Family Friendly Furnishings

Posted June 28, 2014 in Tips

As an interior designer I have found my design style has done a 180 since having a child. Not only has life changed direction but trying to incorporate toddler toys with my once chic style has been a challenge.

With little ones running around, jumping on sofas and spilling drinks throughout the house, enjoying a stylish interior may seem like a far off indulgence. You can create safe, beautiful and inviting designs right now in every room by changing your perspective and learning to change up your style, control clutter and keep things simple without compromising your grown up style.


Today’s fabric choices offer families anti-stain features without sacrificing style. For instance microfiber fabrics repel moisture and come in a variety of patterns and textures.

I often recommend leather because of its durability and ability to handle hard use. Although it is more expensive than a fabric sofa it will last much longer and is more forgiving of sticky hands and rough and tumbling toddlers and pets.

For families who don’t want to invest in quality leather or don’t like the feel of it, slipcovers offer a budget-friendly solution. They can be regularly washed or dry cleaned to keep things clean and protect your furniture purchase, especially during messy toddler years.


When shopping for living room furniture, keep durability and flexibility in mind. Look at the construction of pieces to ensure they will stand-up to daily punishment. It doesn’t pay off to buy cheap furniture for the living room with the thought of replacing it later. It’s better to buy a sofa or chair with a high density of foam and well-made structure.

While it may be easier on your wallet to buy a cheaper kitchen table, you are better off investing in a piece made from solid wood. Often times the chairs will not hold up to hard use and usually break because of poor joint construction. Poorly constructed or veneered tables will ultimately chip, stain and nick easily. Cheap finishes will not be forgiving to cars running across them, spoons being banged up and down or markers and pens, even if they are labeled “washable”.


With sharp corners and hard surfaces, coffee tables present a hazard. Nearly two million injuries a year are caused by hard surfaces like coffee tables, so you want to protect your children as much as possible. Cocktail ottomans offer the perfect solution. Durable enough to soften your child falls or your tired feet. Put a small try on top for snacks or magazines and your good to go. Ottomans with storage offer an addition bonus of housing all of those toys you have been tripping over too.


Having kids means assorted “stuff” can pile up. There are plenty of design options for handy storage solutions. I love to have one special clean up basket to quickly pile all of those “little” toys, matchbox cars, cards, caps, and army guys that leaves me shuffling through the house at night. We can quickly pick them all up if company is coming and put them away later.

Baskets and bins for storing toys are a must. These can be hidden in the shelves of a coffee table or bookshelf. This makes toys accessible and easier for children to clean up and keeps things out of sight for grown-ups.

Simple cabinets, credenzas or bookshelves with glass doors can protect delicate items, while letting you see your grown-up treasures without having to put them away completely.

There is still something to be said for buying quality furnishings now even when you are in the midst of the childhood tornado. Before you know it, the house will be quite again and if you buy into the notion that it is better to buy cheap just to make things look nice now, you will be buying again and again and again to replace all of the worn out, broken down pieces of junk that looked real nice when you first bought them.

Carolyn Crew is an interior design consultant with over 25 years of experience is all aspects of design. She received her degree from Drexel University in Design and Merchandising and is available for in-home design consultations at Ebert Furniture Gallery. As a busy mom of a 3-yr old she specializes in creating family friendly spaces and simple clean designs.


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