There’s nothing quite like having small children to make you give up on interior decorating. Never mind keeping up to date with the latest in designer trends; you’re too busy trying to salvage what’s left! Rather than pulling your hair out over the inevitable stains and tears that you’re never going to be able to fix (believe me, I’ve tried!), why not focus instead on setting your home up to be “trash-proof”? With a few simple tips and tricks, you can enjoy a beautifully decorated home that will stand the test of time (no matter how many children live there).
I Cannot Overstate the Importance of Kid-Friendly Furniture:
You’re fighting an uphill battle (while blindfolded, in the rain) if you insist on buying a white plush couch while your children are still small. That new couch (that probably set you back several thousand dollars) will be covered in handprints, mysterious smudges and assorted food crumbs in the blink of an eye. Don’t make things needlessly difficult; instead, shop for furniture that is child-friendly.
So, what constitutes kid-friendly furniture? Considering both the pattern and the fabric is important. We all know that solid blocks of color are no good at camouflaging stains; patterned fabrics are a much better choice. It doesn’t have to be anything too crazy – even just a slight variation of color or texture will be enough to disguise unwanted marks.
Secondly, think about what kind of finishes you’ll be able to protect. Microfiber is fantastic because it is super easy to clean and naturally repels moisture. Another popular trend is the use of outdoor furniture indoors; designed for outdoor use, this type of furniture is naturally hard-wearing but can act as a sleek statement piece when transported indoors (think chrome, bamboo or wicker). Alternatively, you can invest in a leather couch – yes, the initial outlay will be higher, but leather is long-lasting (meaning you shouldn’t have to buy another one for years to come) and the natural finish of leather makes it efficient at hiding day-to-day wear and tear.
If you’re trying to salvage the furniture you already have (as opposed to buying new), then the easiest thing to do is throw some attractive covers over them. This will keep everything protected throughout the chaotic early years, and you can uncover everything again once your children are a bit older.
Not All Carpet is Created Equal – Particularly When It Comes to Child-Friendliness
If your current carpet is covered in random crayon marks, red cordial spills and unidentified smudges, then you’ve likely considered replacing it. But, don’t be tempted to buy the cheapest and nastiest one you can kind, resigned to the fact it will be soon be ruined anyway.
Instead, look for stain-resistant carpet. Yes, stain-resistant carpet is a real thing. How does it work? Well, the manufacturers coat the fibers of the carpet with a solution that effectively delays absorption. This means that if something is spilled on the carpet, you have a window of opportunity to clean it up before it leaves a permanent stain.
It also helps to choose a hard-wearing and durable carpet, as these will better stand the test of time. As a starting point, look for a carpet with a warranty period of at least ten years (as this is an indication of higher quality). Nylon will be easier to clean than wool, and a loop pile will generally be more resilient than a plush pile carpet.
What’s Even Easier than Carpet? Laminate Flooring
If you want a floor covering that is easy to clean and will look good for years to come, then consider modern laminate flooring instead of carpet. While some people may urge you to opt for a hardwood floor instead, a good-quality laminate will be much cheaper, while looking more or less the same as hardwood. Additionally, the laminate is designed to be impervious to scratches (the Riva Laminate is scratch resistant, with a 20-year warranty), so it will better endure an onslaught of children’s toys.
Kids Will Draw on Walls – Be Prepared
It seems that at some point, almost every child will attempt to draw a masterpiece on a wall. This can be dealt with in two different ways. First of all, when painting your home (particularly kids’ rooms), look for stain-resistant paints. A low sheen or slightly glossy finish will usually offer improved stain resistance compared to a flat color finish.
Alternatively, embrace the inevitable, and paint a chalkboard wall as a feature in their bedroom, playroom or another designated area. This gives them plenty of space to draw with minimal risk to your other walls.
Organization Doesn’t Have To Be Boring
So you’ve invested in some kid-friendly furniture, you’ve got long-lasting floor coverings, and your walls are protected…but it’s hard to notice because there are so many toys everywhere! Getting organized will help your home get back to looking the way it did before the kids came along, with the added bonus of restoring a little sanity! There’s a fantastic range of storage solutions available these days, so look for something that will work for your family.