Yes, You can have nice things. This may seem like a stretch. As any parent can attest, the struggle to keep your house clean and orderly is real, especially when you have tiny beings running around tracking a seemingly endless supply of paint, sticky fingers, and bodily fluids. But take heart, you don’t actually have to cover your entire house with plastic or furniture from the bargain store, you just need to know what to look for.
1. Choose dark, patterned rugs, and don’t spend too much on them. When is doubt, always go darker. Dark colors hide a whole range of sins, from painting mishaps to red wine spills (an avoidable byproduct of having children in the first place). It may be tempting to drop a pretty penny on a rug, but in the high traffic areas that is never a good idea.
2. Embrace easy clean fabrics. In the last decade or so these have improved exponentially, so much so that it is hard to tell the difference between “performance” fabrics and their less indestructible brethren. New weaves such as solution-dyed acrylic are colorsafe and cleanable with bleach water (even if your sofa is red, blue, or black). This doesn’t have to be stiff outdoor fabric, either—there are yummy velvets and linens. We love fabrics made by Perennials or one called Crypton.
According to industry experts, Crypton is soft, beautiful, and indestructible. It’s even been installed in the White House and Buckingham Palace. People literally wipe red wine off without leaving a trace. These will often be an upgrade, but if you have kids like mine, it is certainly worth it.
3. Reconsider leather. Have you been avoiding leather because it’s too luxe? There’s no need! For an easy-to-clean option, consider leather dining chairs, sofas, or accent seating: Most high-quality leathers simply wipe clean. And how’s this for a bonus: Scratched, gently used leather actually looks better over time.
4. Look for upholstered ottomans.
This option will have your home looking enviably chic and keep you from worrying about your coffee table’s dangerous sharp corners.
“Upholstered ottomans can appear so luxurious and are safe for your little ones,” says Christina Hoffmann, an interior designer and creator of luxury e-commerce lifestyle site Epitome Home.
If your room is on the larger side, choose a few smaller ottomans and group them in front of your main seating area to mimic the look and feel of a larger coffee table.
5. Embrace the rustic look.
It might seem counterintuitive, but Chicago designer Summer Thorntonswears by incorporating rustic, antique-looking pieces throughout your home.
“That way, when a little scratch or ding happens, you don’t notice it,” she says. “It just adds to the overall charm and complexity of the piece.”
6. Take advantage of built-in’s.
It’s nearly impossible to contain all of your kids’ stuff in their bedrooms, regardless of how big your living space might be. To control the chaos, consider built-ins with closed storage, which Thornton calls “a godsend for families.”
A good interior designer or contractor can create a system for you with open shelves at the top for books, accessories, and other breakables, while closed storage at the bottom can hold board games, dolls, and other toys.
“We’ll usually build them and incorporate baskets that hold the toys, so kids can just throw all the toys in the baskets, parents can toss the baskets in the built-in and then close the door,” she says. “It creates instant organization.”
t turns out you don’t have to deck out your entire place in shabby-looking, bargain-basement home decor just because you have kids.