Kids are rough on nice things, but that does not mean you need to wait to make your home beautiful and inviting until the kids are older. It will take some forethought, but it is worth it. Here are some practical tips.
Is your furniture durable? However careful you are about teaching your kids that furniture is not their personal play gym, it is likely that the kids will get a few bounces in at sometime. It is so important to buy furniture that is durable. Usually, the cost of the furniture is an indication of its quality, but this is not always the case, so try it out or carefully read product reviews.
It will be better to buy fixed-back furniture with removable cushions. I have three girls and my couch that has a cushion back is in a room that the girls don’t spend much time in, but when they are in the room I am always asking them not to climb on the back and if it was a high traffic sofa, the back would start to really stretch out and lose shape.
For the dining room, try to get tables chairs and/or benches that are made of real wood or metal or both. Farmhouse tables are generally sturdy and fun to decorate. If you don’t have the budget to buy one, check out the many tutorials on how to make your own on Pinterest. I have some pinned in my DIY board.
Beds should be more firm with a good quilted top…get the best you can with the money you have. I think that is always the best route…get the best you can get right now. You can upgrade later if you need to. Check out Home Reserve Furniture for living spaces.
Can it be cleaned? Pick furniture with fabrics that can be cleaned easily and have longevity. For easy clean consider man-made fabrics, like outdoor fabric and Ultrasuede. For longevity, wool, mohair or linen is a good choice. I also bought an insurance plan for my upholstery and have used it once with success. You will have to decide if that extra cost is worth it.
Silk, leather, rayon and rayon-polyester blends are not kid-friendly. Whatever kind of fabric you choose, spray some kind of stain protection on them. Before you try to clean a stain, make sure you already know how to clean it. If you buy your furniture new, make sure to ask the salesperson how to clean the piece or look yourself before your purchase. Be prepared with whatever you may need in the case of a spill.
Who can reach it? I essentially draw a line through my entire house into two levels…where my kids can reach and where they can’t. Of course this will change over the years, but thankfully my kids appreciate and coordination will also change. If you dare to add charming pieces to the “kids can reach” part of the house, just ask yourself two questions…Is it durable? How will I react when if it breaks? Don’t get me wrong, you can teach little kids to leave your nice things alone, but most of the time it is just an accident. For example, right now in my living room I do not have a coffee table with perfectly stylized books, a floral arrangement and cool decor. The books would eventually have ripped pages, the flower vase could break and the cool decor would only stay if it is too heavy for them to carry off. Plus, I like to have more space in my living room for wrestling and playing, so a coffee table doesn’t meet my needs right now.
Now, anywhere my kids cannot reach is a space I get excited about. My mantle, my bookshelves and walls can all be decorated to my heart’s content. Plus, paint colors, furniture selection, pillows, throws, and lighting are also super pretty and functional choices you get to make. Just move your pretty coffee table arrangement up; it is that easy!
Get the family involved. Let the family be involved in decorating the home. When I was a tween and older, I started to share my room with my younger sister. I would not let her put any of her things in “my” room. Instead, I cleaned out the bottom half of a linen closet, wrote a sign with markers that said “Joanie’s Closet,” taped it to the top of the closet and let her put her unworthy trinkets there. She was too little and sweet to argue. I laugh now, not because I obviously had some selfishness issues, but because my special stuff was really not that cool. I had mini tea sets set up just so on my dresser and my desk had some other trinkets that I can’t even remember.
Seriously, my sister’s stuff was just as quality as my own collections, but I believed that my tastes were more important than hers. I have since apologized, and I am now working on implementing my husband’s tastes and interests in our home. If your family members don’t care how your home looks, then go for it, but if they do care and you want them to love the home as much as you do, give them some tasteful options and incorporate it in. Notice I said… give them some tasteful options, just giving them better options than decorating the linen closet!
Save a seat for the critic. I love Brene Brown; in a talk she gave to creatives at a conference, she suggested to everyone to save a seat for your critics. Don’t stop yourself from being creative with your spaces just because you are not sure about what someone else might think. You will not please everyone. We all know that the best way to find your style is to try things out. Your tastes change and once you try it and it looks wrong, that is just room for learning. Go find out why your room looks small or dark or why your wall art doesn’t look like that picture you saw on Pinterest or why your paint color clashes with everything else in the room. Of course, I encourage have a good plan, but if it is a fail, that is just an opportunity to learn!
Keep filling your home with beauty and goodness like only you can.