We get lots of requests from young families seeking design forward spaces that little humans can't easily destroy. With tiny wildlings running around hell-bent on breaking stuff, it can be a challenging time to keep thoughtfully planned rooms organized and textiles mint. Luckily, there are actually plenty of appealing solutions at various a price points to help ease the transition from high style coupledom to parenthood (which is likely feeling smaller by the week as pint-sized things accumulate). Our mission is to provide solutions that prioritize form and function while ensuring crazy-curious kiddos stay safe. Check out some of our tried and true tips below:
One of my favourite textiles to suggest for a kid-friendly living room is performance velvet. Performance velvet is a specifier that indicates this material is both water-and stain-repellant, and with an abrasion rate that can handle even the most well-loved and well–used rooms (note: not all velvet is performance!). And it's soft to boot, making it the perfect backdrop for snuggle fests and sticky fingers. Available in a variety of punchy, vibrant hues, a performance velvet sofa is a fantastic way to enhance a living space for the whole family. The Andes sofa from West Elm starts at a great price point and is available in a sectional as well. With modern lines and sleek metal legs, I find this silhouette is suitable for both transitional and modern homes.
Another material I love working with is solution dyed acrylic. The woven fibre itself can be almost indistinguishable from a chunky linen cross weave. But because the pigment is added when the base material is in its liquid form (before being pulled into a cotton candy like tuft and then woven as a traditional textile), you can actually clean the fabric with diluted bleach and not loose any colour whatsover. We are talking 100% stain resistance, which is ideal for messy toddlers who eat Spaghettio's with their toes, and those guests who would slosh Malbec all over your new club chair. You will find solution dyed acrylics in outdoor cushions all the time... which brings me to my next tip! Drumroll...
OUTDOOR THROW PILLOW COVERS
Outdoor pillow covers have come a LONG way. Some of my favourite fabric purveyors like Schumacher and Lee Joffa have reproduced their signature patterns in durable materials slated for patios and pools. While outdoor toss cushions may arrive standard with airplane pillow fillers inside, a simple swap for down inserts will have your living room looking swank and stain free in no time. And of course, the busier the pattern, the less maintenance required, and they're all that much more fun!
COFFEE TABLE OTTOMANS + POUFS
As your minis learn to pull-up on surfaces and hobble about like cute baby fawns (baby fawns that just polished off a flask of bourbon, maybe), you are going to want to avoid furniture with sharp corners. Or really corners at all. In this scenario, our go to table stand-in would be a cushy, coffee table ottoman. Easily styled with a tray so that you can rest a cup of coffee or stack of books as needed, coffee table ottomans are ideal for propping feet up for Daniel Tiger marathons, set a strong foundation for building blanket forts, and can be safely climbed upon.
Rugs deserve a whole post on their own, but the synopsis is that this is an area worth investing, even if you think spending money on a rug is the last thing you should be doing in a home that has recently been hijacked by miniature menaces. Inexpensive rugs are usually not built to last. Their fibres watermark and stain easily, falling apart fast. Viscose and silk are the worst offenders, so I always encourage rugs with at least 80% wool content which (depending on pattern) are significantly stronger and easier to spot clean.
Polypropylene is another synthetic contender that can yield a fantastic rug, and usually less expensive than wool. But ultimately, I recommend choosing a rug you love the same way you would select a valuable piece of art. Not only will the right rug anchor the entire space and elevate the other furnishings, but the cost of replacing rugs every 2-5 years will add up overtime, when the cost of a high quality rug amortized over 10-15 years is worth ever penny.