Whether someone's a first-time homebuyer or a real estate veteran, there's always something new to discover in home decor and interior design. There's an on-going joke out there that a trip to IKEA can make or break a couple. It can either bring two people together, as they picture their dream home.... or, it can start an argument in the middle of the cafeteria over a plate of Swedish meatballs.
Needless to say, people can be extremely passionate about what goes inside their home, especially with kids in the picture. Young children often change the landscape of a home. It often starts with baby-proofing, followed by the sharing of bunk beds, followed by craving independence and their own room... But get this: decorating a home for children doesn't necessarily have to be childish. Parents can still have grown-up elements like pricey art, flat screen TVs, and fancy china scattered around. The trick is providing enough entertainment and kid-friendly distractions elsewhere that your children don't find themselves bumping into those expensive items while playing tag around the circular kitchen dining table.
So, where does a parent start? Before heading to IKEA, Pottery Barn, or Crate & Barrel, here are 20 kid-friendly home decor ideas to spark that imagination.
20 Rock Climbing Wall
According to interior designer Cynthia Rowley, in-house distractions are the perfect thing to take a child's hand off expensive items (like classic paintings and glass sculptures) and onto a less-precious rock climbing wall. It doesn't need to be high, in fact, it shouldn't be for safety reasons, but it should offer the child a chance to let out their energy in a safe environment. With a rock climbing wall, your kid will have its own designated play area separate from fragile objects around the house. All you need is an empty wall, some screws and nails, and fake rocks. So if anyone has a bland basement — this rock wall could change things.
19 Circular Living Room Ottoman
A circular ottoman is both stylish and safe for young children to run around. Heck, even as adults we stub our toes and elbows on sharp corners all the time. A circular ottoman means less bruising due to its edge-less shape, and it's also something harmless for kids to run in circles around. We all know that kids love playing tag or chasing each other around the house, so why not give them something safe? You won't even notice that this living room centerpiece was something picked out with children in mind.
18 Antique Seating And Fabrics
Don't worry, antique collectors, you can still express your creativity with young children in the house. Kids can be notorious spillers, which won't seem like such a big deal with antique fabrics on couches, chairs, and rugs. It's very possible to purchase wallet-friendly patterns that still look chic and elegant.
Interior designer Anne Hepfer suggests Ultrasuede because it's "easy to wipe with a sponge and comes in any color of the rainbow." For that extra pop, try adding "baseball stitching or pipe the seams in a contrasting color.”
17 Shatter-Free Glass And Ceramics
Clear museum gel is about to become your new best friend! Plastic may be the most functional way to go, but let's face it, glass looks so much prettier. Avoid a shattering disaster by gluing ceramics to a shelf using clear museum gel. That way, if your child accidentally bumps into a wall or centerpiece, it won't fall and break into a million pieces. And because it's clear, you won't even know it's there. Designers all over the world call this gel the "ultimate kid-proof and invisible bond.”
16 Star Constellation Ceiling
When in doubt, ask a Kardashian — at least when it comes to home decor. Mother-of-three Kourtney made it on the cover of Architectural Digest for designing the ultimate kid-friendly mansion for Mason, Penelope, and Reign. She turned son Mason's room into a sparkling space galaxy using star projection lights. A more budget-friendly option is to buy glow in the dark stars and stick them to the wall (hey, another use for clear museum gel!) Or, you can even use solar system stickers.
15 Faux Sheepskin Accents
I know what you're thinking, "WHITE?!" Although it seems to be the riskiest color around toddlers, Kourtney decked out daughter Penelope's room with sheepskin because she loves the soft texture. It's like being wrapped in a blanket. And get this, you can purchase faux sheepskin accents on Amazon for less than 20 bucks! White is also a great color because it goes with everything, and as your child's personality develops, you can easily add and take away from a white room. It's a fresh, blank canvas.
14 Disney-Inspired Art
Just because it's Disney, doesn't mean it has to be childish. As this picture above suggests, there are very modern ways to make Mickey Mouse suitable for adults. Toddlers are naturally drawn to bold color, like yellow and red (Walt Disney clearly knew what he was going), but you can tone it down slightly or add a contemporary touch by framing Mickey in a thick black frame. If you're a fan of pop art and Andy Warhol-esque pieces, this style should fit right into your home.
13 Bulletin Board Wall
It seems like an outdated practice to print out photographs, considering most of us are all about the 'Gram these days, but a bulletin point is a perfect place to store memories without making a mess. "We put up pictures, notes, mementos from trips—it’s great to have one place to put it all so it doesn’t junk up the room," said Kourtney to Architectural Digest. A bulletin board also saves you the headache of repainting walls if you ever decide to take certain photos down or move them. And besides, who doesn't love reading an inspirational quote on a bulletin board?
12 Glow In The Dark Paint
When it comes to designing a kid-friendly home, it's always a good idea to consult the clientele. Yes, I mean your kids! Ask for their opinions, what kind of theme they like, what colors, etc. Glow in the dark paint is a very popular choice. It screams business during the day, party time at night. Glow in the dark paint is the perfect substitute for a night light, as well. Why have one bulb when you can have an entire wall of subtle light? Try shades of blue and purple in the bedroom for a relaxed and peaceful vibe.
