I love my kids. I also love having a space where my kids can run around, play and learn. But as an interior designer, I’ve never loved the idea of my kids’ carefree lifestyle overhauling my adult living space — and I know I’m not alone in that. I recently had an opportunity to be featured on KTLA-5 to present some of my ideas for designing a kid-free home interior look. Here are tips to ensure your home is comfortable, clean and kid-friendly!
Stash it with Storage!
Let’s debunk the myth that toy storage has to be ugly (or excessive!). I know I don’t want to feel like I live in a life-size Toys R Us store. For my kid-free home interior look, I use solid-colored woven baskets with lids to house all of my boys’ toys. I’ve always had this hate-hate relationship with clutter in my home, and my answer to that was woven baskets. Family homes today can get too overcrowded with toys and playful knick-knacks. But be honest: kids don’t really play with that many things at one time, do they?
Lessen the mess by keeping only what your kids love most, and donate the rest to charities like Baby2Baby. Better yet, start a toy exchange with your close friends! Save your money and get creative. One kid’s old toy is another kid’s treasure! When it comes to the big toys and games, it’s either in the basket or it’s bartered — simple as that!
If baskets aren’t your thing, consider accenting your furniture with ottomans that double as storage units. They’re stylish chameleon pieces that add more inconspicuous storage space to any room. Plus, they can function as a table top or extra seat for your toddlers, or a comfy spot for your worn feet after chasing them around. Multipurpose magic!
Quality Over Quantity
Remember mom: you’re the boss. You’re responsible for what comes in and out of your home. I am deliberate about guiding my kids’ interests when things pique their interests. Maintain a kid-free home interior look by Introducing hobbies to your children that you both love. Kids like collecting things. If those items are plasticky, multicolored toys, those will potentially be strewn across your space.
To avoid this, I tapped into something they enjoy: making necklaces and collecting crystals. I love that we can go to a local farmer’s market and collect beautiful jewels together. The boys feel empowered that they can select the ones they love and create something with it. Meanwhile, I’m thrilled the pieces don’t look tacky laying around my home. Fashion and function really can coexist!
Create Class with Colors
You can add sophisticated tastes easily and creatively with your kid-free home interior look by thinking differently about the colors you use in your home. Instead of using cliche primary color palettes that most parents think of, think more in terms of color alternatives. Instead of red, consider elevated shades like merlot, garnet or magenta. Illuminate your space with chartreuse, mint or seafoam! Your home will still be colorfully kid-appropriate, and your options are virtually limitless.
There may be some parents who feel as if they MUST use the basic colors. That’s okay, too! If you absolutely have to use Lego blue in your bouncing baby boy’s room, add a more grown-up appeal and layer cerulean, sapphire or azure in the space. Incorporate more shades within the same family of colors. You’ll be surprised at the difference that will make.
White Really Works!
One of my best kept secrets for designing a kid-free home interior look for my clients who have kids? Buy white canvas couches and purchase an extra set of white canvas covers. That way they can be switched out as needed on each cushion or back. Canvas wears exceptionally well, so your sets won’t look different. No more stressing if the kids spill things on it right before your mother-in-law stops by. Simply switch it, wash the soiled cover, and keep your peace of mind.
Another great reason to go white is that you can bleach whatever gets stained. Whether it’s baby food or baby poo, a little bleach will not only handle the blemish, but it won’t discolor the furniture. It will always be like new! I’ve never met a stain on a white surface that bleach couldn’t tackle.
Splurge on Stylish Necessities
When I had my first child, I knew that my son would need a good high chair. What *I* didn’t need was a piece of furniture with cartoon caricatures that existed in the space I used daily for both kid and adult functions. I chose to splurge on a highchair that would meet both my child’s needs and my own. The Bloom Baby highchair’s sleek design and avant-garde style didn’t look like a child had taken over my home. And because it converted, I was able to use it from infancy through my son’s toddler years. Small choices like that can make the difference in keeping a kid-free home interior look
The Frame Game
Kid art is a quintessential visual element of any family home. Pro tip: ditch the tape and magnets. Instead, exhibit your young artist’s work in a photo frame. I keep five IKEA frames (that each come with a matte) for my kids’ artwork. The frames were inexpensive, and I can rotate their art whenever they create something new. While I don’t want to “decorate” my home with kiddie originals all over the place, I do want my boys to feel valued and to know that I appreciate their artistic expression. Frames help achieve that perfectly.
Plants — Fake It!
Moms understand that time is often too precious to spend it maintaining greenery around the home. Take the pressure off and use artificial ones. Once upon a time I would have never considered or suggested that, but good artificial plants like orchids can beautify your home without the mess. Spruce up your space with artificial plants and alleviate the stress of not having your mother’s green thumb!
There are so many other things I could recommend, but these are a few major considerations. It’s not difficult to have a home that maintains a kid-friendly feel while keeping an adult appeal and atmosphere at the same time. After all, mom, you deserve both beauty and comfort!