I work with a lot of families, young ones at that so most of the spaces that I have designed have had to be kid friendly. Now, I don't have kids (yet!!) but I'm a pretty firm believer in not having to compromise on style and "nice" pieces just because you have kids with dirty fingers, snots, drool and milk spills galore.
So to kick things off, my first piece of advice is just that - don't feel like you have to hold onto your existing tired (because it's 7+ years old and has seen MUCH better days) and somewhat dated furniture just because your children are still exploring their surroundings.
Okay, ready to hear my suggested furnishings? Let's jump on in!
I thought we could start with seating. Whether it be a sofa, sectional or chair there are options that are kid friendly, you just have to ask the right questions while shopping and/or do your research.
Leather is a great option as it's super easy to wipe clean and ages well. But if you're more of an upholstered fan, then Perennials, Microsuede/Performance Velvet and Sunbrella fabrics are great options.
My first tip for shopping for the right fabric is to order swatches! Almost all retailers should be able to send you fabric swatches and often times they're free of charge. And don't be afraid to test out the swatches once you get them in the mail - try spilling liquids or smearing food on them and then test out how well they clean.
Restoration Hardware has fantastic Perennials fabrics. Perennials is the real deal and it can really withstand anything - rough housing, messy fingers, spills, you name it!
Microsuede/Performance Velvet fabrics can be found at retailers like Pottery Barn and a somewhat new online retailer, Interior Define. I've been dying to use Interior Define because I have heard so many wonderful things about their sofas and chairs, not to mention their styles are so spot on. It seems a little crazy to order a sofa online without being able to sit in it but given how incredible their return policy is AND their reviews, I think they're worth taking a chance on! Jen from iHeart Organizing shares a great review of their Mod Velvet fabric. Oh and, she's a mom of two boys!
You're welcome. : )
And Sunbrella can be found at many retailers such as Ballard Designs, Pottery Barn and Jordan's. Sunbrella is a fabulous, durable fabric that is actually made for both indoor and outdoor use. Highly recommend it!
Next up, area rugs!
My two favorite types of area rugs to use in kid friendly living spaces are natural fibers rugs and colorful Persians.
Natural fiber rugs are great because they're super duper durable and neutral in color so they can be used in almost any space no matter what the other colors, textiles and patterns are. My favorite natural fibers are ones that are a blend so they're not so rough. This Jute/Chenille one from West Elm is a great choice for folks that like a little pattern. And this Mini Pebble Wool/Jute one also from West Elm is another fab option.
A Persian is a wonderful option for folks that aren't afraid of color and pattern. The great thing about Persians is that because of their colorful makeup, they are extremely great for hiding pesky stains! Both West Elm and Lulu & Georgia have incredible Persian options, but you can also find some good ones on sites like Rugs Direct and Rugs USA. Just be careful ordering a rug online that you can't see in person beforehand. Often times the coloring online is not what the real thing looks like, so prepared for that to potentially happen! I also think it's important to feel a rug in person because again, that's important and who wants to walk across something scratchy?!
Vintage Persians are always the best, but they require some digging and patience in finding the right one. : )
Ahhh, storage. The most necessary piece for kid friendly living spaces. Kids not only come with drool and messy fingers, but they require storage! And honestly, you can never have enough storage. I love the photo above because it really shows how to maximize an otherwise bare wall. Above shelving can be made for adult related items and/or items that you'd rather not have the kids get a hold of without your awareness. And the below space can be used for the kids. It almost looks like they used these bins from IKEA which I LOVE and then used other shelves for books and bigger sized cars/trucks. Love it all.
Coffee tables and ottomans are another common, "what the f do I use that's kid friendly?!". These can be tricky right? No hard corners, no glass, something that is stable and not chinsy, easy to clean - all of these points are common factors that my clients need to consider.
My immediate suggestion with this piece is to not overthink it. The ottoman or coffee table could be something that is swapped out as your family evolves and your needs change. So, for that reason alone I'd advise to not splurge on this piece. There are plenty of affordable options out there that could really please many different styles.
A Moroccan leather pouf is a fantastic easy to clean option. It's so kid friendly that the kids might even find it fun to climb up on and move around and play.
I love World Market's Cala Hammered Coffee table. This one is a great option because it's sturdy, easy to wipe clean and acts as double duty because the top pops off for storage!
Target has some goooooood options. Love, love, love this one from the Modern by Dwell line...also comes in a white/natural color-way which is just as yummy. For my mid century mod peeps, this is a good one and for $119.00 who cares if you're over it after a year!
And lastly let's chat about wall accents, shall we?
Picture ledges. I've mentioned them before and I just can't seem to find a reason to stop talking about them. Guys, these are the best. CB2 has some pretty spectacular ones in a slew of different finishes and IKEA has some very inexpensive ones as well. These would be great to store your nicer looking kid books on! So, so sweet.
Ever wonder what to do with your kid's artwork? Letting a nice ugly pile accumulate on your kitchen countertop is definitely not the solution. Get your children involved and have them choose a handful of their favorite works of art. Then purchase inexpensive frames from Michael's or Ikea, frame up those gems and dress your walls!
I love the idea of creating a gallery wall because it just adds so much character and happiness to a space. : )
So that's it folks. What do you think? Would love to hear your tips or pieces that you've used in kid friendly spaces!
Thanks for reading!