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Family-friendly Design Doesn't Have To Be Ugly

Written by Jaymi Naciri on Monday, 30 June 2014 2:28 pm
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You will stand in Babies R Us in front of the glider chair and get misty over the thought of putting that monstrosity in your home.

We've all done it. Cause, frankly, they're not cute. Thankfully, modern choices for home décor today make it easy to be chic while you're rocking your baby to sleep. And when you're lounging on the couch together, and crawling on the floor, and hanging out in every corner of your house.

Check out these great design choices for creating a family-friendly environment that is chic and comfortable (and can stand up to spit up).

The Chair

If you have to have a glider chair (and you do—really), get a nice one. Despite what you may see in baby stores, a rocker and/or glider does not have to look like something you want to hide in a corner. This one from Inhabitots manages to be as stylish and it is functional: Click here

The Fabric

When it comes to family room furniture, you want to make sure it stands up to heavy use, spills, sticky hands and maybe even muddy paws.

"When it comes to furniture, my advice is to go for a low-maintenance fabric. I have not found a successful way of keeping my dogs off the couch (have you?), and every day I am thankful for my lucky decision to purchase a microfiber sofa," said Houzz. "Microfiber is one of the most forgiving upholstery fabrics; it cleans up with great ease."

Houzz also recommends leather, which "can simply wipe clean," but be careful if you have bigger dogs that can have long, sharp nails.

HGTV adds that "heavy fabrics with a flat weave will hold up much better than lightweight or looped fabrics. (Hint: Run your fingers over the fabric. The more noise it makes, the higher its durability and the lower its maintenance requirements.) Easy-care, practically stain-proof choices include vinyl, "pleather," ultrasuede, twill, denim, velvet, wool, felt and other natural fabrics with a touch of synthetic fiber woven in for added toughness. Another fabric-saving strategies: Splurge on washable slipcovers or zip-off cushion covers."

Multifunctional furniture

With kids around, you need places to put stuff. Lots of places to put lots of stuff. Unless you like your living room looking like a toy store at the end of a 12-hour day.

You also probably need a coffee table. And unless you want encase it in foam or bubble wrap, you're going to have to avoid sharp corners. That ottoman with storage inside with the tops that flip over and turn into trays answers both needs. But until recently, we couldn't find one that wasn't brown leather.

We're loving this Safavieh viscose tray ottoman, small enough to tuck into a corner or use as a side table, and this larger version from Inspire that makes the ideal coffee table ottoman, both found on Overstock.

Bring the outdoors in

Kids and dogs make big messes. It's a fact. If you have a throw rug in a main gathering area, or anyplace that gets high traffic, be prepared to scrub-a-dub. Or, choose an easy-care, easy-clean outdoor rug. "There's no rule that says outdoor rugs can't be used indoors, too," said House Beautiful. "They're easy to clean - just hose down and dry in the sun."

Get on the floor

For flooring in the rest of the house, the options are many. Tile holds up to heavy use, especially hardwearing porcelain. And it's easy to clean up spills. But, it can make it hard for dogs to get traction and doesn't provide much of a soft landing for little bodies. Wood is the choice many make, but beware that dog claws that can scratch up and pierce leather can do the same to wood floors.

In bedrooms, you don't have to go for traditional carpet. "If you want a more practical option for carpeting, you could choose carpet tiles," said Houzz. "Minor accidents (bound to happen) can be remedied by replacing individual tiles instead of an entire floor of carpeting."

Walls

"There's no getting around it: Walls take a beating with young ones around," said HGTV. "Cleats are casually tossed against white baseboards. Bedroom doors become backboards for basketball practice. A fresh expanse of drywall morphs into a blank canvas for that new set of crayons. Sticky fingers trail along hallway walls. That's why wipeable paint is a must.

HGTV recommends eggshell, satin or semigloss, "which clean up with a damp sponge." If you have little artists on your hands, "consider painting one wall with chalkboard paint and letting him unleash his inner impressionist. Another trick: Mix magnetic additive (available at home centers or online) into the paint you're using on a kitchen or hallway wall to create a handy display space for children's art."

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