One of my biggest fears about having kids was that we were going to be suddenly immersed into kid world where everything would be primary colored plastic. We would be doomed to those weird puzzle-shaped foam floor mats (WHY?) and toys would be coming out of our ears. Partly that’s true – I had to give up my ideals of handcrafted wooden toys painted with all-natural dyes designed by artists in Spain (HAAAAA) and give in to the plastic Little People. Legos and race cars are constantly underfoot. There’s an arsenal of plastic arrows and cowboy guns. And I slowly came to terms with the Playmobil fort covering the living room floor at any given moment.
But that was what I really wanted when I first laid eyes on our house. I stood in what was to become our family room and fell in love with the open floor plan. I envisioned Jude playing on the floor with his cars while I made dinner. I knew exactly where I’d put the Christmas tree, and what it would look like when we had family over for birthday parties. Simply put, it’s where we do all our living.
Thankfully we haven’t had to sacrifice our sense of style too much just because we’re parents now. But it has forced us to get really intentional about designating spots for the toys, or art supplies, or generalized clutter. A place for everything, an everything in its place, right? And with the new addition of the puppy, we’ve had to be extra vigilant about making sure everything gets put into its place (I’m lookin’ at you, tiny trachea-sized Lego). I’m totally aware of every tiny toy that gets left on the floor (although Jude has been really good about picking them up so the dog doesn’t eat them), and I’ve already caught Nickels chewing on my laptop cords.
So it’s almost like we’re babyproofing all over again, but as I look around, I realize that I’m still so happy with the design decisions we made in our family room. Here’s a few tips:
1. Leather has proven to be maybe the best upholstery decision we’ve ever made. Our sofa – even though it’s white!- is easy to wipe down and clean up. The caveat? We don’t eat on it and we don’t put our shoes on it, thus effectively keeping most of the crumbs & grime off of the places where we lounge the most. And the new blue upholstered side chairs are great – they’re easy to clean and the weave of the fabric doesn’t show anything.
2. Spring for fancier fabrics as pillow covers. Not only are they easier to switch out if ruined (hello, stomach flu of 2011), but they can probably be easily drycleaned if absolutely necessary. Almost all of my pillows (except the Jonathan Adler one above) can be removed and thrown right in the washing machine. Our old down pillows work perfectly as the inserts.
3. Cotton dhurrie rugs are my favorite floor coverings; they’re lightweight, easy to clean, and soft underfoot and they’re inexpensive, especially in comparison to wool. Especially now that we have the dog, I’m glad we don’t have thick, heavy piled shag rugs because those would be such a pain to clean, not to mention all the Legos that would undoubtedly hide in there (OUCH). A new thick nonslip rug pad keeps it really comfy and plush feeling underfoot.
4. Toys are corraled in our TV dresser, but bigger items fit into my Land of Nod striped totes. I keep another one around for blankets and pillows.
5. No glass top coffee table for us – instead an estate sale find that I spray painted navy is working out pretty well. It’s a total workhorse and is indestructible. In its many incarnations, the coffee table been a race car track, an art studio, and even a stage. We’ve also loved having the moroccan poufs around. Jude loves to roll them to and fro. They make the perfect little seat or footstool and no worries about anybody bumping their head on it.
Here’s a roundup of some of my favorite family room items — kidproof but not style proof. Plus, I’m loving the Honest Company’s products because I don’t have to worry about them harming Jude – or the puppy, for that matter. And Lord knows we have a lot of cleaning up to do right now.
But! That’s not all – my friends at the Land of Nod (remember this post?) have teamed up with the lovelies over at the Honest Company (LOOOVE THEM) to create the “Feather Your Nest” Pin it to Win It Sweepstakes, where you can enter to win a grand prize (1 year of all Honest bundles + $1500 Land of Nod gift certificate) to create or makeover your nurseries, kids’ rooms, or play rooms. The super-fab giveaway starts today and ends November 1st.