Hip Design With Kids in Mind

Don't lose your design edge because kids are in the mix. These four case studies will show you how to mix kids and hip home style.

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Photo By: Cati Teague Photography

Photo By: Cati Teague Photography

Photo By: Cati Teague Photography

Photo By: Cati Teague Photography

Photo By: Cati Teague Photography

Photo By: Cati Teague Photography

Photo By: Cati Teague Photography

Photo By: Cati Teague Photography

Photo By: Cati Teague Photography

Photo By: Cati Teague Photography

Photo By: Cati Teague Photography

Photo By: Cati Teague Photography

Photo By: Cati Teague Photography

Photo By: Cati Teague Photography

Functional Meets Pretty

The single mother and daughter who live in this Decatur home outside Atlanta share a pretty space where toys and other kids gear is hidden within the beautiful design. A buffet cleverly hides bins with toys. "This project is a great example of a common request I get from clients with small children, who do not need a formal dining area: how to create a play space without having a room that's completely devoted to kids and toys," " says designer Gina Sims. These clients want a space for their children, but do not want to lose the "adult" feel of the room.

Before: Color Explosion

Far from the right use of color, instead this Georgia dining room is a riot of out-of-control toys in bright primary colors. Designer Gina Sims stepped in to bring order where there was formerly design chaos. Her tips for designing with kids in mind are simple. Follow these rules and find your own life-with-kids-design-harmony:

1: Rugs with pattern hide stains.

2: Choose chairs and tables with easily wipeable surfaces.

3: "Real" furniture and rugs can transition to adult spaces when the kids are older.

4: Focus on style that flows easily with the rest of the house. This space shouldn't automatically look like a kid zone, just function like one.

5: Performance fabrics like Revolution or Crypton on upholstered pieces allow for even red wine to roll right off!

Before: Out of Control Kids Zone

The brightly hued children's toys previously dominated this dining room space. It was an example, says designer Gina Sims, of a common problem: how to integrate a child's toys and make them accessible for play without relinquishing design control and focus.

Before: Color to the Rescue

There are many ways to use fabric, color, pattern and other design tricks to make a common room more suitable for children and their toys. Designer Gina Sims recommends first and foremost, "style that flows easily with the rest of the house. This space shouldn't automatically look like a kid zone, just function like one."

Play Time

Designer Gina Sims cleverly integrated the daughter's pink play kitchen into the design scheme of this converted dining room.

Gray + Pink = Feminine Perfection

Gina Sims chose a neutral gray for the walls of this Decatur home to complement the pink rug and accessories in this playroom-slash-living-area shared by a single mother and her young daughter.

Pastel Pops in Foyer

Pretty and on-trend pinks and mints bring this kid-friendly space together. Designer Gina Sims recommends being strategic when it comes to shelves in shared kid and grownup spaces. "If you have a book shelf, allow the bottom two shelves to have tall baskets for toy storage and the other shelves can house photographs, vases, books and other items you love. Brace these pieces to the wall and you're good to go!"

Kitchen Nook

This home in Decatur, Georgia outside Atlanta has five boys all under the age of 5, which means lots of mess. Designer Gina Sims solved that "problem" by creating an adult nook in the kitchen where the boys' art supplies are hidden away in the buffet. Sims advises going up when it comes to design and other elements you want to keep out of kids' reach. "The wine storage went up the wall out of reach, and we added impactful art, lighting and window treatments to draw the eye up," says Sims. Sims was also strategic in her choice of materials for the seating. "The plastic molded chairs are easily wiped down (or hosed off!) and the machine made (read: inexpensive) rug has lots of color and pattern which hide stains," notes Sims.

Before: A Cluttered and Unruly Kitchen Nook

Children's toys and art supplies can quickly take over if you let them. Designer Gina Sims solved the problem of five little boys and a bounty of art supplies by transforming this neglected, disorganized space into a stylish breakfast nook that still holds space for the children's art supplies (but hidden away).

Punchy Patio

A family of five uses this patio for play and relaxing coffee breaks in Decatur, Georgia outside Atlanta. Designer Gina Sims found the lockers on Craigslist and color blocked them for visual appeal. Backpacks, coats and shoes are all neatly contained within. The children's self-portraits hang above. This porch/patio is now super comfortable and inviting; a great place to unwind for both the work-at-home mom and her children.

Before: Lack of Design Cohesion

This Decatur porch was just a thoroughfare for bikes and toys and suffered from a lack of style. Designer Gina Sims stepped in to rein in the chaos and also transform this porch into a beautiful but still livable space where the family would want to spend time together.

Dine and Draw

A dedicated space on the porch allows this family to grab a quick meal, the mother to share a coffee with friends who drop by or the children to work on homework or art projects.

Multi-Function Space

Lounging, playing, eating and spending time together are now all possible on this colorful, stylish multi-tasking porch.

Color Block Lockers

Mod and fun, these color-blocked vintage lockers are a great way to hide clutter in style in this Decatur, Georgia home.

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