July 3rd, 2013
Newsflash! Just because you have a kid-friendly home, doesn’t mean it can’t be an elegant, well styled one.
When I first started interior designing, I didn’t have kids and I have to confess, I really didn’t appreciate the kid factor. So when one of my very first clients (a family of five) briefed me on their design absolutes ranging from having nothing out on display, no glass whatsoever, all sofa & chair covers to be removable & washable and so on, my instant reaction was “how am I ever going to make this place look even vaguely stylish?!” It turned out to be invaluable experience and fast-track several years I now have 3 little ones of my own and can fully appreciate that designing with kids in mind takes extra careful planning for durability and function whilst not compromising on overall style… and the best news… all that can be achieved without defaulting to bright plastic furniture!
Some tips and advice for decorating stylish kid-friendly spaces:
- Choosing furniture
For my Anya H Interiors clients with families, I often look to mid century and Scandinavian influences as the starting point for design concepts. Regardless of the end look and feel you’re trying to achieve, the token mid century classic piece – for instance an Ercol sofa or a Danish circular table – has clean, soft lines and an uncluttered vibe that is sophisticated yet practical and family functional. (And as you know, most furniture scores extra cool points with your friends just for being Scandinavian!).
Take one of the most important furniture pieces in the home – the sofa. As you multi-task every other area of your life, insist that your sofa multi-tasks as well and you’ll always be prepared. There are some great multi functioning sofas out there that not only look good but also provide a use for last minute sleepovers. I’m loving this chic armless sofa, which offers easy accessibility for little ones as well as a sofa bed functionality.
- Reorganising your floor plan
I’m reading a great book at the moment about the French approach to Parenting. In pretty much all aspects of life, French kids are raised with a strict emphasis on boundaries and the Interiors element is no exception. The living room is regarded as sacred and completely toy and clutter free. Following the philosophy that children can play happily and independently with fewer things, try restricting all toys and games to a dedicated room, whether it be your child’s bedroom or whether you turn an extra room that is currently underused into a play area. (The general trend I’m finding is that separate dining rooms are rarely used these days so this could be the top of your hit list…?). Whichever room you choose, make it the kid’s space and even get buy in and excitement by including your kids in the redesign process.
- Choosing fabrics & finishes
Sisal runners, art silk rugs and brushed suede sofas were the ‘go to’ of Interiors a few years ago, however I doubt they will be making the hall of ‘durable classics’ fame. When it comes to removing stains, in almost all cases, natural is better. For stain hiding, I’m a big fan of Persian style rugs in 100% wool… the pile not only works well for clean ups, but the irregular patterns, kaleidoscope of colours can hide a multitude of sins! Leather is perhaps the most obvious choice as it is stylish, durable, and resilient and looks great as it wears, but more & more I’m recommending good quality velvets to my clients with kids. Velvets comes in so many different colours, kids love the soft texture and because it’s a natural fabric, it also means it is free from nasty synthetic toxins and chemicals…another kid friendly tick!
- Choosing a colour palette for your family home
I’m sure many of you have read bits & pieces about colour psychology and how colour can effect kids…it’s a question I’m asked almost every day ‘what is the best colour for my daughter / son’s room?’. In summary, what I can say is consider the ‘cooler colours’ for example lighter shades of blue, green and soft yellow as they have a calming effect on the body and can make the room feel spacious and relaxing. At the same time, soften the ‘cooling’ effect with creamy neutrals and include soft, textural finishes. For Princesses in love with the rosy hue, use pink only for certain elements of the room, for instance detail in the curtains, bed linen or a pink rug, but do not let it dominate the room.
- The finishing touch… accessorising & displaying
Installing floating shelves to a room lets you place valuables out of reach from curious little hands. Besides being very stylish, floating shelves will add different and interesting dimensions to the room. Place decorative elements such as colourful books, photo frames and glass (yes, even glass..!) vases with flowers. Insider tip: make sure that there is some consistency in your arrangement, whether it be colour, shape or material that is the unifying element.
Last but not least, no kid friendly home can do without…a chalk board. They are the LBD of any family household to help you feel organized and in control of all the ‘stuff’ that’s going on. Perfect for chalking up your weekly schedule, ‘cannot forget’ list and displaying the ongoing stream of kid’s art, school notes, party invites etc.
So this month, focus on freeing up your space from kids chaos and clutter, and with a little bit of furniture rearranging I promise you will create a much more relaxing and less stressful living space.
(This article was also featured in the latest issue of Born Organized Magazine… if you haven’t subscribed yet, check it out here http://tiny.tw/3adw)