Family friendly decorating tips

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It’s so sad when families hold off on decorating until their children are older, making do with ratty post-dorm furniture for years after its expiration date due to their fear of  new items being destroyed.
 The fact is that there are many ways in which you can create a home that the whole family will enjoy. You can even get kids involved in the process, asking what they’d like to see in a room you’re redecorating or letting them weigh in on a few paint colors or fabric samples. They may even feel enough ownership to think twice before kicking off their muddy boots onto the rug they helped select.
Here are a few tips to help you along the way:
  • Do consider how you really live. A room that looks beautiful but doesn’t take into account the demands of everyday family life will quickly be destroyed or end up like Grandma’s stuffy no-go zone. Incorporate a decorating style that will stand up to sibling food fights, vomiting babies, indoor hockey matches, incontinent pets and sloppy spouses. Consider who you live with and decorate accordingly. 

  • When creating your living areas, consider an open floor plan. Open spaces with room for ‘traffic’ can easily accommodate large families and pets where everyone can mingle and not feel separated. You can still create separate areas within the open space such as dining, lounging or kitchen whilst making sure that these areas still ‘speak’ to one another by coordinating them.
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  • Avoid couches and chairs with skirts (which attract pet hair, dust bunnies and dirty shoe prints) in favor of exposed legs. Same goes for fabric-covered tables because it’s only a matter of time before your kids are going to give that fabric a tug and send everything crashing to the floor.
  • When it comes to paint choices, keep in mind that colour appears lighter on larger surfaces, so go a shade deeper on walls than the color sample you like. Washable paints are most definitely your friend with kids and pets around! TIP: You can match paint and wood stains to permanent marker and crayon colors for quick, emergency touch ups.
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  • You can foster your child’s creativity by framing their artwork in plain white box frames. This will give it a bright and fresh look and will really draw your eye to the art. This is an easy and cost-effective way to create interest in your home. Not only will this look gorgeous, but your children will see that you are proud of their unique set of skills and their self-esteem will flourish. Now that’s a win-win!
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  • There’s no rule that says outdoor rugs can’t be used indoors, too. They’re easy to clean—just hose down and dry in the sun. Another option is to use a rug that’s meant for high-traffic areas, or materials that are practically bullet-proof such as coir or something specified for commercial use.
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  • Using fabrics that are family friendly is KEY! Darker fabrics are better than whites but be careful not to go too dark. There are also a wide variety of outdoor fabrics available these days and these are fantastic options. Leather is also a winner as it is really easy to clean. Don’t be afraid of pattern and colour as it will help to camouflage inevitable spills, fingerprints and other mishaps. TIP: Check the colour of the stains on your white sofa before deciding what colour to recover it in!
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  •  Low-maintenance is a MUST. Nobody has the time to fluff pillows, comb fringe, primp curtains, dust around tiny trinkets and constantly clear clutter from rooms that look good only when they’re practically empty, once you have a busy family! Furniture pieces with a slightly weathered look survive kids more readily than precious antiques or pristine new items, and a softly layered, slightly boho look melds well with the happy chaos of family life.
  • The days of only having blue or pink children’s room are over! Feel free to experiment with colours that your children will love as well as wallpaper, and interesting lights or pendants that hang from the ceiling.
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  • Create a space for your kids to play. If your family likes games, set up a game table and chairs in a corner of the family room, or opt for a large coffee table that everyone can gather around on game night. Float furniture away from the walls to create distinct spaces, and don’t forget to customize each space to your children’s temperaments and interests: Leave an open area for your junior gymnast to practice her cartwheels, a cozy nook for your bookworm to curl up with his favorite tome or a centrally located work table for your chatty budding artist. Should you be lucky enough to have extra space, turn an unused room into a music room or an arts and crafts room. And remember, when there are things children are encouraged to touch, they’ll be less tempted to get into stuff they’re not. 
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