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Kid-Friendly Interior Design Tips

Having your house look great when you have kids can definitely be challenging.

Having your house look great when you have kids can definitely be challenging. But where there is a will, there is a way. There are so many family-friendly materials on the market now, like the stain-resistant fabrics found at many stores such as Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, Crate, and Barrel, etc. and even stain resistant rugs! Interior Designer Genevieve Gorder also has 5 great tips to live by to help your house look great even with kids and pets in the home:

“When you were young and in your first place, your budget probably didn’t allow for the swanky sectional or one-of-a-kind art pieces you yearned for. And now that you can afford that gorgeous handcrafted table, there’s a new problem … perhaps a few of them. Small, loud, rambunctious, adorable “problems” that run amok in your house, leaving a trail of Legos and cracker crumbs in their wake. How can you create a beautiful home when you’re sure your children will be one step behind you, ready to innocently destroy it?

We had the chance to get some advice from someone who knows a thing or two about home design and kids: HGTV’s Genevieve Gorder. Gorder was in town to help celebrate the opening of Cost Plus World Market‘s first Pennsylvania store (751 Horsham Road, Montgomeryville), and with her was her 8-year-old daughter Bebelle. We snagged a few minutes of her time to learn how she’s created stunning, functional, practical, and durable spaces for families, including her own. Here are her five tips for every family.

Include the kids, but don’t design just for them. Gorder says, and many of us can agree, that often we decide that as parents we can’t have nice things and just turn the house over to the kids, allowing every room to be a play space. “I feel like when we overdesign for kids — which is really easy to do because it’s fun and colorful and you’re excited — but we forget that we are also living there as adults, too,” she says. “I don’t want to see a rubber playmat in your living room! Design up for kids; they have one of the most sophisticated senses of color and imagination.”

Step away from the sets. When it comes to bedding, its easy to buy a fully coordinated, all-in-one set and call it a day. But minimal effort will deliver minimal results. “Incorporate old, and vintage, and delicate, and texture so they learn to live with these things as well,” says Gorder. “Just as we introduce them to languages and new foods, we want to increase their palate for the world of visuals.”

Don’t fall for a theme. Kids change their minds as quickly as they outgrow clothing, “so I will not overcommit to one style or one color,” says Gorder. “I tend to bring in colors from the rest of the house so it’s not a dramatic departure in flow. Let their room be a light gray or a neutral as the backdrop, and layer contents in — if they are into Dora, or Star Wars, let that layer in, but at the same time allow it to layer out. Don’t do the whole room! Don’t overcommit.”

Accept that like life, everything won’t be perfect. “Especially with our first child we all tend to over-worry that they are going to trip, they are going to scribble on the couch, that I need to put bumpers on every hard edge,” says Gorder. While safety is always a priority, a well placed chair can hide danger zones, a washable slipcover can protect a quality couch, and, dark area rugs ground a room and hide minor spills.

Elevate basics to create usable storage. You know that popular Swedish store? Gorder shops there, too. “I tend to buy inexpensive furniture that can hold a lot of containers. But then I’ll buy beautiful fabric boxes with patterns, or leather boxes, or wooden boxes, and label really well what goes where. Organize, but do it beautifully. It’s not all function, even with kids.”

Gorder really believes you can have a stunning home that’s safe and practical for your family. In fact, she’s working with Land of Nod to bring beauty to even more household basics.”

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