A Stylist’s Guide to Creating a Kid-Friendly Living Room

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Part of the rite of passage as a parent is taking your house from adults-only to a kid-friendly home. Before you start having nightmares about living room furniture that looks like it belongs in your kids’ preschool classroom, rest assured that there are plenty of living room ideas that feel welcoming to both parents and kids. In hopes of helping you achieve that balance, we reached out to top design and organization experts and got some great tips and tricks. Keep reading to see them all. 

Invest in an open floor plan.

This design trend allows family members to see each other without being in the “same” room. Suzi Dailey, Luxury Coastal Realtor at RealtyONE says, “The previous trend was to have two steps down into your family room, but now people want one large level.  They're looking for level, open floor plans, and many people want a larger island that opens up to the other room.”

Make it colorful. 

HGTV highly encourages going bold when it comes to kid-friendly living room ideas. Whether it’s a coat of paint, living room furniture or a color-coordinated bookshelf, color is a great way to make a room feel warm and welcoming.

Utilize empty wall space.

Jaime Hord, owner of Horderly Professional Organizing says, “Don’t forget that empty wall space can turn into an amazing storage space for everything and anything from decor, family photos or additional containment. We love using The Container Store’s Elfa System to create custom-designed storage spaces for our clients.

Opt for a wooden dining room table.

Not only will a wood table be able to handle kids' dents and dings, but it also will give your eating space a laid-back vibe instead of feeling like a super-fancy environment. We love this one from Wayfair; it's the perfect size for a cozy kitchen nook. 

Purchase furniture with extra storage.

This is also a must for Hord. She says, "If space is limited, think about getting furniture with built-in storage options. Whether it’s a storage bench, storage seat, or a sectional with a secret storage compartmentget creative when staging your space to make it beautifully functional for you and your family. These hidden storage options are not only handy, but they’re comfortable for the kids to hang out on too!"   




Create a space just for the kids. 

A great way to create a kid-friendly living room is to give them their own space. This way, you can keep all their toys, books, stuffies and art supplies in one space, and the kids know that space is safe. We love the idea of an indoor fort or reading nook!


Create a gallery wall with their art. 

According to Michelle Manske, owner and organizer at Henry & Higby, this is a great way to create a family-friendly living room. She states, “Create a gallery wall in your living room for children’s artwork with vintage frames from flea markets or the ones sitting in your grandmother’s attic. The variation in frame types and sizes will create a natural focal point to display artwork. The mismatched open frames make rotating artwork pieces very easy and create an easy juxtaposition between youth and adult worlds.”

Do cut the corners.

No one wants to see a new walker take a nosedive towards the corner of the coffee table. And, those plastic corner buffers aren’t what anyone would call chic. Here’s a compromise between safety and style: consider buying a round table or a pouf. There are dozens of styles and colors to choose from, and some are even big enough for board games! If you must have something square, consider an ottoman with soft fabric

Use decorative storage bins. 

Hord says, "In your living room, remember that containment is key to restoring order to your space. However, you definitely don’t need to sacrifice beauty for functionality. Use decorative storage bins to put on open shelving or inside cabinets to contain different types of categories like electronics, games, kids toys or books."

Give them a space to write on the walls.

Instead of waiting for the inevitable, give the kids their own space to write on the walls. Not only is it a great creative outlet, but if there’s a real artist in the house, it’s a way to constantly give your living room an update! We love this peel-and-stick chalkboard decal from FancyWallsStore on Etsy.

Buy kid-and pet-friendly foliage.

Plant expert Amber Guetebier, offers this advice, “Having plants in your living space is not only great for mental well-being, but they are also helpful in purifying the air. But it's important to make sure the plants are non-toxic to kids and pets since we all know both are curious. Many easy houseplants are kid-and-pet safe, including the Money Tree (Pachira aquatica) and the Parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans). 

Rent furniture.

You’re totally over the fast furniture phase of life, but committing to something pricier can be scary when you’ve got kids at home. Fernish, a service that allows you to rent furniture on a monthly basis, offers beautiful furniture that you can try out before you buy. “We help customers who need flexibility in their life. As their child grows, their furniture needs may change, so we make sure they're not stuck with furniture that they don't want to keep forever,” says co-founder and CEO Michael Barlow. Wondering about spills? He states, “We know life happens! We offer upholstery on our items that is commercial grade and is made for living." And yes, there’s a sustainability aspect to it as well. In 2020 alone, Fernish was able to not only save consumers $200 million in furniture purchases and also helped to eliminate 247 tons of furniture from landfills. 


—Gabby Cullen



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