How to Design a Living Room That's Both Beautiful & Family-Friendly

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Eclectic great room with gallery wall around television
Bring it on kids, this space is ready for you!

Despite what most people think, you CAN have both kids & a stylish home. And you don't have to keep the kids in a bubble to make it happen. You just have to know the right choices to make. So go ahead and unpack the kid's bags; you won't need to give them up for the sake of your beautiful home. Kidding, of course! Here are some tips for designing a beautiful space ready for anything kids throw at it.

Furniture Quality

Should you stay away from well-made, high-quality furniture when you have kids? The short answer is no, and the long answer is also NO! Please, please, please don't buy cheap throwaway furniture. It makes so much more sense to invest in furniture that can take the abuse. A well-made sofa or accent chair will last for years and years and can be re-upholstered once the kids are older. A shoddy sofa will not hold up to all the jumping and climbing it will withstand. Chances are pretty good that it will just end up in the landfill. Grab this handy guide if you're unsure how to identify good-quality sofas and chairs.

Kid-Proof Coffee Tables

This one is a no-brainer. Go with a round or oval coffee table to protect kids from getting hurt when they fall right into them. Toddlers sure do look a lot like mini versions of drunk adults in the way they stumble and fall into things. My favorite kid-friendly coffee table is a large upholstered ottoman. They're the perfect option because it's impossible to get hurt on a soft, round surface. Although I'm sure, a kid out there could prove me wrong. I rounded up a few examples for you below.

1. Sinclair Ottoman 2. Helena Ottoman 3. Market Coffee Table 4. Cas Drum Coffee Table 5. Minted for West Elm Large Drum Ottoman 6. Sefto Ottoman

Notice anything special about 3 & 4? They both have removable tops with hidden storage inside. This leads me to my next tip...

Furniture with Storage

Furniture that has hidden storage is your new bff. Think lidded ottomans & coffee tables, side tables with drawers, benches with inside storage, built-in window seats with storage underneath. (Storage ottomans are also great for putting your feet up and can be used as extra seating in a pinch.) The more places you have to hide all the kid junk, the better. Sometimes it's nice not to look at all that clutter. I have a separate blog post with tons of options for kid's toy storage ideas. Check it out here.

1. Velvet Floret Stool 2. Steen Storage Bench 3. Beaufort Boucle Storage Ottoman 4. Fern Storage Cabinet 5. Radial Walnut Cabinet 6. Woven Storage Ottoman 7. Quincy Storage Bench


Kids seem to have a unique talent for destroying walls, don't they? Toys get chucked at them, fingers covered in peanut butter get wiped on them, and boogers find a home there too. Why are kids so disgusting?! So yeah, your walls need to be easy to wipe clean. For paint, the higher the sheen, the easier it is to wipe clean. But, a high sheen also means it's harder to touch up, and imperfections in the wall stand out. Your best bet is an eggshell or matte finish. If you prefer flat, go for a washable formula. Trim tends to get beaten up, so use a semi-gloss there. As far as color, darker colors hide marks best. If you're a fan of wallpaper, plenty of washable and stain-resistant options are available.

Upholstery & Textiles

Stick with durable and easy-to-clean fabrics. Kids will inevitably pee, vomit or spill food & drinks on the sofa. You'll be thankful you picked something easy to clean. Leather upholstery is an excellent choice because it's easy to keep clean and looks better when it gets that lived-in look. Velvet is also a breeze to clean, especially when you have this guy to help. Whenever possible, go with machine-washable fabrics. Choose pillows with removable covers that you can easily take off and throw in the wash. The same goes for throws.

As far as color & pattern, stay away from white furniture and textile unless you use a stain-resistant fabric like Sunbrella or Crypton. Even then, I'm not sure I would trust it. Dark colors and patterns are your friends. Especially on rugs, they hide stains so well.

You'll want rugs to be easy to clean, too. Stay away from shags and rag rugs. You will never get all the crumbs out of the shag, and a vacuum easily snags the rag rug loops. The best options are indoor/outdoor rugs, washable rugs, and rugs made with cotton or wool. Carpet tiles are a great option too.

Decor & Accessories

Stay away from breakables. Instead of a ceramic tray on your coffee table, go with one made from wood or melamine. Choose pictures frames that won't break when knocked on the floor. Take the glass out of the frames until the kids learn to behave like civilized people. Move fragile things to places out of reach, like the upper levels of bookshelves, fireplace mantel, or taller console tables.

So let's sum it all up.

1. Choose seating that can take constant beatings.

2. Get a coffee table that won't injure the kids.

3. You can never have enough storage.

4. Make sure your walls, textiles, and rugs are durable & easy to clean.

5. Stay away from breakable decor or move them out of reach.

Now your beautiful home and your kids can coexist!


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Every space I create is built on the belief that interior design is more than just creating pretty rooms - it’s a form of self-care. An investment in your daily life, your happiness, & the feeling you get when you walk into your home. A space that reflects your unique style, vision, & needs through a design process that feels fun, approachable, highly personalized, and easy for you.

Are you ready for your heart to swell when you look around your home? Book a complimentary discovery call with me, and let's chat about how I can help you.