Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tips for a Stylish & Kid-Friendly Space {Part 1}

When some of the members of your household include little people (who have lots of little toys and like to make messes), if you are anything like me, you will find yourself thinking about how you can accommodate them and their needs without completely sacrificing your own taste.  While some people favor the approach of waiting until their kids are older before they really decorate for their own tastes, I have to tell you, I just can't get on board with this mentality.  For one thing, depending on how many children you have, that could be a long time!  Secondly, buying cheap things that you don't really love (but plan to replace) just doesn't make sense financially to me.  Finally, and most importantly, I'm convinced that there are lots of ways to make our homes comfortable for adult and kid tastes alike!

While some of us are fortunate enough to have play rooms designated solely for the corralling of bright, primary-colored plastic toys, many of us do not have this luxury.  And frankly, even if you do have a playroom, your children will surely spend some of their time playing in the other parts of your home.  So how do you keep a room looking sophisticated, yet still make room for Thomas the Train and the occasional stray greasy finger that makes its way to your upholstered chair?

I thought I would implement a little series and share my ideas with you.  Here's my first tip:

  • Buy quality furniture (this can easily be done for cheap via places like Craigslist!) that you actually like, but be thoughtful about the fabric you choose. I personally would rather have a pretty piece of furniture that may or may not remain pristine than settle for something ugly and not care when it gets damaged.  Besides, there are things we can do to "protect" against furniture abuse!
*Take advantage of indoor/outdoor fabric when it comes to upholstery.  In my opinion, this is pure genius!  We are talking about fabrics that look great but that can be wiped and/or hosed down!  Some even tout the ability to be bleached!  Available in solids and prints and at many price points, this is a surefire way to put your mind at ease when your little people are running amuck near your new club chairs.

 I chose to have this pair of chairs reupholstered in indoor/outdoor fabric (this is exactly what I bought).

These babies really deserve their own post.  They are very dear to me.  

I love that the fabric has a linen look to it (and it's not rough feeling at all!), and yet I have the peace of mind of knowing that it is going to be hard-wearing and can stand up to any and all crazed small people that may put it to the test!

Actually, if I told you a small child once vomited on one of these chairs, would that convince you?  I'm sorry to say, but it's true!

Most fabric stores have an outdoor section.  Browse Lewis & Sheron's options here.


I love this classic black and white stripe.  I've told my mom I think she should have a bench in an entryway of her house upholstered in it :)

When I was deciding what to do with my pair of chairs, I strongly considered using an indoor/outdoor velvet.  House of Fabric (based here in St. Louis!), sells a variety of colors by Sunbrella.  They originally retailed for over $50/yd and now they are less than $17/yd!  I am dying to use one these sometime!

apple green


Mint Green

Who needs the ubiquitous microfiber when you can have the real deal velvet in a stain-resistant finish?! (browse the rest of the colors here)

*Choosing to have sofas and/or chairs slipcovered in machine-washable fabrics (cotton or linen are foolproof options!) is another excellent choice.  Slipcovering gives you the added benefit of easily changing out your look if somebody does some serious damage if you tire of it.  Whether or not you choose it for its kid-friendly appeal, slipcovering gives you a very current, casual look.

I doubled up my protection by slipcovering and using indoor/outdoor fabric on a wingback chair that belonged to my grandparents.  I did this because I chose a white fabric.  In hindsight though, I don't know that it was completely necessary to go with indoor/outdoor.  Since I can remove it and throw in the washer, I probably could have gotten away with a basic white canvas or linen.

Here's the chair as I remember it from my childhood at my grandparent's house.

I think a new slipcover brightened her up quite nicely! (in looking at this picture, I just realized the fabric on the pillow came from my grandmother's stash as well :)

Here are several more slipcovered pieces I would LOVE to call my own :)
I'm obsessed with the box-pleat on these chairs!!

Source: via Anne on Pinterest

This sofa, made by Best Slipcover Company, is a favorite...would love to have this sofa!

Slipcovered Ikea chairs!

Source: via Anne on Pinterest

I love the rumpled look of these linen covers!  Can't you just imagine hoping your toddler would get them all dirty so you'd have to wash them and get them more worn in?  Ok, maybe that's taking it a little too far.  

*Leather is another material people often overlook for its kid-friendly appeal.  Not only does most food wipe off pretty easily, but a little wear and tear here and there only adds to its worn in beauty.

Source: via Anne on Pinterest

This little girl is eating an ice-cream cone on the couch and does her mother look worried?

Source: via Anne on Pinterest

So what do you think? Who else gets this excited about stylish and kid-friendly furniture?!


  1. Include dog-friendly in that last sentence and you can count me in!

    A couple of comments - first, that green fabric on your chairs makes me swoon. We have two sofas in our sunroom (you haven't been privy to those pics yet; but soon : )) that are a similar cover and (I think) a similar fabric. We LIVE in them. And you would never know it from my two other blue rooms, but I am a green girl at heart.

    Second - that slipcover with the black (or blue?) details is fantastic. I've never seen that before.

    Third - it's also important to note that the little girl is wearing rain boots, which suggests that all of the inevitably spilled ice cream will land squarely on those and not the aged leather sofa. Surely that is what I would assume as her mother : )

    Can't wait to read more!

  2. You are hilarious and your chairs definitely need their own post!!