High design with kids in mind
Monday, September 10, 2012
For many years, creating family-friendly spaces meant sacrificing your design aesthetic. Gone are the days when having children meant a house full of bright-yellow bins and sofas wrapped in plastic. Today, new materials and technologies make it easy to create a beautiful, well-designed home that meets the needs of adults and children alike. The following tips may help you design a living space that satisfies your design goals and meets the demands of your youngest family members.
Invest in good furniture.
It may seem counterintuitive, but Erica Islas, interior designer and founder of EMI Interior Design, encourages clients with young children to buy high-quality furniture.
“Some people are afraid to invest in living rooms and family rooms because they think kids will ruin everything,” Islas sais. “But the truth is that you have to get things that will hold up to children.”
Children are tough on furniture; and cheaper furniture will likely break more easily and need to be replaced frequently. Instead, look for pieces that are built to withstand years of abuse and can be reupholstered or refinished once your children have grown.
Use color, pattern and texture.
Instead of creating a neutral, never-used formal area, use bold, textured fabrics throughout the rooms in which you spend the most time. Pieces incorporating color, a bit of pattern and touchable textures will not only create interesting focal points throughout your home but will help camouflage spills. If complex patterns aren’t your thing, consider materials such as leather or vinyl that can be wiped clean. No matter your design aesthetic, make sure to protect your upholstered pieces with a stain guard.
Accessorize out of children’s reach.
Creating a kid-friendly space does not mean glass and art should go into storage. Instead, teach your family to appreciate beautiful objects by living among them and elevate the more fragile accessories so they are out of reach.
Prevent a mess before it happens.
Kids learn and explore through hands-on activities, but too often their adventures translate to extra work for you in wiping away mess and grime from household items. To reinforce the importance of washing hands after play time, consider investing in a hands-free or touch-activated faucet. The faucet turns on when tapped or when hands are within a 4-inch sensing field. This helps kids reach the water, even if the handles are too far away, and makes it easy for anyone to turn on the flow of water without transferring messes.
Encourage togetherness with savvy storage.
Many parents designate separate play areas to keep clutter out of communal areas. Instead, encourage togetherness by creating storage options in every room of the house.
“Clutter is part of family life,” Islas said. “The key thing to remember is to have a place for everything; this means coat hooks for jackets, storage baskets, designated drawers for toys, shelving for books, etc.”
Providing these spaces within children’s reach and close to where they play will encourage children to clean up after themselves.
Invest in a hands-free or touch-activated faucet. It’s a stylish way to reinforce the importance of washing hands after play time. Kids can reach it, even if the handles are too far away, and it’s easy for anyone to turn on the water without transferring messes.