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High design with kids in mind

Today, new materials and technologies make it easy to create a beautiful, well-designed home that meets the needs of adults and children alike.
BY ARA CONTENT Modified: September 29, 2012 at 7:28 pm •  Published: October 1, 2012
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For many years, creating family-friendly spaces meant sacrificing your design aesthetic. Thankfully, gone are the days when having children meant succumbing to a house full of bright-yellow bins and sofas wrapped in plastic. Today, new materials and technologies make it easy to create a beautiful, well-designed home that meets the needs of adults and children alike. The following tips may help you design a living space that satisfies your design goals and meets the demands of your youngest family members.

Invest in good furniture.

It may seem counterintuitive, but Erica Islas, interior designer and founder of EMI Interior Design, encourages clients with young children to buy high-quality furniture.

“Some people are afraid to invest in living rooms and family rooms because they think kids will ruin everything,” Islas says. “But the truth is that you have to get things that will hold up to children.”

Look for pieces that are built to withstand years of abuse and can be reupholstered or refinished once your children have grown. Furthermore, many furniture manufacturers and stores offer warranties. Consider those carefully and decide if the extra protection would be of value to your family.

Accessorize out of children's reach. Creating a kid-friendly space does not mean glass and art should go into storage. Instead, teach your family to appreciate beautiful objects by living among them and elevate the more fragile accessories so they are out of reach. Shadow boxes and enclosed shelves make stunning display cases for your most delicate decorative pieces.

Make surfaces easier to clean. When selecting paint for high traffic areas, consider semi-gloss and high-gloss finishes, which are easy to clean. A damp sponge is all you need to clean fingerprints and smudges from your walls. Behr Premium Plus Ultra Semi-Gloss Enamel paint, for example, forms a protective shell to protect walls against scuffs and marks.