During my workshops I often get asked how to create child friendly interior design. Most people either think it’s impossible or they simply don’t bother until the kids grow up, which is a real shame. You can have a well designed home with small children, as long as you take a few things into consideration.
First of all, let’s take a look at the 5 key challenges when designing with (small) children in mind?
1) First and foremost there is the safety factor, keeping your kids and to a lesser extend also your treasured items safe.
2) There is tons of stuff, especially toys.
3) When they play, it’s messy.
4) Their sticky fingers are everywhere, especially on the brand new couch…
5) They grow up quickly and their fads are very short-lived.
6) Last, but not least, you need multi-functional spaces to accommodate their and your needs.
Can you relate to any or all of the above? You are probably aware of the challenges, which is why, you like most people, just put up with an unsatisfactory surrounding ’till the kids grow up’. You may tell yourself, that it is not worth investing into nice furniture and expensive materials, because they would get ruined anyhow. Yet, you sometimes long for a stylish home, where you can enjoy some adult time as well and so you should! After all, you don’t want to live in a day care center…
You probably work hard, spend most of your free time with your children and thus have little downtime to yourself or with your partner in a space you enjoy. Our environment has a massive impact on our general wellbeing and thus also on our health. Studies in environmental psychology also show that spaces influence people and how they interact with each other, because they impact our emotional and physical being and our cognitive functions. This is why I believe that we should give our home the importance it deserves, regardless of the age of your children.
So what should you consider when designing a space which must be suitable for small children?
One of the first considerations are kids friendly materials in terms of safety, health, air quality, maintenance and comfort. Secondly, you need to look at space planning and zoning and thirdly you must consider storage. Let’s dive in…
You may wish to use wooden flooring, rather than tiles (potential falls are less harmful). Add a patterned area rug for style and comfort, which however also easily disguises stains.
You may wish to paint the walls with washable paint and why not give the kids one wall, where they are allowed to explore their creativity. There are plenty of fun wallpapers out there to bring out the ‘Picasso’ in your child.
When choosing a sofa, for instance, you may wish to opt for leather, because it’s easy to clean. Just throw lots of textured and coloured (washable) cushions and a cuddly throw on it, to give it that cosy feel. Also consider colours and patterns as they will help camouflage the inevitable stains and other mishaps.
Adults only zone:
Personally, I believe there should be an adults only zone, as in a toy-free zone, ideally in the living room. I understand this can be challenging, but either your kids learn to respect ‘your zone’ or you create a ‘play zone’ within the living room featuring enough storage to keep those toys out of sight when not in use.
In my opinion, storage is the most important factor, when trying to keep the toys off the (living room) floor… There are plenty of solutions, including fun and stylish storage boxes that can do just that.
Looking at children furniture nowadays, almost makes me want to be little once again… even just for a day. I have discovered a company in Switzerland called ‘My Little Room‘, which sells some of the most adorable furniture and accessories…
When designing your child’s room, keep in mind how quickly they grow up. With that in mind, try to steer clear of fads, as your child will probably outgrow them quickly. Instead use flexible and modular furniture and find temporary ways of incorporating current fads, such as pirates and princesses.
Get the kids involved:
Last, but not least, get your kids involved in the design process. Ask them about their opinion when choosing furniture, carpets and other objects. They will not only grow up to appreciate beautiful things, but may also have more respect for the things they helped select.
If you need some additional assistance, I am of course also happy to offer you my services, whether it be in form of an interior design coaching session or fully customised service based on your needs and requirements.
What are your challenges and how did you solve them? Please feel free to comment below.
Kids friendly regards,
P.S. If you enjoyed reading this post and would like to receive tips on hotels and restaurants with great design, inspiration for your own home and useful tips to help you with your design dilemmas, then please sign up for my newsletter here.
Posted by Simone Aïda Baur, a multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-passionate international interior designer and ex-hotelier, who’s discovered her love for blogging. Learn more about her here and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.