Combining fashion with function to create a family-friendly space can be a challenge. Here are some creative ways to adapt your home so your children have places for play and exploration that you can enjoy, too
1 Embrace the silly
Life is too short to be serious, so consider adding some silly elements to the home to amuse not just you but the kids and guests, too. These fun things could take the form of an art print, maybe a small wallpaper feature wall, or an animal toothbrush holder. Everyone needs a laugh so make it your mission to add one silly element to your home!
2 Get the kids involved in decor decisions
Whether it’s a fun, quirky clock or a set of playful cushions for the family room or playroom, it’s great to include some decor items in your home that the kids can relate to – and letting them select a few of these accessories themselves will make them feel important, too.
3 Create a space for them to read and chill
Children have busy minds and are always on the go. Just like us adults, little ones benefit if encouraged to take some time to chill out and read or look at a picture book. Creating a separate space or zone for them to do this in the home could simply involve buying a couple of beanbags and placing them in an unused nook or corner along with a small bookshelf. A few floor cushions and some picture rails to display books in a corner of their bedroom is also a simple, yet effective, solution.
4 Adults keep out
Giving children their own space (a rumpus or playroom) where they can build with Lego, craft up a storm, paint and draw is a win for everyone – and keeps all that creative flair contained in one room. The key to creating a successful, kids-only space is good storage. A cube unit with separate boxes for craft products, toys, blocks, dress-ups etc makes tidying-up a breeze.
5 Bring nature into their spaces
Having plants in your home is not only a great source of oxygen, they also apparently have a positive effect on the mind! While you might have a few house plants scattered around, why not give your child the responsibility of looking after their own plant in their bedroom? Make an adventure of it by visiting a garden centre and selecting a plant and pot together. To keep costs down, buy a simple terracotta pot which your child can then paint or decorate.
6 Encourage outside play
To get children outdoors, consider what elements you could introduce to your backyard or courtyard to make it a fun place to hang out. A Wendy house, hut or tree house would keep your little ones busy for hours, as could a sandpit, climbing wall, swing and tramp. If space is tight and you have a blank fence why not create a giant blackboard for the kids to play games like noughts and crosses or hangman on? With a free afternoon up your sleeve, some chalkboard paint and some treated timber, you can have this easy project knocked up in no time.
7 Be creative with storage
Help combat the overflow of stuff that seems to occur when children hit the scene by utilising multifunctional furniture. Clutter can be controlled by incorporating some savvy storage solutions. If you are concerned about toys lying around in your living areas then make storage a design element by placing baskets into empty corners and attractive boxes into open shelves. Not only will these items be able to store goodies, they will add colour and texture to the room. Choose a double-tiered coffee table that can hold toy baskets on the bottom shelf, or opt for a table with drawers. Store board games and toys in a trunk or chest that doubles as a low table. Add lift-up storage under window seats.
8 Build a fort
What child doesn’t love hiding away? A makeshift tent made from a sheet, pegs and some chairs can be set up pretty quickly in the corner of a room. Fill it with some cushions and a soft blanket for them to play in. They may even take a nap in there if you’re lucky!
9 Just say the word
Inspire and motivate your children by adding some kid-friendly word art. With a plethora of sayings and quote prints available, you are bound to find a few words of wisdom that speak to you and your family.
10 Incorporate their masterpieces
When kids create something, they want to be able to share it with others. While it’s impossible to keep every drawing or daub, picking a few masterpieces and displaying them in large frames is a good option – big frames will fit most artworks so you can swap out the pictures every few months. A piece of string with wooden pegs works well, too, and can be hung in a child’s room, playroom or family space. Children love it when you showcase their efforts, and with so many creative display options to choose from, there is something to suit every interior style.
Words by: Vanessa Nouwens. Photography by: Maree Homer, Dan Magree and James Henry/bauersyndication.com.au.