Guest Post: Decorating When You’ve Got Kids

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Some people believe that a beautiful home and a child (or more!) can’t exist harmoniously together.  As precious as our children are to us, we realize that they are also messy, lively, curious people and setting our treasures among them can feel like the equivalent of hanging a chandelier in a monkey cage.

© Flickr User xazzz

Because of this, many people choose to hold off on decorating, telling themselves that they’ll do it once their small children are older. Then, the kids become teenagers and between backpacks getting slammed down on tables and loud friends filing in and out of the door, the decision is made to wait on decorating a little bit longer until the kids are out of the house. The kids then grow up, they leave the house, and then they are bringing their children back to visit the grandparents.

See what I’m getting at??? If you wait until the “right” time to decorate, it will never happen! NOW is the right time, no matter what age or stage your kids are at.

When my oldest was a baby I was always being told by people who came over that I was either going to have to pack everything away, or move everything 4 feet off the floor. (A very depressing thought for someone who loves to decorate!) I’ve found however, that that isn’t true! My son is 5 now and he has broken ONE thing. Ever. And he is NOT a perfect child. He runs….he jumps….he gets really wild….but he’s grown up knowing that he can’t touch everything around him, so he doesn’t.

You may worry that by doing this you’ll just be giving yourself one more reason to be saying “No” all day long. But if you are consistent your kids will learn quickly what they can and cannot touch, and if you start decorating when they are babies you probably won’t have to say “no” much at all- they’ll be so used to seeing everything around they won’t pay much attention to it.

Some tips for choosing your decor:

Choose fabrics for couches and pillows that are durable and easy to clean.
Avoid glass tables if you’re going to be driven insane by lots of fingerprints. A glass coffee table is lovely but a child who’s just learning to walk will be grabbing onto it for support and leaving behind their adorable but messy-looking little prints.
Keep things that are irreplaceable up high.  Just because we’ve only had one accident doesn’t mean I’m willing to completely throw caution to the wind and stick my great-great-grandmother’s glass apothecary jar on the coffee table. Use low tables and shelves for displaying things that don’t have a lot of sentimental value.

I love to have a beautiful home, but I don’t want my house to look like a museum. My kids are my world, and I want that to show in my decorating. Here are some ways to incorporate the kids into the decor without letting your home look like a daycare:

Use chalkboard paint. Buy a big mirror or picture frame at a thrift store, paint the glass with chalkboard paint, and hang it within kids’ reach. Paint the fronts of dresser drawers and use chalk to label what’s inside. Or paint a wall in a playroom, kid’s room, or even a kitchen.
Use your kid’s creations as art. Frame their best drawings using light colored frames and bright colored mats that match the picture. Create a gallery wall using drawings your kids have made. For projects that can’t be framed, take pictures and display the photos in a digital frame.
Silhouettes are very popular and can be a life-long keepsake. Frame them, put them on pillows, or even use them along with a name to label an individual child’s shelf or cubby.
Find pretty ways to store necessities. Use baskets to store toys and baby supplies, fill glass dispensers with hand sanitizer and store kid’s art supplies and other items in buckets or bins that compliment the rest of your house.

I hope this was encouraging for anyone who wants to decorate but has felt like it wasn’t a possibility. I believe that no matter what the age of your children, you can have a gorgeous house that’s enjoyable for your whole family.

– Brooke @ Inside-Out Design

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