In the last instalment in our series of guest posts on home decor, we welcome Fionnuala Zinnecker, an Irish working mum of three now residing in Germany. Here are her top tips on decorating a family
home, as seen on her award-winning blog, using items from our store.
Points of view on home decor when you have a young family differ greatly. There's the "Why bother?" camp, firmly rooted in reality, assuming that vases will get smashed, sofas soiled and walls vandalised by the little ones. Thus, the notorious: "This is why we can't have nice things!". And there are the parents who lay down rules, are strict about shoes in the house and spend a lot of time cleaning and tidying to keep their home looking as perfect as if it was in the pages of a magazine; for a while anyway.
But what if you fall somewhere in the middle ground, longing for a comfortable, stylish home but lacking the determination (and time!) to spend your days cleaning, polishing and enforcing rules? With these five simple tips you can create a stylish, family-friendly look without any sacrifice.
Wipe-clean, stain-resistant, washable, etc. – these phrases often conjure up visions of ugly oilcloths and plastic-looking veneers. Easy-to-clean doesn't need to be that anymore. From soft furnishings to wall coverings and even larger items of furniture, there is a massive market for easy-to-use, easy-to-clean homewares.
Think scrubbable paint for walls. Yes, the children might attack it with crayons, but it can be wiped off. Alternating rugs and throws is a must in a family home; in order to make your life easier, have two of everything, and go for machine-washable only items, in colourful patterns that might hide permanent marks.
Think Hard to Break
Furniture and homewares which are sturdy and able to take a beating – because they will – are a great solution when you have a house full of children and pets. Sturdy materials and easy-maintenance, non-absorbant surfaces such as oiled or painted solid wood, plexiglass, concrete or marble are becoming parents' favourites; and they also happen to be right on trend.
The ugly word in parenting vocab is a life-saving word in home decor for families. Whether you are thinking coat hooks, shoe racks, bookshelves or any other kind of storage, remember that children's eyes and hands are a lot lower down than ours are. Hanging coat hooks in the hall at the level children can reach encourages them to hang up their own clothes. The same goes for shoes in shoe racks or books and toys on shelves. Think high up for us, low down for them and you're on to a winner. The children can access their own gear without getting anywhere near the items you'd prefer they didn't touch.
Think Timeless & Gender-Neutral
Forget cartoon character decor; passing fads and age-related favourites might leave you out of pocket when children get tired of one character or another. Maps, alphabet charts, wildlife posters and clocks are all highly educational, plus they make great wall art for playrooms and bedrooms. Child-appropriate art prints in bold, interesting colours might open their appetite to create art, too. A great weekend project is to create a wall gallery out of family photos. These are just a few brilliant ways to encourage your child's natural curiousity and preserve precious memories, while providing a stylish, timeless backdrop to a room.
Think Flexible Seating
When you live with children, you always need tons of places to sit. Whether it is for them to sit while putting on shoes to leave the house or whether you need another seat at the table when their friends come round, you can never have enough seating. This is where benches and fold-up chairs become your best friends. You can always squeeze another child in around the table when you've a sleek bench in the kitchen. Benches with arm rests are idea for the hall or porch as a place to drop bags and coats, or even as a temporary resting place for gear you need to take with you when leaving the house. Folding chairs take up very little room and can be stored in the smallest of places. Indoor-outdoor, wooden or metal folding seats can double up as outdoor seating in summer too; the more durable and versatile the better.
For more inspiring kids' rooms and delectable decor for your new nursery, have a look at our dedicated Pinterest board here: