Parents have a lot to do. Keeping their homes up to date and trendy might not even be on most parents’ list to-do list. Smart parents will realize that keeping a tidy and stylish home isn’t so much about the extra work involved, as much as it is about minimizing maintenance for the spaces you and your children share. It’s about practicality and functionality. It’s similar to when you’re choosing the best kitchen colors for resale.
There are colors that are not only very pleasing but actually increase the value of your home because they are functional. While these tips may not bring a lot of ROI on your home, they will make your life easier and help your little ones develop some basic house-keeping habits. It makes your day-to-day just a little easier so that you can focus on what really matters.
Often one of the first and most common mistakes parents make when picking out paint colors and floor coverings is to go with the classic baby colors of a soft blue or pink for example. Oddly enough, most of the furnishings and floor coverings that come in these “baby-inspired” colors won’t make it through their first year.
Parenthood often requires something more rugged, something more robust. Look for patterns that hide stains well and for materials that can be washed again and again. Some might scoff at the idea of using exterior rugs inside, but they’re incredibly resilient and make for great play mats. It’s even better if you can go for an intentionally distressed look for hallway runners and other high traffic areas.
This has a lot to do with material choice again. While some might be inclined to go super-resilient, we can’t exactly have a house full of metal furnishings for the kids to potentially bump into. There’s a nice medium in classic wood surfaces. They can still feel somewhat soft and smooth to the touch, be somewhat resilient, and can even be resurfaced once the kids are older.
There’s going to be some sort of liquid everywhere at some point. The trick to keeping your home looking nice through the wilder years of toddlerhood comes down to preempting the destruction. When purchasing furniture try to imagine how well it will hold up to several years of bizarre and brazen abuse.
This can be hard to instill in rambunctious children, but will ultimately make your life a lot easier.
You also have to be mentally and emotionally ready to let this room get absolutely destroyed at times, so prepare accordingly. What we’re aiming for is to contain the chaos into once place. If they want to play in the house, it needs to be in this area. While most don’t have the luxury of designating an entire room outside of the nursery, even a designated area of the living room or kitchen can work.
Try laying out one of those hardy indoor/outdoor rugs and let the child know that this is their area and they can do whatever they want with it. Getting them to keep this area tidy comes a little later.
In the same way that you encourage your child to play in their designated area, you need to reinforce an area of the house that is strictly a no-play zone. This could be your bedroom, the area of the kitchen where you cook, or really any part of the house you don’t want them coloring on.
Don’t present this as an off-limits sort of space, as that will just pique their curiosity.
Rather try and get them to understand how important this space is to you and that you’re proud of it. You want them to help you keep that space as something you can both be proud of.
In the same way, you can use this example to try and compel them to keep their space nice as well.
The kitchen table is the hub of a lot of homes. Projects, after-school snacks, laundry, and maybe the occasional family meal are all vying for space on this one surface. If you’re lucky enough to have room to separate the formal dining room from your everyday eating area, that’s great,
but for most, there’s the one room, if that. It’s going to be a battleground at times, and the space should reflect that. We’ve talked about furniture choice and color a little, but one of the real secrets is storage.
Bookshelves take the clutter of our lives and almost makes it look tidy. It’s true though. Take any pile of random stuff and place it on a bookshelf. Almost looks like it was supposed to be there, right? Bookshelves provide numerous homes for numerous lost items throughout the house.
They also provide a place to put items on display. This can be very helpful with trying to reinforce that idea of pride and respect. And believe it or not, they may actually house books at times, which might be the best thing for your little ones in the long run.
Kids have different priorities than us, as they should. They don’t understand why the vase is special, but they definitely have a favorite toy of their own. If we can teach them to treat their special items with care and respect, there’s a glimmer of hope for them to treat the adult items that way as well.
The same way we display their art on the fridge because we are proud, we can use the children’s toys and other items as decoration on your recently acquired bookshelves.
It’s easy to get them to understand that everyone wants to be able to see their awesome teddy bear, so the shelf is a great place for him to sit when he’s not commissioned for cuddling.
Is it delicate? Is it irreplaceable? It might be time to store some of these more sensitive items until the kids grow up a little. There will be a time to return it to its proper place on the coffee table, but for now, less is more. Stylish is impossible if things are never clean. The real trick to keeping a home stylish is not keeping up with the most recent trends or the most expensive furniture, it’s about keeping your home functional and welcoming, even in the midst of raising children.
Besides if your friends see your children cleaning up after themselves and respecting your delicate property, they’re definitely going to know you have some kind of style, even if they can’t pinpoint what it is.