Nov 28, 2015

Stylish & Child Friendly Spaces

A happy home is a stylish home!  The reverse is not always true.

Have you ever been to a friend’s home and wondered where all the “stuff” was? Why was there nothing on the coffee table? The answer was that things had been put away until the kids could learn not to touch them! Doesn’t this seem a little backwards (not to mention boring)? Children must learn to live around our pretty things, learn to appreciate them, and thereby learn to respect and keep items in a nice condition. Children want to learn the stories behind our treasures. At the same time, there’s no way around the fact that we must learn to live with their treasures as well.

A stylish, child-friendly space begins with a mindset. First and foremost you must give up the notion that you will have a pristine, museum-like home. Then you must let go of the little things like scuff marks on baseboards, fingerprints on windows, marks on walls. Start to view those as precious memories. Allow them to be the hallmarks of a time we parents can never get back.

This certainly doesn’t mean our homes can’t look stylish and beautiful, while at the same time feeling lived-in and functional! By setting up your home to give children the artistic freedom they need (and also some athletic freedom), you’re also giving them a home in which they can feel comfortable and loved. Make your child feel as though he or she is front and center in your home, as though no room is off-limits (the off-limits rooms are the very ones they will gravitate to first). Your home will be much happier for it.  And remember: a happy home is a stylish home!

Here are a few ways you can combine adult and child spaces into one stylish, cohesive look.

1.  When in Rome

   My daughter kept drawing on her door…over and over! Frustrating, yes. End of the world, no. I painted over her door with chalkboard paint. Now she happily doodles and leaves sweet notes.  Instead of wanting to shriek every time I pass by, I can smile.

2.  Pick Materials that can Withstand a Tornado (aka your children)

What do reclaimed wood floors, distressed tables, and vintage leather sofas have in common? Each can withstand an active child over and over again and look all the better for it.  When you have these types of materials, you won’t notice scratches and spills nearly as much.  Perhaps the white linen bedspread of your dreams could wait a few years in favor of an equally stylish, washable coverlet.

3.  “A Bouquet of Sharpened Pencils”
Kathleen Kelly in the movie “You’ve Got Mail” wanted a bouquet of sharpened pencils.  I couldn’t agree more.  You’re going to have pencils, Sharpies, & construction paper anyway.  You might as well make them look pretty.  Any item looks best when it’s grouped with like items. Stuff 25 yellow pencils in a cup or mason jar for instant appeal. Stack colored paper in a tray for eye candy.

4.  Display their inner Picasso

It’s no secret that kids love to see their artwork hanging around the house. Make them feel proud while at the same time creating a colorful gallery that will work beautifully on any wall in your home. View their artwork with a different eye and you just might discover an abstract work that will pop on your walls. Choose simply lined frames and cover a wall with various sizes. Artwork can also be hung with clothespins or binder clips from a wire for frequent changing.  Children will feel so special when they see that you value the pieces they brought home.

5.  Contain it Beautifully

Unusual containers for toys can disguise the fact that your kitchen is housing approximately two hundred Happy Meal toys and fifteen yo-yos.  Hang a metal flower box painted in a zippy pattern on your kitchen wall to catch little toys, chalk and crayons.  Mesh trash cans filled with Legos actually look pretty cool.  A round vase filled with Pez dispensers would be a fun conversation starter!

Having a stylish space alongside children is all about blending the two categories seamlessly and at the same time making kids feel a part of the home. Rather than hiding evidence of the kids, display their things proudly and creatively. Your stylish home will be happier for it.

Blog by Martha McGlothlin of Martha Jane Style. For more of her ideas, check out her Instagram Her new blog, Martha + Jane will be up very soon. In the meantime, check out The Confetti Chronicles.


Love all your awesome kid friendly spaces! Totally agree with you how stylish it can make a home! Love the pencil bouquet, may have to sift through my kids 10,000 pencils and markers and group them alike on our craft table! Love that!

Awesome article with practical, creative ideas!!

Thanks so much Brooks! I appreciate your kind words!

Thank you Laura! So glad you enjoyed it!

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