Creating a Child-Friendly Living Room
Living rooms are, as the name suggests, places for living in. Yet when there are children in the family, a living room can quickly resemble a playroom, somewhere that is not fit to be seen by visitors. The key is to make the living room child-friendly, whilst remaining a decidedly adult space.
Getting the basics right
Families need somewhere to sit and converse in, so it is essential to ensure the living room has plenty of seating. L-shaped sofas are perfect, because they make the best use of the available space and can be placed against walls or put in the middle of the room to create a semi-enclosed focal area. Next, move on to solid, sturdily constructed chairs and tables; they will be able to stand up to the worst any child can throw at them. It might also be an idea to provide some bean bags specifically for the kids.
Children mean toys and games and rather than have them littering the floor, presenting safety hazards and just begging to be broken, be sure to provide the living room with plenty of storage areas. This could be in the form of bookcases, which obviously not only take books, but can be home to several sizes of storage boxes for smaller items. A large footstool with storage doubles as somewhere to put the feet up, whilst also holding a multitude of bits and pieces. Some sofas from here even come with inbuilt storage.
No living room is complete without its media centre, but straggly cables can endanger children and adults too. Tidy cables away by housing the television, satellite box, DVD player, et al, in a unit designed for them. An enclosed TV unit not only improves the look of all that technology, it also provides extra surfaces for family photos. Put all ornaments and accessories up high, out of the children’s reach.
In regards to furniture in general, choose items that have rounded, rather than sharp edges, so that if children do fall against them or knock their heads, the blow will be blunted.
Textures and textiles
Children often have sticky and dirty fingers, so a sofa that can be wiped clean is the best choice for a family living room. Leather is ideal; not only does it look good, it ages better than fabric. The same goes for curtains; long curtains that trail on the floor can be a hazard when children are around, but also become stained and dirtied from their activities. Blinds or shutters are a far better choice.
Carpet, whilst feeling good under the feet, is prone to stains and dirt, so ditch it for laminate or solid wooden flooring. This is much easier to keep clean, as spills are easily wiped up, can withstand heavy use and can even look more sophisticated than carpet.
Walls can be tricky; to kids they look like one big drawing board, which is precisely why it is a good idea to use wipeable paint on them. Eggshell, satin or gloss paint can all be cleaned with a damp sponge, but can look a little institutional. Fortunately, newer matte paints have become available that have an easy to wipe surface.