12 Features in a Kid-Friendly Home

Incorporate these elements to create a stylish and worry-free environment for you and your family

By Gillian Lazanik / Courtesy of Houzz.com

A child's laughter can permeate a home and warm the coldest of hearts. Kids can also create lots of messes, from the living room to the bathroom and everywhere in between. Here are 12 features that can help you create a kid-friendly home that’s clean, organized, safe — and fun for all.

1. Fixed-cushion sofas. Kids love pulling cushions off the sofa. One of the best things that I can recommend so that your formal living spaces look orderly, even with little ones jumping on your furniture, is to buy sofas with fixed cushions. There won’t be any fort building with this sofa.

2. Vinyl flooring. If you’re renovating your home, and you don’t want to see your new hardwood flooring get destroyed by furniture being dragged across it, you may want to consider a good-quality vinyl floor. Vinyl floors are virtually impossible to destroy and look incredibly realistic these days. They’re almost guaranteed to last through the better part of your child’s stay at your house without your having to replace them.

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3. Semigloss paint. Having a chalkboard for kids is really great, but you don’t need to create one with chalkboard paint. I like to use semigloss paint when painting kids’ areas. You can choose any color, and it washes up beautifully. Marker, crayon and chalk all wash off easily when a semigloss paint is used. Don’t be afraid to use semigloss on all of your kids’ walls.

4. Carpet tiles. We all know that children and carpet don’t go well together. But if you really want carpet, you should consider using carpet tiles instead of broadloom. If something spills on a carpet tile, it’s easy to lift up the 18-by-18-inch square and bring it to the dry cleaner for a proper cleaning. If the stain doesn’t come out, then you need to replace only that one little square.

5. Area rugs. Generally speaking, I would recommend not using carpet under the dining table if you have children. But if you really want a rug under your table, then use carpet tiles to create an area rug.

6. Tiled walls. If you live with children, it’s best to go with tiles for your bathroom walls. For some mysterious reason, toothpaste gets everywhere when kids brush their teeth. Not to mention, they’re not always so great at locating the toilet in the middle of the night either.

7. Rounded furniture. Even if you live in a house with lots of space, your child will find a corner to bump into. Try to mitigate the damage to your children’s heads, sides and legs by choosing furniture that is rounded, with no sharp corners. There are so many great-looking pieces today that will let you live worry-free for a long time.

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8. Closed storage. You can never have enough storage when you have children, but the best way to keep toys and stuff from taking over is to create ample closed storage. Make sure you have a mix of drawer and door storage to accommodate all the different types of toys.

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9. Kids’ counters. If you want to keep your children from taking over your space, it’s best if you can create a space of their own, close to yours. Children do like to remain close to their parents for a considerable amount of time, so giving them a work and play counter where they can paint and build would be ideal. Try to use a material that is very durable, like quartz, as a countertop, as it will get a lot of use and abuse.

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10. Coat hooks. Children love coat hooks, and are especially good at hanging up their coats when the hooks are mounted at a height they can reach. When creating a space for coats, don’t forget about creating a space for their backpacks and boots too.

11. Floating vanities. Not everyone loves the look of a floating vanity, but they really do make sense for many years when your children need to use a stool to reach the faucets. It’s so great to be able to tuck those stools under the vanity and get them out of the way so no one stubs a toe.

12. Nothing too precious. At the end of the day, what matters most is that you’re not putting plastic on the furniture. It’s important that you choose durable finishes that are easy to clean and furniture that can be used daily without worrying about spills and stains.