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Furnishing a Family Home? You Don’t Have to Order From the Kids Menu


“I have to admit, I dream of decorating our home with the type of furniture that is banned for people with kids, cats, dogs (or a husband)”. Has this thought ever crossed your mind? As an Interior Decorator, and a mom, I am the receiver of many whispered confessions; the secret desire to decorate your home in velvet, high gloss surfaces and pure pure white. I get it. I’ve been there. I’m there.

But don’t let go of those dreams! Your children are going to be living, eating and playing (aka jumping, spilling and destroying) under your roof for at least another 18 years. Enjoy your home now and make it work for your lifestyle as it is defined today. It is possible to create a home you can all enjoy. It would be unfair for your children to live in a home where they can’t touch the furniture, but that doesn’t mean you have to live in a world of foam and primary colours even after bedtime.

Here are a few simple tips when trying to create your family friendly home.

1. Variety: Variety in texture and/or colour of fabric and materials will help hide a multitude of sins. Velvet is actually a decent option, if it’s a washable fibre, such as cotton. Try to avoid sofas or chairs with a flat single colour of thread in the fabric. This also applies to wood finishes; The rustic or weathered look will age gracefully. Avoid a veneered wood, once they lose the layer of veneer, there is no going back. Variety is especially important in floor coverings; consider a rug with a pattern, hardwood floors with some texture or tonal variations in the wood colour.

2. Washable walls: When buying wallpaper or paint, ask about the washability. You want a surface that will come clean with a little soap and water. Benjamin Moore Regal collection has been formulated for easy cleaning.

3. Protect your investments: Consider having your furniture treated with an eco-friendly stain protector.

4. Indulge in something awesome. Weather it’s a feminine blush velvet toss cushion, or a cobalt and gold enamel lamp. Consider a few items as the costume jewellery of the room.

5. Portable, mature looking storage; I’m a big fan of canvas storage bins in adult friendly patterns, like these by Pehr Designs. If you don’t have anywhere to shove them at the end of the day, top each bin with a decorative throw blanket or cushion and voila, ‘cabin chic’.

Michaela Burns is the owner and Principle Designer at Mint Décor, a Toronto based interior decorating firm. Mint Décor focuses on building beautiful family spaces, for clients of all ages and budgets. Michaela is mother to 2 boys, aged 1 and 3. She’s a believer in the immeasurable power of the mom tribe, and dry shampoo.

Photo credit: Nina Teixeira