20+ Tips for Creating a Family-Friendly Living Room

A living room designed with kids and pets in mind doesn't have to be short on style. Check out 23 spaces that are functional, fabulous and family friendly.

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Don't Forget the Rocker

A rocker is a must-have piece of furniture for kiddos. Not only is it great for lulling little ones to sleep, but it's also the quintessential reading spot. Luckily, rockers come in all shapes, sizes and styles, so find one that fits right in to your design. Also, with kids, you spend a lot of time on the floor, so consider having comfortable throw pillows around to sit or lay on.

Select the Right Fabrics

Neutral furniture is a smart choice for the base of any living room. Layer on throw pillows in a variety of textures and colors, and you've created a stylish space for the whole family. Look for fabrics that are nubby or woven. They're more likely to hide stains and smudges than smooth, flat upholstery.   

Make Furniture Work for You

Look for pieces that double as storage. For instance, this round coffee table features a flat top for playtime along with a handy deep drawer for stowing away toys. Quick clean-up options are a must for maintaining a clutter-free and stylish living room. 

Give Pets Their Own Space

Designer Brian Patrick Flynn converted a drum-style side table into a cozy hideaway for dogs or cats. Want to make your own? Hit thrift stores to find a side table that's large enough for your pet to be able to stand up and turn around. Remove the doors and add padding and upholstery fabric to the table's interior. Finally, add a cushy pillow for lounging. 

Embrace an Open Floor Plan

An open floor plan is the epitome of family friendly. It allows everyone to be in one space without feeling crowded. Fill it with comfortable furniture, like this oversized sectional, modular ottomans and cushy turquoise leather barstools, and your entire family will love hanging out together in one space.

Invest in Leather

Leather is a durable material that will stand up to years of wear and tear from kids and pets. It's easy to wipe down and keep clean and will maintain its good looks over time. If you're worried about scratches marring the finish, look for a distressed leather, where scratches will blend right in. 

Match Upholstery Fabric to Their Fur

Okay, this may sound a little extreme but for any pet parent who has spent time cleaning black pet fur off a white sofa, or white pet fur off a black sofa, this tip is a sanity saver. 

Always Add Your Own Style

Creating a family-friendly room doesn't mean you can't include your favorite design elements. Mix in high-end pieces; just make sure they're made of durable materials. Here, beautiful abstract artwork creates a gallery wall that's flanked by gilded tree branch sconces. An Eames lounge chair is paired with a comfortable tufted sofa, graphic area rug and a bookcase that provides open and hidden storage for the family. 

Create a Cheery Space

Happy, cheerful colors evoke a fun, kid-friendly atmosphere. In her own home, designer and mom Alison Kandler paired a navy sofa with wicker furniture and a distressed coffee table, but the brightly striped area rug and candy-colored pink and floral pillows help tie all the hues together. The family space serves multiple functions: a place for kids to create art and play, a home office and a spot to relax as a family. 

Round It Out

With little ones running around, soft corners are a must. Designer Liz Dickson grounds the room with a shag area rug, then pairs wide-seat armchairs with a soft-padded ottoman. 

Remember: It Can All Be Washed

Fear putting white sofas in the family room? Fear now more! The solution is slipcovers (and maybe a few extra throws that can easily be washed). The best thing about choosing white or neutral upholstery for your furniture is that you can easily change the style of your room with accessories. Get more of HGTV Magazine's kid-friendly decorating tips.

From: HGTV Magazine and HGTV Magazine

Include Surfaces for Play

Include flat surfaces, like the striped ottoman and leather bench, in your living room as a kid-level play surface. Built-in bookshelves have closed cabinets below for hidden storage, while starting the open shelves above the reach of little hands allow parents to display favorite pictures, accessories and books. 

Organization Is Key

Having enough storage is essential for a mess-free living room. Built-ins on either side of the fireplace offer both open and closed options. The bookcase shelves make for easy organization of books, while toys and smaller items can be stowed in baskets. Cabinets with doors offer hidden storage for things like DVDs and kids' art supplies.

Unleash Your Creativity

Whimsical design brings childlike wonder to a living room and makes kids (and guests!) feel right at home. Painted blue birds decorate the walls and ceiling in this bright white space. The pretty blue is carried throughout the room in the curtains and tufted pouf. 

Make Spaces Multifunctional

Make the most of the space you have. Here, designer Claire Paquin incorporates a mudroom in this open living room. Keep the space tidy with hooks for coats, baskets for out-of-sight storage and shelves for shoes. 

Bring on the Color

Great visuals transform this living room into a creative experience for the whole family. The bold hues of the custom-designed area rug reflect the colors of the abstract artwork. Sliding paned glass doors lead out to the pool, but with kid safety in mind. The pool is surrounded by clear glass panels that fence it off from the patio area. 

Maximize Your Floor Plan

No more bulky TV taking up a ton of valuable floor space. Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri from Cousins on Call save space in this living room by building in the flat-screen TV and surround sound system. A soft neutral color palette makes the room feel even more spacious.  

Spend a Little to Save Alot

A scratching post is a must for a home with cats. Scratching is necessary for them to stretch and to leave paw scent marks so save your sofa by placing a scratching post in the living room. Hang a few of your kitty's favorite toys from the top to encourage exercise. 

Sink In and Relax

This extra-deep, cozy sectional is the perfect spot for the entire family to pile on. Natural light pours in from the floor-to-ceiling windows taking advantage of the urban setting. Low, streamlined bookcases and coffee tables are ideal for stowing books and magazines, while a cushy gray area rug grounds the room for all-around comfort. 

Keep It Open

Open-concept living spaces are increasingly more popular — both for entertaining and because they make it much easier to keep an eye on the kids. In this midcentury modern home, Fixer Upper's Joanna Gaines kept the living room and kitchen open, while still providing plenty of storage, by replacing a bank of hanging upper cabinets with custom glass shelves. 

Think Low

In this eclectic living room, designer Betty Wasserman uses low furniture to make the space more welcoming for even the smallest family members. The round coffee table and cushy area rug ensure the floor is a comfy spot for watching TV and eating popcorn while jelly-bean-shaped stools add another fun kid-sized seating option. 

Create a Warm, Inviting Space

Lots of seating and a cozy environment make this living room the perfect place to gather as a family. Clean-lined furniture in tweedy gray upholstery is a smart option because it can easily be wiped down and will camouflage stains. 

Display Kids' Artwork

Bring a personal touch to your living room with pillows showcasing your child's artwork. Here, the homeowners scanned the artwork, uploaded it to a digital printing company, then had their little one's masterpiece printed onto canvas and stitched into pillows. Check out online sites, like Shutterfly, to create your own photo-based decor.