If your living room is your baby – be it modern and minimal, cool and contemporary or cosy and comfortable – you’ll know that there can often be a price to pay when real babies come along. Suddenly the sharp corners of that Scandinavian coffee table become potential weapons, mohair throws seem set to suffocate and eclectic knick-knacks a soon-to-be-splintered nightmare. Look after little ones while maintaining interior elegance with these must-read design tips.
Choose wipe-clean fabrics
A leather sofa is not only effortlessly luxurious, but can be easily wiped clean of spills and stains. Button-backed beauty Darcy is made the old-fashioned way and features a strong wooden frame and hand-coiled springs – perfect for fighting back at whatever life (and kids, dogs and dinner parties) throws at it. For an extra guard against nasty marks, invest in this Staingard system, which promises to repair accidental damage and staining for 5 years.
Be daring with a dark colour palette
It might go against the interior-design mentality ingrained into your conscience (light colours = more space, dark colours = less space), but choosing darker, deeper fabrics with which to upholster your sofas and armchairs will prove a savvy investment. Fabrics like our Classic Cotton Linen Mix in rich Cocoa not only disguise staines and age better, but are soft to the touch – an endlessly attractive option for grown ups and little ones alike.
Soften sharp corners
Another must-know tip for childproofing your space? Replace a sharp-edged coffee table for a cluster of pouffes or ottomans. Not only will this prevent jagged corners from posing a threat, but will bring a cosy, bohemian feel to your living space. Choose a soft, velvet-topped footstool that comes padded for extra comfort, or create a makeshift coffee table with one or more colourful pouffes.
Add warmth underfoot
Wooden floors are ideal for adding an element of grandeur, and can be easily mopped and polished – ideal when you’ve got sticky fingers to contend with. But if the overall effect is too cold and clinical for you, invest in some layered up rugs like these from French Connection to add warmth and texture. They can simply be machine-washed or dry cleaned should disaster strike.
Divide your room into a dual living space
Consider splitting the room into two halves if you have the space – one for playtime and adventure (typically on the carpet, comprising piles of cushions, beanbags and toys) and a separate, more sophisticated area ideal for afternoon naps or story time. A corner sofa is a good way to achieve this. Be it L-shaped or small-backed and compact, it will slot into the edge of your room neatly and provide a place of respite when you (or they) need five minutes in the land of nod.
Invest in texture
Nothing says cosy like some perfectly placed scatter cushions. Not only will piles of soft, down-filled cushions break any would-be falls, they also offer a stylish sanctuary for sleepy heads come naptime. Add texture and pattern to your space with a mismatched collection that doubles up as a fun fortress. We find that the spirited patterns of the circus are particularly appealing to pint-sized poppets.
Add some colour
Make like designer Stacey Corrin and appeal to little ones’ love of colour by introducing pattern and print into your living room. Whether it’s a fun rug zigzagged with chevrons, a cushion blooming with pretty petals or a feature wall popping with print, a burst of colour is a great way to compromise.
Make a stylish compromise
Framed posters add an eclectic element, while colourful ceramics such as vases and candle stands (placed out of reach from prying hands, of course) add a playful rainbow-hued joyfulness to your living space. There’s no need to settle for a completely childlike palette of primary colours to appease little people, but a splash of vivid magenta or smattering of scarlet here and there makes a lovely-to-look-at compromise.