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The Do's and Don'ts of Family-Friendly Design

By: Mina Hochberg

Are you looking for ways to design your home to make it friendlier and safer for kids? Here are some do’s and don’ts for decorating a home with a family in mind.

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Photo: Emily Henderson Design and Sara Ligorria-Tramp

Don’t Use High-Maintenance Fabric

When picking upholstered furniture, do your research and choose a fabric or material that repels spills and stains — and is resistant to snags. Leather and microfiber are great high-performance fabrics, and tight-weave fabrics are more snag-proof than loose-weave fabrics like tweed. Designer Emily Henderson of Emily Henderson Design used Crypton for this family room sofa to meet her need for a stylish yet stain-resistant fabric.

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Photo: Emily Henderson Design and Sara Ligorria-Tramp

Do Offer Low Seating Options

Whether it’s beanbag chairs, floor cushions, stylish poufs or sofas with low profiles, kids enjoy seats that are low to the floor. “I am a huge advocate of a pouf,” says Emily Henderson. “It adds texture and warmth to any room, and it’s nearly impossible for your kids to hurt themselves on or around it.”

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Photo: Katie Charlotte. From: Cortney Bishop Design.

Don’t Put Rugs Under the Kitchen Table

If you’re not a fan of cleaning rugs that are crusted over with applesauce and spilled beverages, just do away with rugs under the kitchen table. While a rug can add warmth to a room, it may not be worth the hassle of cleaning stains and messes that are bound to happen with kids. Designer Cortney Bishop kept the floor bare underneath this dining table, making messes much easier to sweep and wipe.

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Photo: BoConcept

Do Use Tables With Easily Wipeable Surfaces

If your dining table is a popular spot for crafts and coloring activities, it might be worth picking a table with an easily wipeable surface. Kalina Todorova, interior decorating expert with BoConcept, suggests glass tabletops, which are easy to clean when markers and glue stray from paper. Glass tables are also easy to wipe down after messy meals.

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