Kitchen & dining rooms
As you might have heard,we're big fans of family dinners here at Furniture Choice - and it's important to have the right table to sit around together. However, we're also well aware of how mucky kids can be when eating (or cooking) their meals!
Nothing is totally immune to the impact of kids - so for longevity, keep your table covered with a table cloth when your kids are using it. It doesn't have to stay on the table all the time, and there are some beautiful table coverings out there that can actually enhance the look of your table. Provided your table is strong, durable and sturdy, you'll minimise the risk of scratches and stains.
However it's still a good idea to cover even wooden tables and use placemats when the kids are eating, drawing or playing at the table, you'll find it could last much longer than other selections!
The children will be more likely to sit and engage with you if they're comfortable in their seats, so be sure to take a look at dining sets with padded - and wipe-clean - seats like the Brighton & Richmond or the Somerset and Bali. Who said style had to come second to functionality?
The dining and kitchen areas are much more than a space for a dining table though, and there are many other factors to consider when revamping a room to be both stylish and kid-friendly.
You should make use of corner covers to protect little heads running past, and don't forget to child-proof any cabinet doors - far too tempting for little fingers and toes! It can feel like these preventative measures ruin the aesthetic of your room, but it's worth remembering that they are always removable once your child is older.
On the subject of aesthetics, it's also important to make the room appealing to your kids, as well as being practical and sensible. By this, we're not suggesting that everything should be brightly coloured! It's always an idea to bring elements of family life into the home in a decorative sense. Framing and hanging your children's artwork is a great way to make them feel as though they've contributed to the home, and adds an adorable, quirky touch to a room.
If they've taken the tendency to decorate a little too far in the past - anyone else suffered with doodled-on walls? - you could give them a designated creative area by using chalkboard-style wall stickers. These allow the kids to doodle away with the chalk, but it's easily wiped off, and wall stickers allow you to peel away the chalkboard itself once the fascination has worn off.
Let's face it; any sofa in a house with kids is likely to take a little bit of a beating! This means that any sofa you pop in your lounge needs to be up to the challenge - durable, but stylish.
As such, a leather sofa or suite is likely your best bet. Wipe-clean, hard-wearing and reasonably easy to care for (if treated on a regular basis) - perfect!
If leather isn't your thing though, you could opt for a dark but hard-wearing fabric sofa - just have plenty of blankets and throws handy for the inevitable times when your kids will want a snack and a drink while sitting - or laying! - on it.
More monochromatic colour schemes are incredibly popular at the moment, which means that black, dark grey and navy sofas are appearing more and more frequently in interior design publications.
In any family home, storage is a seemingly on-going battle. However, storage doesn't mean garish plastic boxes anymore. Eco-friendly alternatives to toy boxes are the preference these days, with durable cardboard boxes with fantastic printed designs and stiff cotton toy sacks more popular in the lounge area - again keeping the practical greyscale aesthetic.
Furniture with hidden storage are also a great way to hide books and toys at the end of the day - this Aniline footstool would look brilliant with any suite in a matching colour.
It's not all about hiding your child's favourite things away though. The design of children's books, toys and games is something that's very prevalent in the design world at the moment, and there's no sense in hiding away something really beautiful - instead, display it proudly!
A sideboard or bookcase is perfect for this. Be sure that you secure any bookshelves to the walls as they are just so tempting to little climbing monkeys, and corner protectors are again useful on sideboards.
If there's just too much to even comfortably store away in the living room, you can make their bedroom into a storage-haven as well as a room that they look forward to sleeping in. Maybe you should go for something fun like the Stompa Play midi (complete with slide!) - perfect for combining with Uno cube units - storage and sleep have never been more aesthetically pleasing.
If you're looking for a solution for an older kid's room, be sure to take a peek at the Barcelona Bedsitter cabin bed. The beautifully treated pine will sit well in any bedroom, and offers desk and wardrobe space too. For a more modern child's bedroom, embrace gender-neutral tones that will help the décor flow more harmoniously from your contemporary living and dining spaces to their bedroom.
The NHS advises that to enhance the association of the bedroom with sleep, you shouldn't allow any televisions, tablets, gaming devices or other technology types in the room - not even to charge. Similarly, bright bedding and décor can be too stimulating on a mind that should be winding down for sleep, so white, grey and pastel themes work wonders in bedroom spaces.
A kid's bedroom is used for many things. During the day, it can be used to play, as a time-out zone and a place to do homework. At night, the room always needs to be relaxing and calming to encourage sleep. As such, it's important that the balance of light is right.
During the day, ensure that the blinds and curtains are always open to make the most of natural light. At night, blackout curtains can erase any light from outdoors, and a standing lamp or dimmer switch can totally change the atmosphere of the room into one of peace and restfulness.
Giving your child the chance to explore the great outdoors - but within the safety of your own land - can be really beneficial. Naturally, gardens are very kid-friendly spaces, provided they (and you!) aren't too bothered with a bit of mud, and you do a little research into the surrounding plant-life. Little hands may try to find berries that aren't for eating, and you can easily reduce this risk by removing any harmful plants from their immediate surroundings.
If you've got largely patio or concrete outdoor spaces, you can add a little cushioning to the floor with an array of foam play mats, and these make great surfaces for underneath swings and other fun garden equipment - just be aware that the ground won't be quite as soft as grass would be!
If you've got the space to allow it, cultivating a small vegetable patch is a brilliant way to educate the kids about where food can come from, and even growing flowers is a great lesson in nurturing. In fact, you could even incorporate these kinds of projects into DIY play areas! Why not build a race track around your cabbage patch, or build a teepee from pallet wood to have a fun place to watch your plants grow?
Though kids should always be supervised when playing outdoors, the practical things to remember are fences and gates. Make sure that visitor's won't accidentally swing the gate into playing children, and that the fences are child-proof to avoid any wandering little ones!