Kid Friendly Design

As a mother of two small children, and a feisty kitten, I know the challenges of designing a home that can be family friendly. For the past few years we have decided to keep out college furniture since our oldest has already marked her territory with beautiful drawings and hot chocolate stains. We are at a point that the space is becoming depressing and not the home that we have wished for. Designing a family-friendly home with kids or pets in mind doesn't have to be a daunting task. Here are a few tips that we have found to be helpful when recreating your space to be family friendly.


Open Floor Plan

The first is opening up the space. Some do not have the luxury of designing a floor plan, or remodeling their space and need to make do with what you have. In this case, de-cluster to create a minimalist look will help. Re-arrange furniture in a way to minimize multiple paths of travel can make more useful living space. If you have the ability to combine rooms, creating a great room with your kitchen, living room and dining room is ideal.

Using Textures

Creating a casual no-fuss design is the best way to go for a successful family-friendly space.

Textures and Pattern- Family Friendly
Textures and Pattern- Family Friendly

This can be done with the use of textures, so age vintage pieces that already have years of "love", contemporary pieces with a weathered look, textured fabrics or wall coverings, and wirable wood window coverings such as distressed blinds or woven reed roman shades.


Durable Fabrics and Patterns

When looking at fabric to reupholster your current furniture, making slip covers, pillows, or fabric selections for new furniture the durability and color should be a main priority.

Ranch House by Eric Olsen(owner/Architect)
Ranch House by Eric Olsen(owner/Architect)

Darker colors and patterns will be your best friend. For durability, slip covers are best because they can be removed and washed. If slip covers are not an option look to the type of fabric. Sunbrella (indoor/outdoor) fabrics or a high poly/rayon linen works well for high traffic situations. Many families opt for a two tone sofa which allows the cushion to be a darker more durable fabric.


The best situation for rugs especially in a dining area is an indoor/outdoor rug. The can be hosed of and dried in the sun. If you can not quite find what you are looking for with indoor/outdoor options, look for rugs that are tested for high traffic. Another create option is using modular tiles such as flor. Many modular tiles are created for high traffic uses, but the great thing is that if one tile is beyond stain removal or repair, you can simply order a replacement tile. The tiles come together and can create patterns so most people don't even realize the rug is modular.

Displaying Artwork


A great way to create a more casual look is framing your children's artwork and creating a gallery wall. The frames give the space a more adult vibe, while the artwork is playful and most importantly meaningful.

Family Friendly Art
Family Friendly Art (Image from Southern Living)

Another idea is to create a space with the use of chalkboard paint and/or magnetic paint and allow your children to display their artistic abilities there. Personally in my house we have a large section of the wall in the dining area painted with chalkboard paint. The great thing about this space is that my little ones can do little doodles with eating, since they can't quite sit still yet.