The words ‘child-proof’ and ‘kid-friendly’ are usually not synonymous with design, and most people will agree that decorating your home when you have young children can become an ongoing battle between style and function.
So, is it possible to create a living space that meets your design needs while making sure the smallest members of the family are kept safe? We’re here to tell you that yes, it is! Here are some creative ways to combine style and function to create a family-friendly space that caters to both yours and your childrens’ needs.
Choose appropriate furnishings
The first rule for a couch to be more child-friendly, is about the fabric and the colouring. Light colours, such as beige or white, are not the best when it comes to removing food, grease and dirt stains. The same principle is applicable for fabric couches, as even if they are dark, removing a mark completely can be a nearly impossible quest. Choose leather or faux leather couches instead, which are easy to vacuum and clean with a wet cloth.
If you refuse to let go of your trendy fabric couch, or if you’d like to try a lighter colour for a change, it’s worth investing in some couch covers. They are easy to clean in the washing machine and if they are white, bleaching them will solve any stain issues.
If you’d rather prevent grubby hands and feet from dirtying your couch in the first place, consider buying the kids their own sofa or bean bag.
Most parents have had the unnerving experience of watching their toddler fall and either hit or near-miss the corner of the coffee table. In order to create an accident-free environment, there are a few preventative measures you should take.
The most obvious piece of advice is to buy a round-edged table in the first place, or replace your coffee table with a cushioned ottoman instead. However if you’d prefer to avoid this, there are a number of baby-proofing products available, such as table edge corner cushions (pictured below) that can save you from investing in new furniture. Alternatively, if you’re not too focused on appearance and want a quick fix for those sharp edges, cut a slit in some tennis balls and wedge them onto each corner of the table.
Remember – anything that sits upon your coffee table is within easy reach of a child. Keep this in mind for babies that are learning to stand up and walk. If you use your coffee table to rest hot cups or tea or coffee, you might want to think again.
Accessories and decorations
When decorating your living room, keep breakable items – vases, fine china and delicate accessories – up high on mantels and shelves, where curious and clumsy children can’t reach (even if they get a chair from the dining table).
Consider decorating with more child-friendly pieces, such as those found in nature. Natural decorative elements – think driftwood, shells and pinecones – do well around young children as they are virtually unbreakable and add an earthy, natural feel to any living space – and not to mention, they cost nothing!
Create a kid’s corner
If you don’t already have a room in the house that’s solely designated for play, a kid’s ‘play-zone’ is a great way to keep the mess and clutter isolated in one location. Giving children their own space where they can build lego, draw pictures and tap into their creativity is a win for everyone – it keeps the children happy and (hopefully) keeps your living room clutter-free!
Pick a corner of the living room and customise it with fun and creative accessories that will inspire imaginative play, such as an indoor teepee, a toy play kitchen or even a bookshelf filled with their favourite stories.
Storage is everything
Anyone knows that when children hit the scene, there is an inevitable influx of ‘stuff’ that seems to overtake every room of the house. Whether it’s toys, books or clothes, it’s not uncommon for the home to look like it’s been completely taken over by the little ones. However, clutter can be controlled by incorporating some clever storage solutions.
Free yourself from the visual chaos and invest in an upholstered toy box to keep the mess contained after playtime is over. Free from sharp edges and corners, it’s the perfect storage solution that your children can easily use themselves, whilst the upholstered covering will also inject some colour and texture into the room.
Create a child-friendly living room today
A common space where the adults and the children of the household can equally call their own is possible. Creating a kid-friendly living room is all in the details, adequate furniture and making a few tweeks here and there. Often, it’s hard to realise what could be improved, until an accident happens (hopefully it never does!). However, we hope that this guide can help enlighten you and give you all the ideas you need to achieve a living room that caters to the whole family.