Family Friendly Living Room


Before the boys were born, and I had a fresh Interior Design degree under my belt, I swore to myself that I would never let my children take over our house with tons of toy clutter! 5 years later, I have broken that promise here and there but for the most part I think we have managed to maintain a good balance between having a kid-friendly house and still not feel like we are drowning in toys. I accomplished this daunting task by incorporating functionality into our design. Most of the pieces in our living room, for example, serve double duty. Plenty of storage is of great importance to hide clutter in a pinch and the type of storage you choose must be kid-friendly so they can help clean up with ease.

SOFAS

Let's begin with the largest piece in your Living Room or Family Room, THE SOFA. Our sofa was originally custom made to fit my husband and myself comfortably laying down length wise but I also made sure to use select a microfiber fabric that not only could be wiped down for quick clean ups but can be removed and thrown in the wash for periodic cleanings. I had my upholsterer make me an extra set of seat covers to switch out when removing the dirty ones. This has been a huge help in maintaining my light colored sofa looking good as new. So when selecting your sofa make sure that the material of it is resilient to stain, has a stain protector applied to it or apply your own. Slipcovered sofas are ideal but also give a more casual look to your space that doesn't appeal to some people's styles. So if you don't select a slip covered sofa, like the one pictured above, choose one with seat cushions that

COFFEE TABLE

Your coffee table should serve double duty. After having children, you will realize long gone are the days of purchasing something purely for aesthetics. Your coffee table is another piece that can offer you extra storage. I actually am using my boy's train table as our coffee table. After giving it a facelift with Black Chalkboard paint, it now fits in to the rest of my decor but still serves as the boy's activity table. The black color gives it a bit of sophistication but the fact that it is chalkboard paint, gives them another surface for using their imagination and practicing their artistic skills. I added crates underneath the table to hide all the toys once they are done playing and made sure to buy them in black so they would blend in. Many parents make the mistake of buying toy boxes, bins and baskets in bright colors that are better suited for a child's bedroom or playroom than your Living Room. So I would suggest purchasing storage bins in neutrals or natural materials like metal or woven seagrass.

You have so many options that have plenty of storage like oversized ottomans that have storage under the lid, tables with drawers, or simply adding baskets underneath a regular rectangular coffee table. Take advantage of the prime real estate in the center of the room.

MEDIA STANDS

Media stands can come in all shapes and sizes but what they all should have in common it plenty of storage to accommodate things like electronics, dvds and of course games and toys. One of my favorite substitutions for a typical media cabinet is using a Buffet instead. They have larger cabinets and plenty of drawers. Pictured is the BESTA STORAGE COMBINATION from IKEA.

ADDITONAL SEATING

Using refurbished dressers and painting them a funky color is another great storage solution for under your tv. Lastly, you can go simple and use cubed bookcase on it's side like I did to hold 4-8 large storage bins that are big enough to hide all your kids stuff and much more. I chose one from Ikea with black fabric bins 13x13 for storing train tracks, board games, Hot Wheels collection and Legos.

Another great storage solution that can also double up as extra seating. Storage Cube Ottomans. These cute little upholstered squares can be moved around the room where needed but also offer an extra storage solution to quickly hide away items scattered around your space. These cubes come in great colors and patterns.

AREA RUGS

Area rugs serve to add warmth to a space with the added texture it provides and ties in your color palette or provides a neutral background depending on you selection. In either case, I highly suggest to delay the purchasing of that high-end persian rug for when the children are way in their teen years. For now, if you still have young children, there are plenty of cheaper alternatives that are still stylish but that you won't feel guilty for tossing every few years. I found my 8x10 area rug at ROSS for $89! Truly a bargain and because it was a darker color, any stains from an occasional spill won't be easily noticed. Target and Walmart also have great selections of large area rugs to choose from and if your budget ranges in the $300 range for an 8x10, Home Goods, IKEA and Home Depot or Lowes also have great selections that won't break the bank. Another option, is to choose a rug described as Indoor/Outdoor. These rugs may be more expensive but they come in a variety of colors and patterns and can be sprayed down with a hose outside periodically for cleaning. I highly suggest taking home 2-3 rugs and testing them out in your space before making the final selection. You can always return the ones that didn't make the cut.

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