HOW TO
Open concept home design by Karin Bennett Designs

Design A Stylish Home, Even With Kids In Tow

Don’t sacrifice great design because you fear fingerprints and sneaker tracks. Karin Bennett gives us her top tips for designing your home with kiddos in mind.

Karin Says…

People often ask us if they should wait to hire our firm before investing in their home decor when they have young children at home. My answer is always no. It is easy to combine stylish and practical elements to any home when designing for a family, and I should know as I have three teenagers!

Believe me, I have never let good design get in the way of what I wanted my home to look like. For example, I have had my walls painted white for over a decade. Yes, I’ve had the high traffic areas repainted twice now but I believe any home with young children will need paint touch ups from time to time. Instead of avoiding light colours in your home, I suggest investing in good quality paint that you can wipe down every week. I love a matte finish on the walls but eggshell tends to perform a bit better so for clients that are concerned with little fingerprints I advise to invest in the best quality paint in an eggshell finish.

Dining room Design by Karin Bennett Designs
Design by Karin Bennett Designs

Easy areas for high style

It might sound cliche but good lighting is crucial in the design of any home. I often find homes lack adequate lighting in their homes but when the lighting is right the results are incredible. A properly placed chandelier is an easy way to pack a stylish punch with little ones running around. Because lighting is hung beyond the reach of children, this is an easy place to add impact. I also love incorporating real greenery in the spaces we design. I encourage children to get involved in taking care of these plants giving them a sense of responsibility and ownership.

Incorporate storage for toys into design

When you have kids there are a lot of extra items around, especially all those dreaded teeny tiny toys. When we design a space for a young family we always give them lots of storage. We add custom millwork with closed storage and add sturdy baskets and bins so there is a place for everything at the end of the day. Kids will learn to tidy up after themselves if they know where everything goes. Remember to always bolt any furniture unit to the wall. This is a very important aspect to embrace. Kids tend to climb on things so securing any furniture is key.

Fabrics/materials to lean into

Home is where people are most comfortable. We want our clients to pick up their feet and lives without limits. Performance fabrics give us the freedom to design a space that our clients can live in without fear. Fabric technology has come a long way over the years. Previously we would use outdoor fabrics inside if clients wanted good stain resistance for their upholstery. Unfortunately, these fabrics were stiff to the touch and not very comfortable.

Living room Design by Karin Bennett Designs
Design by Karin Bennett Designs

Over the years, technology has improved significantly so often you don’t even know which fabrics were designed for indoor or outdoor. We can also treat almost any indoor fabric with Crypton or Alta, which will repel stains and dirt upon contact. Believe it or not we can now offer young families with kids a gorgeous white sofa in their great room!

If you want a gorgeous rug but are scared if this is wise with young kids I suggest one of two things: either investing in a good quality wool rug which is very durable is naturally stain resistant, or purchase a rug that is cheap and cheerful knowing it will only last a few years and you won’t be heartbroken to replace it down the road.

Colour pallets to embrace and avoid

I don’t subscribe to the rule that you cannot use white when designing a room for kids. I love a white wall and more often then not paint a whole house white no matter the age of the children in the home. I think a bright and light pallet, especially in our Canadian winters makes us feel a little bit more alive.

Living room Design by Karin Bennett Designs
Design by Karin Bennett Designs

Giving children a say

Here at Karin Bennett Designs, we always like to give a child a few options that were predetermined by our team and the parents when decorating their room. This will give the child a sense of ownership and involvement in the design of their space. Our goal is to give a child a room that reflects their style and individual interests.

Designing to balance tech and creativity

Your family home can be a prime source for creativity, so I always suggest designing spaces that stimulate your child’s artistic side. For young children, I love a chalkboard wall, or whiteboard where a child has a blank canvas to let their imagination run wild. I also love incorporating music into a child’s space. Whether it is with instruments or music streaming devices, having music in your home will help stimulate creativity.

A designated space for a child to create is important. When designing a room we consult the needs for the current tech and the potential future technology for each child and give the proper working solutions in the space.

Children grow up fast and their needs change with every passing year, so design a home that will grow with the family.

Living room Design by Karin Bennett Designs
Design by Karin Bennett Designs