11 Christmas Lights And String
Who doesn't love Christmas lights? Seriously, call them fairy lights, call them patio lights, whatever you want — just add them to your kid's room. These lights give off an ethereal glow and create a sense of nostalgia. They look especially great in homes that have an emphasis on minimalism with monochrome colors. String lights can be used as a hanger for Polaroid pictures, postcards, handwritten letters, anything you want hanging on the walls. It won't damage the paint and it's easily customizable. Christmas lights come in many shapes, colors, and sizes, too.
10 Handprint Designs And Patterns
Instead of spending hours laying down newspaper and meticulously painting a wall, why not have your kids help out? Paint doesn't always have to be neat and precise. Plus, your kids will have a blast coating their hands in paint and pressing them onto walls. This is likely the only time it's okay for your children to do this without getting in trouble haha. Handprints are also a great way to watch your children grow. You can put dates next to their prints as they get bigger and bigger.
9 Bean Bag Chairs
If your kids have trouble sitting still, try getting them bean bag chair. I can almost guarantee that they won't want to leave or get up ever again. Like the circular ottoman, bean bag chairs are edge-free and basically shapeless, which means you can mold them to fit in tight spaces and corners. They're safe to jump on, carry around the house from room to room, and comfy for adults as well. Okay, are you ready for the best part? You can unzip the chair and wash the fabric if something gets spilled.
8 Toy Train Coffee Table
Talk about ingenuity! Who knew you could design a table for both kids and adults to enjoy at the very same time? It may take a bit of research, and it might not be the cheapest option, but it's possible to find a coffee table with an incorporated train track built into the design. Now, you'll have more time to spend reading the morning newspaper (or scrolling through social media) and sipping coffee instead of picking up all your kid's toys. (Why do they always come with one hundred different parts?)
7 Corner Teepee
Think of a teepee as an elevated tent. It's fun to sleep in, but the fabrics are of nicer quality and you can customize them to fit the mood of any room. Sometimes it's a challenge to fill the empty corners with something more captivating than a plant. Well, the shape of a teepee will fill that space perfectly and provide a unique alternative to sleeping in the bed every night. Decorate your kid's teepee with soft pillows and blankets to give it that fort feeling. It's a great space to read bedtime stories in and talk about your day.
6 Indoor Swing
We have two options, here. You can either purchase an unconventional swing like the one above, which is actually more of a hanging chair — or, you can go the classic route. The key to a classic rope swing is to make sure there's enough room to, you know, swing and have fun. Just tie a thick rope to the ceiling using a hook and make a big knot on the end so your kids have something to put their feet on. It's so simple! A rope swing may not match the interior of every room, but that's why you've got option one.
5 Mosaic Flooring
Cleaning up the house has never been easier (or as aesthetically pleasing) with mosaic flooring. With pets or young children at home, carpet can become a danger zone for spills and stains. Mosaic tiling is not only pretty — it can turn any home into a Spanish-influence haven. It's also functional to have in the kitchen, bathroom, walk-in closet, or any room for that matter. Research suggests kids respond well to bring colors and patterns, so this floor is equally for their entertainment as it is for your swift and seamless clean-up at the end of a long day.
4 Farmhouse Sink
Have you ever seen the TV show, Fixer Upper? Chip and Joanna Gaines have totally sold us on shiplap and farmhouse sinks for the rest of our lives. Now, it seems every home without one is incomplete... and we're not just talking about the Waco, Texas marketplace. Farmhouse sinks put a modern spin on any kitchen. Not only that, but they're a great place to wash up before dinner. Because of their large size and open frame, you can actually place your baby inside the sink and clean up their hands and feet. The same goes for pets (unless you have a giant Rottweiler, of course).
3 Lettered Hangers
With our jam-packed schedules these days, who has time to pick up after themselves? Who has time to hang/wash/fold/dry clothes? That's where lettered hangers come in. As most kids have a habit of leaving everything on the floor, lettered or animal-head hangers might make them more inclined to be organized. It can be helpful for toddlers to understand that they each have their own space and "property." For example, if your child's name begins with an A, consider buying them a hanger with an antelope head. Or an apple. Or even just the letter A to give them a sense of ownership around the house.
2 Bunk beds
Step Brothers starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly... need we say more? Bunk beds can be a blast for young children, climbing up ladders to the top and popping their head upside down for some late-night conversation. It can be challenging to fit two twin-sized beds in one room, and most of the time, children do not enjoy sleeping alone for the first few years. (You know, before they want some privacy and their own door.) Bunk beds are a great way to declutter a bedroom and open up more space for playful activities. Plus, when they get a little older, you can still modernize a bed with bunk beds, like the room above.
Bit of advice: bunk beds are not a good DIY project. Hammer and nails won't do the trick.
1 Chalkboard Wall
Whoever said drawing on the walls was a bad thing clearly never had a chalkboard. It can be a parent's worst fear to walk into a room and see scribbles on a freshly painted white wall. And let's be honest, kids aren't always the best drawers, so most of the time it looks like a flat-out mess. If your child seems like the creative or Picasso type, a chalkboard wall could be a great addition to their room. Wouldn't you rather have your child drawing all day than staring into a screen? Technology seems to be targeting younger and younger demographics by the year. Let's kick it old school with some chalk instead!
References: rockclimberstrainingmanual.com, vogue.com, unsplash.com, pexels.com, gaenice.com, architectualdigest.com, utrailsoxford.com, pixabay.com, thebump.com, kcshomedecor.com, pinterest.com