Your home’s interior can be functional and family-friendly while expressing your unique design aesthetic. Family-friendly homes can embrace bold colors and intriguing textures that delight kids without alienating adults. From kid friendly living rooms and game rooms to accessible kitchens and outdoor spaces, there are so many ways to design a family-friendly home. Best of all, there’s no need to skimp on style when designing spaces that work equally well for kids and adults. In this post, we divulge all our secrets to kid friendly interior design that still looks beautiful. Whether you have toddlers or teenagers, our tips will help you create a space that suits your kids, their friends and your design style.
14 Secrets to Kid-Friendly Interior Design That Adults Will Love Too
Between distance learning and remote work, both children and adults are spending more time at home than most of us are used to. More U.S. households are becoming multigenerational too — an adjustment that has its own growing pains. Many families are still adjusting to this new normal — figuring out how to share public spaces while respecting private spaces.
Because every family is unique, each household approaches such transitions differently. Some families forgo the formal living room and dining room. Each room is accessible to all the family and nowhere is off-limits. Others lean into formal, adults-only spaces while adding playrooms for kids and outdoor living areas everyone can enjoy.
It might seem impossible to strike the right balance between adult and kid-friendly spaces. However, there are many ways to create a multigenerational living space that honors everyone’s wants and needs. At Laura U Design Collective, we take a wholistic approach to designing family-friendly homes. In doing so, we ensure each and every family member feels at home.
Read on for all our kid friendly interior design advice.
Add a Work Table or Second Island to the Kitchen
One of the easiest ways to encourage kids to spend time in a family environment is by making the kitchen more accessible. As we note in a recent post, the kitchen is the heart of the home for many families. Everyone should be able to enjoy it, and kids naturally gravitate towards an accessible kitchen. That’s where the snacks are, after all.
In our Colonial Drive project, we opted for a dining table with six comfortable yet elegant chairs. This makes the space more multifunctional, which is ideal for families with kids. Adding a work table or second island encourages kids to do homework, hang out with friends or simply sit and chat while parents cook.
For our Viscaino project in Pebble Beach, we chose to install a second kitchen island. There is now more than enough seating for the whole family to spend time together. The island just opposite functions as a casual dining table, crafting area or whatever our clients might need from one day to the next.
A second kitchen island — just opposite the range — doubles as a prep station. Complete with a sink, this island allows kids to participate in prepping meals without nearing hot stoves or knife blocks. With a wine fridge set into one side, the second island encourages guests to entertain the chef while he or she cooks too.
Opt for Lots of Seating or Modular Furniture in Kid Friendly Living Rooms
Kid friendly living rooms feature lots of seating and/or modular furniture that can be easily rearranged to accommodate guests. Whether hosting game nights or gathering as a family, furniture you can group or push away works well in every family friendly living room.
In the interior above on the left, a series of club chairs and small sofas allow for a number of different arrangements. This renovated hunting lodge at Hedwig Village acts as the perfect retreat for teens and adult guests. A century-old home in Houston, Hedwig Village is yet another of the many family-friendly homes LUDC has renovated over the last fifteen years.
For the seating program of the Braeswood Place family room, we chose two Envision Series sectionals from Vanguard Furniture. The ottomans are custom-designed pieces from House + Town. Fabric used to upholster the sectionals is Revolution Performance Fabric. Stain-resistant and easily cleaned, this fabric is ideal for a space that will likely see a lot of use from family and friends.
Work with an Interior Designer or Remodeling Firm to Optimize Indoor-Outdoor Flow
Another key to interior design for families is improving indoor-outdoor flow. When the interior and exterior are integrated, a home becomes far more versatile.
Of course, not all outdoor spaces are functional during winter and fall. Thankfully, there are easy ways to make your outdoor space feel more like an outdoor living room you can use all year round. Consider adding a loggia or covered patio — complete with cozy furniture and an outdoor fireplace — as we did at Hedwig Village. The loggia is the perfect place for the parents to sit and relax and watch the kiddos in the pool.
With these transitional spaces, usable square footage is added, entertaining is easier and families are less likely to step on each other’s toes. Plus, kids are encouraged to spend more time outdoors.
Build an Addition to Accommodate a Growing Family
If your home is no longer large enough to accommodate a growing family, consider working with a design team to build additions. At Hedwig Village, our team worked alongside builder Cupic Custom Homes to create a brand-new mudroom and second-floor addition. The mudroom in question is pictured below in the center.
Add a Mudroom Where Messiness is Expected and Embraced
As noted above, families can work with a remodeling firm to add a mudroom if their home currently lacks space. An investment in a clean and clutter-free home, our team absolutely loves mudrooms — and many of our clients do too. Located just off the kitchen, everyone passes through the Hedwig Village mudroom daily. With lockers and a desk for the homeowners, it has become a hub of this home.
Add a mudroom where you expect and embrace messiness! If your family includes kids — or pets — you cannot go wrong with a mudroom off the kitchen, garage or entryway. As California designer Nicole Salceda notes in an interview with Sunset, “a large mudroom…[helps keep families] organized and works to maintain a calm environment.”
