Are you tired of waiting for your children to grow up so you can finally let go of your tired, worn couch? Have a real dining room set? Or even lighter toned furnishings?
If you thought that having a family meant putting your decorating skills and ideas on the back burner then you just haven’t been opening your eyes to the stylish ideas designers use to liven up their own homes and their client’s homes, even with children (and pets) around!
Choosing the right material can make all the difference when furnishing a home for a family.
Have you always loved leather? Well it’s not only great for minor spills that are quickly wiped off, it also wears well, even gaining a beautiful patina with time and use. Leather does not collect pet hair as a cloth couch or chair would, and crumbs and dirt will wipe off easily.
If you prefer fabric upholstery, think of luxurious Ultrasuede. Sophisticated enough for even the most formal rooms, it looks belie the easy care of the material. You won’t deal with fading or staining the way you are accustomed to with cotton, and many stains will come off quite easily with a damp cloth.
Do you have real ruffians running around? You can always count on slipcovers if you need to. Many decorators have used white or cream slipcovers to good effect, although you may consider a stripe or other pattern to disguise everyday wear. And because you can clean them thoroughly by removing them you do not have to be too concerned about occasional messes.
Slipcovers also work well on fancy dining room chairs and can be removed for adult-only dinner parties.
Try to stay away from delicate materials like silks or velvets which stain easily and are difficult to clean.
If you have small children you may also consider choosing soft furnishings, like ottomans, to replace hazards such as hard edged coffee tables.
Area rugs can be great for keeping light colored carpets in good shape, but be certain they rest flat so children are not prone to trip over them. Selecting heavy rugs or using a special padding underneath to reduce movement would be especially recommended when using rugs on hard, slippery surfaces.
When choosing wood furnishings, light or dark, be sure it has a protective clear coat so that marks and spills do not ruin the finish.
PROVIDING CHILDREN WITH THEIR OWN SPACE
Would your children really mind an ‘adult’ space in the home? If you make most of the home child-friendly, then it is not outside of reason to create one area specifically for adult entertaining or relaxing. Giving children a small area within the adult room where they can read books or sit at a small table for quiet games will teach them to respect and take care of nice things. This, along with making reasonable choices for the rest of the home, allows all in the family to enjoy their surroundings and each other.