10 Design Tips for Parents
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We’ve all been spending more time at home than we perhaps ever thought possible.
And I have a question for you: when you look around your home does it feel soothing and lovely?
You may be wondering: How can my home look lovely when my kids draw on the walls? Why would I buy nice things if my kids will just ruin them?
I believe that our home “talks to us” — our surroundings subconsciously influence our mood, our thoughts and our vibes. So, a huge part of loving parenting and parenting from love is creating a high-vibe home we enjoy — even on a tight budget. (Pssst, it’s often more about getting rid of stuff than about buying more).
Today, I’m sharing 10 design tips for a sophisticated home, even with little kids in tow. Hopefully, it will give you some ideas that you can translate into your space, budget and lifestyle!
- Toy Storage
Often, I see toy storage containers filled to the brim and never properly closed. If you have a massive toy chest or lots of bins and baskets, they might not match each other or even be very functional. Storing toys in a way that looks great and is easily maintained is a great place to start. The actual containers can be anything that suits your taste — nice baskets, boxes, containers or furniture. If you want it to look a little more sophisticated, then perhaps choose natural materials and neutral colors. The storage containers must also be functional and contain all of the toys that you have out. My personal favorite for toy storage is the Ikea Trofast. But it could be a beautiful chest of drawers, piece of furniture, baskets or boxes — nice containers that you enjoy. Once you have your storage taken care of, you can get to work creating the 3 play zones every child needs!
- Kids’ Artwork
A lot of people feel compelled to hang up their children’s artwork all over the house. These impromptu art galleries tend to clutter up the house and make the walls look messy. If you want a home that feels a bit more minimalistic and slightly more sophisticated, my recommendation is to create a dedicated spot where you showcase kids’ art, and then you rotate it frequently. You can take pictures of each piece before you throw it away or you can keep it as a keepsake in a binder or box, but it doesn’t have to be all over your walls. Really consider what goes on your walls because it creates the atmosphere in your home. If you want a gallery of your kids’ art, you could have a beautiful magnet board, cork board, or even a dedicated wall where you switch out artwork over time. But my recommendation is don’t let it be everywhere all the time.
- Family Photos
The same problem often happens with family pictures. They get thrown up all over the house, stuck to a million magnets on the fridge or in lots of little frames that don’t work together. Instead, why not have a gallery wall where you display your most prized family photos or albums in a beautiful way? Or you could have a digital photo frame that rotates thousands of pictures without cluttering up your walls and fridge. Try and keep your surfaces and walls clear or at least be deliberate about hanging pictures that you truly love.
- Your entryway
Wherever you come into your house, by the hall, the mudroom or the front door, there’s usually not enough storage space for everyone’s items. Maybe you have a small cupboard, a few hooks or coat rack, and often this leads to having shoes everywhere or a pile of knapsacks, coats and gloves on the floor. All of that stuff just tends to accumulate and doesn’t feel streamlined or manageable. In my home, we had just a small coat cupboard for all 7 of us. I finally ordered a couple pieces of furniture from Ikea and it has completely changed the way the entryway looks. It feels so much more calming, sophisticated and beautiful. Now all of those items are behind closed doors. That’s a place where I would really take care to put the right storage. If that requires an extra cupboard, even in a small space, I think it’s worth it rather than having the stuff lying all over the place.
- Household Items
When you’re shopping for pretty much anything in the home, try and choose things that are slightly more elegant. This does not mean more expensive. I’ve bought some really inexpensive items from Target or Ikea that look really nice, but are also kid-friendly and not breakable. Think about this when you’re choosing dishes, sippy cups, food containers — you don’t need all the characters, slogans and bright colors. It’s just not necessary. If you want it to be a little bit more sophisticated and easier to manage, you can choose things that look even more grown up or refined. The bonus is that you don’t have to get rid of items simply because you child isn’t interested in that particular character anymore. They have more longevity.
- Child-Specific Items
Think about child-specific items such as diapers and put them in a beautiful container. Rather than having the diaper container and packaging, you can keep the diapers in a nice wide basket, for example. Any area that might accumulate stuff because you’re consistently using it, like a changing table for example, consider organizing it as if it were a beautiful table you were setting for guests — like something that is more for your adult eyes than for your kids. Having a changing table that has beautiful colors, natural materials and nice storage really makes sense.
- Declutter Regularly
Kids bring home all kinds of stuff — knickknacks, stones, rocks, toys, artwork, gifts. All this stuff comes in and if you don’t have a habit of regularly decluttering, then it starts to pile up. The design won’t matter very much because it will be super cluttered. Set up a routine where perhaps once a week on the weekend, you do a sweep of the house and pick up all the weird little things that have made their way in and put them where they belong, or in the garbage or recycling. Start being more routine about it and a bit more ruthless about getting stuff out of your home.
- Adult-Like Furniture
When you’re buying kids’ furniture, consider buying furniture that behaves more like adult furniture in its shapes, colors, textures and materials. Things like your highchair, crib, bed, stroller, rockers, ride-on toys — consider materials and shapes that look more adult-like rather than primary colors and plastic materials. This doesn’t mean it has to be more expensive. I bought a beautiful bassinet for my baby secondhand. It was highly affordable. Maybe it’s wood or more durable plastics. Maybe you buy things in white to fit in with the rest of your decor. If you buy one of those baby swings with bright colors and flashing lights, it’s going to look disjointed compared to the rest of your space, and that will influence how sophisticated or how beautiful your space looks to your eyes. You can do this artwork as well such as hanging a beautiful ABC poster or finding a playmat that fits in with your current rug or couch. You don’t have to go for a completely different look and feel just because they’re kids.
- Future-Proof Furniture
When it comes to things like buying a child’s bed, a lot of people will buy a really cute, colorful one with characters, but the problem is children outgrow this stuff so quickly. If instead you buy a bed that could last them into their teenage years and make it safe with a guardrail, or get a baby crib that can grow with them into the toddler and preschool years, you get a lot more longevity. If you’re buying your child a desk, it doesn’t have to be a bright colored kiddy desk. It could be just a regular desk that has an adjustment for their height, and they can use that for the rest of their life. It doesn’t have to be something that’s catered specifically to little children. Beyond the ergonomics and function, the look and feel can be much more adult.
The same is true for things like linens, mattresses, towels. You can get things that are playful, sweet and functional, but that are still slightly more sophisticated. For example, I have a set of linens for my kids’ beds that has these tiny little brown dinosaurs on them. It’s a white sheet with a delicate, subtle pattern. My kids love it, I love it, and it can last for years and years.
That wraps up my 10 tips for having a sophisticated home with kids. Think about buying things with longevity, that are more adult-looking and that match the decor in your home, and keep everything well-stored and organized. All of that is going to increase the sophistication level in your home.
If you enjoyed this episode, I’d love to hear which tip you think would have the biggest impact for you. Leave a comment below or join me on Instagram @parentingjunkie!