Ask The Expert: Kid Friendly Interior Design

Posted on | June 25, 2011 | 2 Comments

I would love to decorate my house but with a 2-year old it just seems like a losing battle. Do I have to live with interiors by Fisher-Price until she grows up or are there some kid-friendly design solutions you can recommend? Thanks, Jennie

Ask the Design Expert, NC Design Online, North Carolina

Image appears courtesy of Martineau Vermillion Interior Design

As an interior designer AND Mom to a three year old, I am not only thinking of solutions for the client’s dilemmas, but also my own. Choosing durable and kid friendly fabrics is key. Most manufacturers are introducing great looking indoor/outdoor fabrics that work well in family rooms and high traffic/high spill areas like kitchens. Don’t let those old porch furniture fabrics come to mind.  These  new fabrics are soft and come in wonderful colors, textures and patterns.

Embossed and patterned vinyls make wonderful upholstered cocktail ottomans and benches. They are easy to keep clean and great looking too.  Indoor/outdoor rugs can be a good solution under kitchen tables since most of them can be taken outside and hosed off. Be sure you check with the manufacturer before doing this though.

I have come to accept that my home will not be designer perfect during these tender years but I don’t let the toys explode into all rooms of the house. We have delegated a corner of the family room for our daughter’s playthings and try to keep them neatly put away in neutral bins and boxes when she isn’t at play.  Target and Container Store have good looking storage options. There are woven baskets, canvas bins and barrels. I have moved my fragile and expensive accessories to higher areas.

Safety is important too and I don’t specify glass tables with sharp edges when my clients have small children.  I also shy away from jute or sisal rugs in play areas as food and “stuff” gets into the hard to clean crevices. There are nice well priced area rugs on the market today that won’t break your heart (or bank) if you have to replace them in several years. CB2 and West Elm have good options.

Charlotte interior designer,  Amy Vermillion, Allied Member ASID, of Martineau Vermillion Interior Design, offers up a personal and professional perspective to this Ask The Expert question.

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2 Responses to “Ask The Expert: Kid Friendly Interior Design”

  1. Meghan
    June 27th, 2011 @ 12:40 AM

    I love this article and the idea behind it. Homes do not need to be completely taken over by children’s toys at all times.

    As a mom of two young kids I struggle keeping a “nice” house and still have a place for their toys. We have made the upstairs “kid” space, (with the exception of the master bedroom) and for the most part, no toys come downstairs, and if they do, they are brought back up after the kids are done playing. It does mean that I need to put the breakable items up, but I still have my decorative pieces out and don’t feel overwhelmed by big, plastic, and noisy kid stuff throughout!

  2. Liz Hughes
    June 29th, 2011 @ 1:38 PM

    There really are great alternatives to “Interiors by Fisher-Price.” It sounds like designating areas of your home as “kid friendly” works well for you. I like Amy’s suggestions regarding fabrics and rugs. The selections available today are attractive, durable & functional, and can definitely make a difference.

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