Family homes serve a specific purpose: to provide an environment suitable for bringing up growing children. But does that purpose need to override everything else, such as having a beautiful place to live?
The quest for homes that both meet functional requirements demanded by kids and style demands of parents is never-ending. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t make some progress. No, you’re not going to end up with something that looks like the interior of the Palace of Versailles. But you could get something that looks pretty good.
Of course, building a stylish family-friendly home is a challenge. As much as you’d like to, you can’t install expensive features: they could get damaged. Your best bet is to fake it until your kids are old enough to look after the house themselves. So what can you do? Take a look at some of these ideas to marry kid-friendly living with style.
Keep Your Neutrals Intact
If you’ve got kids, then you might think that neutrals are out of the question. Neutral walls and upholstery will quickly become scuffed, stained and damaged, ruining the effect. But it turns out that there’s a lot that you can do to preserve your light, white colours.
Firstly, grab a magic eraser. Magic erasers are a great way to keep your paint looking white and fresh, like the day you applied it. Magic erasers can remove many common stains, including food and rubbery scuff marks.
Secondly, choose durable fabrics. Some fabrics come with chemical treatments that help stains to bounce right off before they get incorporated into the fibres themselves. Sunbrella, for instance, is better as withstanding grubby fingers and spilt food than regular upholstery.
Of course, keeping your whites white is an ongoing task. If you don’t have the time, you may want to choose a different theme.
Spend Money On Features That Are Out Of Reach Of Children
Okay, so the sofas and the walls are right in the line of fire, but not every feature in your home is susceptible to destruction by your children. Take your kitchen tap, for instance. You can install sink mixers from Tap Warehouse or other suppliers in your kitchen well out of reach of your kids, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of luxury fittings without the risk of them being torn out at any moment. Stylish feature accessories, like faucets, can instantly make a room feel more stylish, especially the kitchen.
You can also install stunning features in the bathroom too. Rather than using a power shower, you could fit a walk-in rain shower head - again, well out of the reach of your kids.
Avoid Precious Materials
Although you might love the feel and look of silk, putting it in a family home is a bad idea, particularly with young children running about. Children have a habit of pulling off silk wall coverings. Plus, it can be a nightmare to clean if it’s been exposed to sticky, dirty fingers.
If you want wall coverings, go with synthetic materials instead. Synthetic fabrics tend to be easier to wash, and still look stylish, even if they’re not the best.
Use Woolen Rugs
Rugs are an essential interior design accessory, thanks to their unique ability to bring together a room. Rugs are great for living rooms, and you can place them underneath coffee tables and sofa suites to provide a border to a seating area. Rugs are also great for the dining room, slipping underneath tables and chairs, providing a cosy feel underfoot. But choosing a rug when you’ve got kids to consider can be difficult.
Experts suggest that people stick with wool rugs. Woollen rugs are easy to wash compared to many other fabrics, and stains tend to come out quickly. What’s more, wool is relatively hard-wearing, making it an excellent choice for areas of your home with high footfall.
Just remember, if you decide to go with wool, choose a high pile type. These types are the most resistant to abrasion from kids’ feet. Remember, children like to randomly accelerate, which could cause weak rugs to become damaged.
Choose High Rub-Count Coverings For Your Sofas
Many of today’s top interior designers know that families want stylish sofa coverings. But manufacturers often don’t have kids in mind when creating their products. Sofa coverings, though they protect the upholstery underneath, tend not to last very long.
Experts say that parents should be on the lookout for high-wearing fabrics that can withstand just about anything. Outdoor or sunbrella fabrics tend to perform best, as these are designed to function for years at a time outside.
When choosing sofa coverings, look for a high rub count. The rub count tells you how many times the fabric can withstand a child coming into contact with it before it degrades. Outdoor coverings tend to have the highest rub counts because they are made of the most durable materials.
Use Faux Leather
Real leather is expensive. What’s more, once it is damaged, it’s difficult to repair and replace. The good news is that faux leather is pretty convincing. No, it doesn’t have the same smell, but other than that, it’s hard to tell the fake stuff from the real.
You can use faux leather in all kinds of applications in your home. Faux leather works well as an upholstery material, as well as on sofas and dining room chairs. You can also use faux leather as a covering for breakfast bar stools.
Use Faux Metals
Alongside faux leather, you can also use faux metals too. Brass and gold leaf are expensive, but there are now plenty of cheap substitutes that can emulate these precious materials if a little imperfectly.
Young children will often grab onto whatever they can in their environment when they first learn to walk. Most of the time doing this is safe, but occasionally they can get into trouble, especially when it comes to ottomans. Make sure the top of your ottoman is secure and covered in a soft material. This will prevent the child from falling in or getting stuck.
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