Points of view on home decor when you have a young family differ greatly. There’s the “why bother” camp, firmly rooted in reality, assuming that vases will get smashed, sofas soiled and walls vandalied by the little ones. And there are the parents who lay down rules, are strict about shoes in the house and spend a lot of time tidying so as to keep their home looking as perfect as if it was in the pages of a magazine.
But what if you fall somewhere in the middle ground, longing for a comfortable, stylish home but lacking the determination to spend your days cleaning, polishing and enforcing rules? With these five simple tips you can create a stylish, family-friendly look without any sacrifice.
Wipe clean, stain resistant, washable – these phrases often conjure up visions of ugly oilcloths and plastic-looking veneers. Easy to clean doesn’t have to be like that anymore. From soft furnishings to wall coverings to large items of furniture, there is a massive market of easy-to-clean homewares.
Think scrubable paints for walls. Yes, the children might attack it with crayons,but it can be wiped off. Or a glass topped coffee table. You see the dirt but a quick spray of window cleaner and it is perfect again. Everything cleans off it and it is sturdy enough to deal with children climbing on it. Rugs and throws are ideal too when you have children around the place. Shake off the the crumbs, wash out the marks and your room is back to being clean and tidy.
Think Hard Wearing
Furniture and homewares which are sturdy and able to take a beating are a great solution when you have a house full of children and pets. Think wood, enamel and hard wearing cloth. Often these materials look even better seasoned as it were with a few dents and scratches.
Think High Up & Low Down
Whether you are thinking coat hooks, shoe racks, bookshelves or any other kind of storage, remember that children’s eyes and hands are a lot lower down than ours are. Hanging coat hooks in the hall at the level children can reach encourages them to hang up their own clothes. The same goes for shoes in shoe racks or books and toys on shelves. Using a set of magazine racks is ideal as you can hang them a various heights, allowing the children to reach their own favourite books but keeping your mazagines and newspapers out of harm’s way. Think high up for us, low down for them and you’re on to a winner. The children can access their own gear without getting anywhere near the items you’d prefer they didn’t touch.
Think Timeless Playroom Decor
Forget cartoon character decor. Maps, prints, alphabet charts, wildlife posters and clocks are all highly educational plus they make great wall art for playrooms and bedrooms. There is a huge range of child-friendly maps and charts available in all shapes, sizes and colour schemes. A brilliant way to encourage your child’s natural curiosity while providing a stylish, timeless backdrop to a room.
Think Flexible Seating
When you live with children, you always need tons of places to sit. Whether it is for them to sit while putting on shoes or whether you need an extra place at the table when their friends come round, you can never have enough seating. This is where benches and fold up chairs become your best friends. You can always squeeze another child in around the table when you’ve a sleek bench in the kitchen. Benches with arm rests are idea for the hall or porch as a place to drop bags and coats, to seat little ones who need help with their shoes or even as a temporary resting place for gear you need to take with you when leaving the house. Folding chairs take up very little room and can be stored in the smallest of places. Wooden or metal folding seats can double up as outdoor seating in Summer too, so they are definitely worth considering.
Have you found the right balance of practical but pretty decor for your family home?