Rachel Reider: Kid-Friendly Designs

February 28, 2012

At Rachel Reider Interiors we have the pleasure of working with a lot of young families, and almost all our conversations start with the same statement: “I want a beautiful home, but since I have kids….†While many people feel like the two concepts are mutually exclusive, I’m happy to report that’s no longer the case. And I should know, since I fall into that young family category myself as a mom of a two-year-old. I’m amazed by the great advancements that have been made over the past few years in the durability of fabrics and availability of finishes, rendering moot the age-old debate of form versus function. Below are a few of my favorite tricks for achieving both a beautiful and highly durable home that will appeal to kids and adults alike.

Faux Leather
People cringe when I make this suggestion, but the look and feel of today’s faux leathers are nothing like the plastic-y versions of years past. We particularly love the aesthetic and texture of exotic collections like faux snakeskin and crocodile, running the gamut from soothing neutrals to bright and bold hues for adventurous types. Since they are both beautiful to look at and easy to wipe clean, we often use them for pieces that get a lot of wear and tear like coffee table ottomans and eating banquettes.

Faux leathers by Kravet

Durable Fabrics
While Scotchgarding fabrics is always an option post-installation to protect against stains, many fabric companies such as Kravet and Pollack will now pre-treat their fabrics during production for a small additional fee. Another great option is the Sunbrella line of fabrics, which comes in a large variety of textures, colors and patterns. These fabrics were created to stand up to extreme outdoor conditions so surely they can survive a few kids!

Smart Application of Fabrics
Just because you have young kids doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in luxurious fabrics; it’s all about how you use them. Drapes can be a great way to include a beautiful silk in a more formal room as they occupy a vertical surface that doesn’t see much everyday use.  Another favorite trick of mine is to cover a chair in two fabrics, using the more delicate of the two on the back and a more durable option on the inside where the majority of contact will occur. It not only looks great but will stand up to everyday use.

Designed by Lauren Leiss

Pillows are another ideal way to incorporate more delicate and luxurious fabrics into a space. These small accents make a huge difference in pulling a space together, and it’s a hundred times easier–and less expensive–to have a small pillow professionally cleaned or replaced than a large investment piece, like a sofa. In the image below, the sofa is upholstered in an Ultrasuede, which is very easy to clean and the pillows are made from more delicate silk and velvet prints.

Designed by Rachel Reider. Photo by Michael Partenio

Strategic Storage
Somehow, no matter how efficient your floor plan is or how many square feet you occupy, there’s just never enough storage. I learned shortly after we brought our daughter home that problem is only magnified with children. I’ve found the best way to peacefully co-exist with the inevitable clutter is to choose pieces with an adult aesthetic that discreetly double as child-friendly storage, such as ottomans with a hollow interior, large woven baskets and decorative drums with removable lids. By placing two of the ottomans pictured below side-by-side, you get a chic coffee table when the lids are closed and a convenient playing and eating surface when the tray sides are up, all while keeping toys or crafts tucked away. As an added bonus, they are easily moved out of the way to create additional play space.

Photo courtesy of Design Within Reach

While there are so many perceived limitations when it comes to decorating a home with children, the reality is that we’re all klutzes every once in a while. In my experience, I am just as likely to have a mishap with a glass of red wine as my daughter is with a broken red crayon!–Rachel Reider

Rachel is principal of Rachel Reider Interiors Inc., a full-service interior design firm recognized for its highly personalized approach to residential and commercial design and its expertise in mixing styles, colors and textures to create timeless interiors. Visit Rachel’s website to see more of her work.

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