Even when you know kids are in your future (or present), few parents relish what their home may become afterward. A yard full of brightly colored plastic obstacles, toys underfoot, spilled food, walls covered with crayon, muddy shoes, you name it… If the dream home in your imagination has pristine white walls and flawless floors, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
Let’s face facts. Your kids are part of the family, and the last thing you want to do is make them feel unwelcome in what should be their safest place. But how do you balance that flawless dream home with the messy reality of having kids? From washable rugs to secret storage, let’s take a look at Nine essentials for a kid-friendly home that can give you the best of both worlds.
1. Ditch the Coffee Table
There are probably more reasons to lose your coffee table than to keep it. But what to replace it with? Try an ottoman. They’re soft and just the right height for a baby to stand against. Older kids will probably see it as a stage. And, with a single tray, you suddenly get the best features of your coffee table back after the kids have gone to bed. Worried about spills? No problem. Just put down a washable rug.
2. Plan for Damage
If it can be broken, a kid will surely find a way to break it. With that in mind, think ahead about your big purchases. Furnishings that are easily damaged, whether through wear and tear, stains, or carelessness, can become a frustrating choice. Keep in mind that, even if they won’t be destroyed outright, they will take damage of some kind. Don’t get too attached. A washable rug can go a long way towards maintaining your floors.
3. Washable Rugs
An attractive, durable, stain-resistant washable rug can make your life so much easier. Place near outside doors to catch mud or place anywhere your kids regularly congregate, as that will probably be where spills happen frequently. A patterned rug is one step better, as the pattern can make stains blend in a bit so you can go longer between washings.
4. Secret Storage
There are more clever ways to hide storage areas in a modern home than ever before. Remember that ottoman? What if the top lifts off and can store frequently-used items your kid plays with in that area? A table with drawers or a chest that doubles as a table can dramatically increase your storage options without crowding more stuff into the space.
5. Include Your Kids in Decor Decisions
Before you break out in hives, remember that you don’t have to do everything they suggest. It can be something as easy as where to put a flower pot. If their idea is bad, try it anyway and see if you can help them figure out why. Not only will they feel like the space is partly theirs, it can help them develop critical thinking skills and self-esteem.
6. Easy Maintenance With Indoor/Outdoor Chairs
Metal or plastic patio chairs can be your best friend both indoors and outdoors. Plastic chairs are durable, easy to wipe down, and stack up for storage. Metal chairs offer similar features but can be folded up when it comes time to put them away.
7. A Kid’s Fort Is Their Castle
Remember how much fun you had in your hideout as a little kid? Maybe it was a closet that you set up your base camp in. Or maybe it was an indoor tent made of a bedsheet and some chairs. Whatever the case may be, it can give them a sense of privacy and excitement, where their imaginations can run wild. It can also help them learn a thing or two about personal space. Consider putting down a washable rug first.
8. Every Thing Has a Place
You may be able to instill a sense of tidiness in your kids by providing dedicated storage for their stuff. When playtime is over, each kid has their own spot they can stash away their toys and games in. Providing a dedicated spot and making clean-up part of the routine from the beginning can instill good habits later on and encourage independence.
9. Celebrate Their Creativity
Putting up your kid’s drawing on the fridge can make them feel special for a while… but it will inevitably come down or get crowded out. Celebrate their creativity with some of your own by framing particularly noteworthy pieces and displaying them around your home. It will do loads for their self-esteem, and if they’re displayed in their bedroom or playroom, they can decide for themselves when it’s time to take it down.
Your kids will be happier and healthier if they’re included in the process of decorating the home you share with them.