $380, which was not in our budget after all of the custom upholstery investments. We were fortunate enough to get our hands on a cable spool (thanks to the avid spool-hunting skills of my brother in law). My husband used an online photo for inspiration and created this beautiful table, which matches the style of our furnishings and houses all of my son’s little books. The books are at a perfect height for a toddler’s reach, and they are no longer in a messy pile on the cocktail ottoman. Win, win for parents and kids alike!
- Durable Flooring: We’ve all heard that hardwood floors have the best lasting value, and I agree. They are warm, classic and beautiful, if you are able to maintain them. My husband and I decided that, in our new home, we would have NO carpet, no matter what. We went into our appointment at the design center planning to invest quite a bit of our budget toward a flooring upgrade. It is important to have well-planned flooring selections, which are consistent throughout each story of your home, to maximize resale value. Those who plan to go back a few years down the road to upgrade the flooring in the bedrooms, for example, will almost always run into the challenge of finding the matching flooring material available for purchase. Nine times out of ten, it will be discontinued. We selected a beautiful, hand-scraped, wide-planked, hardwood flooring for our new home. I was pregnant at the time with our first baby, a boy. Also important to note, we have 2 dogs and 2 cats. After we slept on our decision and received advice from friends and family, we pretty quickly regretted the hardwood flooring we selected. I had visions of trucks and Legos scratching the floors. I did not want to be a Mom who told her son to stay on the rug with his toys. We certainly appreciate a beautiful home, but always maintain the opinion that the home is for LIVING in, not only for looking at. We came up with a solution that didn’t even feel like a compromise: the wood-look tile. We love our floors because they offer the look and texture of hardwoods and are really easy to clean. Be sure to select the darkest grout possible, and seal it before moving the furniture in, which will further improve the maintenance-free advantage of tile flooring. Best of all, our new floors are durable enough to withstand pet nails and Tonka trucks. Since tile is not easily removed, and can be a big investment, it’s best to stick to timeless, classic looks for the flooring. For more décor ideas that will last a lifetime, check out Home Design for Timeless Value. Floor rugs add interest and warmth to tiled spaces. For northern climates, adding under floor heating prior to installing the tile floors will improve the warmth of tile as well. Style options for tile have come a very long way in recent years, even offering an authentic travertine look with a much smaller price tag. Here are a few of my favorite durable flooring options for kid (and pet) friendly homes: