It's tough out there and your home should feel like a sanctuary. But just because you have a family doesn't mean you have to compromise on style, you just need to be clever about the pieces you introduce into your home (Just for a few years!)
Sticky fingers and muddy boots are standard in a family home, but you shouldn't need to worry every time your little humans put a dirty hand out to catch a fall or wipe their nose along your sofa, a home needs to be lived in after all. Furniture manufacturers and home-ware designers are savvy enough to provide some really clever solutions for hard-working homes these days. Sofas made with luxurious looking 'clever' velvet allow almost any spillages or marks to be easily removed- making them perfect for a family home. And those retro leather sofa's on EBay and Etsy... there's a reason they're so popular with family's and they only get better with a few extra bumps and scratches.
Throws to protect, cover and hide your chairs and sofas from daily grime, and they are much easier to wash than your whole sofa. When the kids have gone to bed, they can easily be taken off and folded away. I don't think my actual sofa has seen the light of day for about two years; our throws seem to be a permanent fixture.
And of course, more of us have caught onto using paint finishes like eggshell or silk on our walls- finishes which wipe clean a LOT easier than the classic matt. A dark shade also helps conceal muddy prints - if you're thinking of a change. But vinyl wallpapers are also available and are a godsend if you want to add some pattern, but don't want to risk splashing out while the kids are young enough to 'enhance' and draw around your fancy patterns!
When it comes to window dressing - try shutter blinds instead of curtains, they are wipe clean and usually at adult height, so you avoid toddlers trying to pull themselves up using the curtains (chocolate fingers on cream curtains anyone? Just me then!)... or the dangers of a pull chord on a roman blind. They look great and provide much-needed shade, during these hot summer days. Plus on a more practical note, they're a great burglar deterrent!
But what else is out there to help our homes from looking like a unicorn exploded at the end of the day?
Coffee tables with rounded edges or circular in shape help avoid those sharp corners for little ones spinning around and learning to walk but add an ottoman style into the mix and this is a winning combination - Coffee table AND toy storage! And, at the end of a long day, putting those toys away out of sight helps the grown-up time to feel more relaxing.
Storage really is the bane of every parent’s life. But if you turn your storage into a feature you're almost winning, and you don't need to spend loads to inject some style. For these years when things need replacing often, you could do worse than Ikea. Buy wisely over expensive classics, just for a few years and until your children have learnt not to glide their 'Hot Wheels' over your mid-century classic sideboard. Belly baskets, wicker baskets, padded footstool cubes that open up...get creative and you'll be amazed at how much extra space you can create around the home without it looking like 'storage', and without spending a fortune. And if you've maxed out your storage options, consider wooden toys and toys that look more classic than plastic!
Wooden floors really come into their own with family life, but when you need to soften the room with a rug, opt for one of the current trends in vinyl rugs...marketed as outdoor rugs, they work just as hard inside, and spillages (of any kind) wipe up easily, leaving your rug looking fresher for longer. If you prefer something a little softer underfoot, opt for something with a really thick pile, or a heavy pattern to disguise any stains that do occur. A wool or Jute material will be really hardwearing.
And finally- not that we want to erase the kids from our homes, but we love this idea of a kitchen blackboard wall to keep all the kids art in one place or, somewhere for your shopping list - and encourage them to draw on this, not the walls!
And above all - have fun around your home, don’t sweat the small stuff and embrace family life!
Photo: Ballard Designs | David Brittain | Hutomo Abrianto | Better Homes & Gardens | Ikea | Jjpby Jan | Luxaflex
I am a PR and Marketing Consultant by trade, having spent the last 20 years honing my skills in the corporate world working in TV, Gaming, the travel industry and management consultancies. I still run a consultancy, specialising in small businesses and brands and really enjoy helping independent businesses to make a name for themselves in the public arena.
However, I am also passionate about all things interiors! And last year launched a new venture which aims to make it easier for shoppers to find unique products from small brand owners and creatives by curating the best of Instagrams small businesses to bring shoppers beautiful brands all under one roof.
I love searching out new brands; working with them and giving them another platform help raise awareness. But most of all, I just love interiors. I could scroll through magazines and websites looking at all the beautiful home-wares, all day long.
I've had this passion since I was a child, leafing through the latest Grattan catalogue at the home section, and then getting all giddy at the prospect of a trip to Habitat- for a treat.
These days I'm always on the look out for items for our converted Victorian coach house. There's always something to fix and faff about with. We've replaced drains, re wired, added log burners, replaced floorboards, insulated, plastered, painted, sanded, and grafted... the list goes on! But nothing gives me greater pleasure than finding new cushion covers, or a new rug. It's these details that really make a house a home.
And so I hope to bring a little of my passion to you, to share the things I've found on my endless searches, and to help inspire any other interiors fans.