I strongly believe that a home can be both stylish and family friendly. It is possible to coexist with your little ones and it is possible to do it in style.
The key to designing interiors for families? Versatility. A home's interior space needs to respond and evolve as the family's children grow and the needs of the household change.
Over the years most of our projects involve designing spaces for families with children, so it is only natural that we developed our very own design tactics which we are sharing with you today.
Here are our TOP 10 TIPS for Family-friendly interior design:
1. Lifestyle. Always consider how you live in your home, and the lifestyle you lead. What are the routines of the household? What are family traditions? What is a typical day like? What are the schedules like? How old are the children….these are all questions I ask when designing a plan to suit a family's lifestyle.
2. "Bullet proof" fabrics make interiors sustainable. Select and incorporate durable, practical and treated fabrics to withstand the rigours of family life. Furniture should last a family 10-13 years, without reupholstering. You should be sick of it before it wears out.
3. Placeholder space reserved for future furniture doubles as play space. Today the children may need open play space but as they get older the family may need a sofa or coffee table. By providing carefully planned open spaces, the space plan can accommodate both.
4. Flexible seating maximises space and money invested in furniture. Rather than stuffing the house with chairs and sofas, plan for multiple uses from your furniture selections. Design a floor plan that allows for seating to be moved regularly as household needs dictate. For example, living room accent chairs can also serve as extra seating at the dining room table.
5. Lighting should serve everyone. Ideally a room's design should mix ambient lighting with more focused treatments because the kids playing on the floor of the living room need different light from the parent curled up with a book in the corner.
6. Mix of patterns makes change easy. Our interior décor, for many projects, mixes large-scale patterns into the various room designs of the home. Because the décor is built around these patterns rather than specific colours or materials, this approach allows versatility as kids get older and space needs change. Pieces can be added or replaced with fresh patterns that complement the composition in a new way. This adds vibrancy and a longer life to the design. Done well, the approach can provide historic homage while embracing the evolving needs of a household.
7. Pay attention to window treatments. Long drapes that pool elegantly on the floor area can be a tripping hazard. Instead, opt for simple, wipeable wood blinds or roman shades — those made with natural reeds, such as bamboo, do a great job of hiding jelly smears and can be secured out of reach during the day.
8. Built in storage. This is your chance to increase your opportunities for organisation and storage. Don't leave this out of your plans. Built-in bookshelves across a major wall can corral anything from toys to books and collectables.
9. Area rugs. Whether you have wood floors or wall-to-wall carpet, area rugs can be lifesavers. They soften and warm a space and protect floors from children — and vice versa. When they get grungy, flip them over, send them to the cleaners or simply replace inexpensive ones. Jute, sea grass and sisal add texture and are incredibly durable, making them great for heavily trafficked areas. For a softer landing, try an all-wool or wool-blend rug, which will wear well and resist stains.
10. Don't sacrifice. Don't be afraid to do what you love. Hire a professional if you need some guidance, but don't feel like you have to sacrifice the look you love because of the little ones. Compromise maybe, but most ideas can be tweaked to work according to what you love.