And Create a Space to Clean Up Outside During Summer Months
Whether your property includes a pool, a wooded spot or a sandy sports court, create a space to clean up outside during summer months. At Hedwig Village, we added two convenient clean-up spots: a pool washroom and an outdoor shower connected to the loggia.
Both are indispensable when kids bring friends over to play outside. Neither your family room, kitchen nor living room will be covered in muddy footprints! A kid friendly home need not be a dirty home.
Use Architectural Features to Your Advantage
Hidden storage is the hallmark of a well-designed kid-friendly home, but there are ways to display artwork and collectibles too. We recommend working with a designer to use architectural features to your advantage.
Add a niche where your art collection, found objects or family photos can shine without falling to the floor. The goal is for the outer edge of built-in shelving to fall flush with the surrounding wall. In doing so, light fixtures, sculptures and other pieces are less likely to sustain damage from kids running past.
Zone Kid Friendly Living Rooms for Multiple Activities
One clear benefit of open-concept living spaces is the ability to create distinct zones within one room. Zone living spaces, so family members can do different activities simultaneously. At Rice Residence, our team separated the family room into three zones: a lounge area, a music area and a game table with seating.
Another option is to bifurcate larger spaces in creative ways. Semi-transparent dividers — like the aquarium at Braeswood Place — allow for privacy without isolation. You can enjoy the presence of other family members without interrupting their time alone.
Design Playrooms and Study Spaces that Can Easily Age Up
Parents often worry that their children will outgrow themed kids rooms within a few years — or even months. Designing playrooms and study spaces that can easily age up is key.
Opt for clean lines, classic silhouettes and fun but versatile fabrics. Incorporate patterns and bold colors that your children love, but which feel a bit more timeless than those typically geared towards kids.
Choose Furniture with Soft Edges and Low Profiles for Family-Friendly Homes
If you have small children, choose furniture with soft edges and low profiles. Sofas, sectionals, club chairs and ottomans without legs or with very short feet are perfect for family friendly living room furniture.
Kids can hop on and off, but toys will not get trapped under the sofa. Banquettes are another great option. They work especially well in breakfast nooks, kitchens and dining rooms.
Hang Patterned, Washable Wallpaper in Shared Spaces
Next, pick a patterned wallpaper for playrooms, bathrooms or shared spaces in family-friendly homes. Patterned wallpapers easily hide small scuffs, tears — and even kids drawings. Plus, many are washable. In addition, laying tile on the wall space surrounding your vanity, toilet or bathtub can help ensure bathrooms are easy to clean.
All of the stunning wallpapers pictured above are washable. Find them here at Perigold.
Lay a Stair Runner for Safety and Sound Absorption
Stair runners are an essential element of kid friendly interior design. They not only look incredibly stylish in family-friendly homes. Runners also dampen sound and protect kids from slipping on bare steps. Pictured above are stair runners from Colonial Drive, Viscaino and Rice Residence. Check out a few other favorites here.
For our Colonial Drive project — pictured above on the left — we also added hidden storage under the staircase. With such seamless millwork, you would never know that an expansive storage space exists in this entryway. Watch LUDC COO Melissa Grove reveal Colonial Drive’s walk-in storage space on Instagram.
Pick Performance Fabrics or Consider Slipcovers for a Kid Friendly Interior Design
No kid friendly interior design is complete without performance fabrics that can resist spills, scuffs and stains. In our Braeswood Place pool house, we chose similar fabrics, textures, and colors to those in the main house. Since this space was designed for kids and guests enjoying the pool, we picked performance fabrics that would stand up to heavy use.
Consider the durability of your furniture’s design too. If prepared to splurge on your family-friendly home, spend a little extra on exceptionally crafted, custom-designed furniture.
As Kari Costas writes in an article for Elle Decor, quality furniture is well worth the investment. Costas notes that “chairs and sofas get used [daily, but] if the style and construction is good, they’ll last for years.” Whether fit for two or ten, a custom sectional or sofa will suit your unique family perfectly.
Enclose Fireplaces for a Safe and Sleek Aesthetic
Lastly, enclose fireplaces in shared spaces like your living room, family room or den. Not only are they sleek and modern — like the fireplace at Mountain Lane. An enclosed electric or gas fireplace is typically safer than a wood-burning fireplace too.
According to this AAA resource, the “glass front [of an electric fireplace] doesn’t get [as] hot to the touch.” Plus, electric and gas fireplaces often release fewer VOCs and particulate matter into the air — creating a healthier indoor environment.
Ready for Your Own Family-Friendly Home?
Kid friendly interior design looks different for every family. From shared passions to individual pastimes, no two families are alike. When designing family-friendly homes, we take each person’s wants, needs and lifestyles into consideration.
Is creating a space you and your kids will enjoy sharing part of your plan for the new year? Reach out to our Aspen and Houston-based teams here.