Recently I contributed to an article on Stuff Homed all about how to create a kid friendly home. It is certainly a passion of mine to create homes that families love to live in and my style of interior design tends to be family focused. Meaning the kids and the parents both love it! I have definitely taught my kids to respect our home and the furnishings in it and think this is really important. We have also created spaces that work for us as family that we all love. Here are some of my top tips for creating a family home that you all love!
For a home to be family friendly and not end up as a giant pile of clutter, storage is key. If everything has a home - and if your kids know where this home is - then there is no excuse for everything accumulating on the floor. Think outside the box - as I mention in the stuff article we have a large black metal tool box which holds all the barbies and their related paraphenalia.
Making sure the kids can actually use the storage is really important - for example they can't hang up their jacket if they can't reach the hooks.
Baskets under a bench at the front door are a great place to store shoes, hats, scarves and other every day items - and keep them out of sight but easily accessible.
In kids bedrooms think about using their wardrobe space most effectively. Keeping all their clothes in drawers inside the wardrobe is a great way to keep their bedroom free of clutter. Or perhaps a large toy box at the bottom of the wardrobe means that they can easily tidy their own room up.
A dedicated playspace
A game changer in our lives is the seperate playroom. Its decorated in a fun style but it still fits with the rest of the house. The huge wardrobe is kitted out with shelves with specific places for books, boxes for the play mobile, boxes for the lego, a dress up shelf and a dedicated craft area. This means all the toys are in one place, (as in not under my feet or in my line of sight when I'm indulging in my latest netflix addiction once the kids are in bed). If you have the luxury of designing your own home, dedicating a room for the kids to entertain in is always a great idea - and this will grow with them as they grow up as well - in future years the barbies will be gone and this room may be a dance studio or a teenage hangout. It also means when we are entertaining the adults invariably hang out in the open plan kitchen, living, dining space which works well for us and the kids wreak havoc and contain the mess in their own space.
Involve your kids when designing your home - especially their own spaces
But don't involve them tooooo much! Just enough so that they think they are making some decisions. I don't know about your kids, but my 6 year old changes her favourite colour more often than she changes her shoes, which is saying something. So although she has a pink triangle on her wall, she has yellow, red and multi coloured duvet covers that we can mix it up with when she is going through one of her phases. Think about how you can incorporate their favourite colours, or their favourite characters in ways that aren't going to ruin the whole interior design scheme you have going on. Bunting, pom poms, cushions and throws are all easy to change when they grow out of a colour or a phase. Wall decals are another fabulous way to add colours, or even characters to a space without permanence.
Family friendly interior design is my thing. When I'm working with a family to create a home for them, I generally find out some of the child's favourites and then put together a mood board for their parents to approve and then present to them to fall in love with - making sure there are a couple of options for them to choose from so they feel involved. This might be giving them two different prints to chose from for their walls, or two different paint colours to select from but I would never let a kid lose with a Resene fan deck! Limiting the options is the key!
Think about how your family lives and entertains
When planning your family home, above all think about how you live. I was so excited to see that plans for a new build I am working on had incorporated direct access from the bike workshop to an outdoor shower that leads to the laundry so the mountain biking Dad doesn't have to traipse his dirt through the house.
If you love entertaining maybe a wine fridge is key in your kitchen design, or if you're a baker bench space and somewhere to store all your bits and pieces is going to make your life easier. If your child loves to read create a snuggly nook that is just perfect for curling up in and make sure there is storage for books handy.
I also love a good study nook and feel that these are becoming increasingly important in family homes - so you can keep an eye on your kids while they are online or work from home easily without feeling locked away in a tiny, cold study.
Most importantly all have fun. As an interior designer, working with a family who wants to create a forever home that suits them perfectly is my dream job!