Sharing your space with kids requires thinking outside of the box, to say the least. From furniture selection to layout, it’s so hard to justify some fun, (literally) edgy design choices when you run an elevated risk of slips, spills, and scuffs. You probably know well enough to keep your most precious breakables far out of reach, but a few additional kid-friendly home design strategies can help you create a space that you AND the little ones both love to be in.
“Designing for kids can feel very limiting, but it’s so important to love the final look — it’s your home, too!” says Havenly designer Toussaint Derby. Opting to be a bit more practical doesn’t mean you have to design rooms that are totally devoid of personality; in fact, it’s the exact opposite. View is at a fun design challenge instead of an obstacle.
A few simple swaps to make your home a little more mess-proof, bring in extra storage space, and accommodate all the toys and clutter that kids tend to accumulate no matter what, and your space will feel like a breath of fresh air—even when things (inevitably) get a little chaotic. Find our kid-friendly home design tips below:
1. Use washable (or at least durable) rugs
Never underestimate the power of a rug to transform a space, anchoring your furniture and adding an element of texture or color to the room. But when there’s a risk that slime, spilled juice, and other messes can get deep into its fibers, you want a rug that’s easy to clean. With a washable option, you get the same look of a sophisticated area rug—but far less stress when there’s an inevitable accident.
2. Bring in bench seating
“Children and upholstered dining chairs don’t exactly go hand in hand,” Toussaint says. Luckily, wood bench seating looks great and is easier to clean up. While you’ll love how much a dining bench makes meal time messes more manageable, the kids will also enjoy how much it creates a fun, restaurant-like feeling – in your own home.
3. Nix the coffee table for an ottoman
When you have little ones scurrying around, sharp coffee table corners can be a threat. Plus, Derby says, traditional rectangular options can be challenging for kids to walk around. The solution? A large, plush ottoman that, when topped with a stylish tray, makes the perfect spot for placing a beverage or decorative object. “It creates good traffic flow, and you don’t have to worry about the occasional bump on the head,” Derby says.
4. Opt for closed-door storage
No matter how much decluttering you do, kids just have a lot of stuff—games, art supplies, toys, you name it. While perfectly styled open shelving can look beautiful, in common areas, accent cabinets and credenzas are the best kid-friendly home design options to keep clutter out of sight.
5. Select furniture that works overtime
Whether you need a little extra storage room or you’re trying to maximize the space you have, dual-purpose furniture can make a major difference. For example, you can consider storage ottomans so you have an extra spot to tuck away kid clutter. Or, take a note from this space, and select a coffee table with an open space underneath, where you can tuck away poufs for extra seating until you’re hosting the next playdate.
6. Stick with mess-friendly fabrics
You can do your best to prevent accidents from happening, but you’re bound to face a spill sometime or other. Opting for a sophisticated leather sofa or a one with a removable, washable slip cover (yes, they are back in style) will make the clean-up afterwards less of a headache—and your room will look perfectly elevated, too.
7. Create a home library for the whole family
A room full of books is a very happy room—even more so when you organize your books by color to create a rainbow wall. This is an especially great idea when you don’t have a lot of wall space for artwork, Derby says.