Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Style with Kids Part 3: Hard Surfaces

So the last part of my style with kids series will be hard surfaces.  We know storage is essential to keeping your decor and not your kids toys the focus.  And we know that durable, wipeable and/or washable fabrics will help keep your soft surfaces looking great.  So the last piece of the puzle is all the hard surfaces.  This includes things like coffee and side tables, dining tables, chairs, shelving, floors and walls.

When you have kids, and I speak from experience, all that glossy dark wood vaneer fairly quickly starts looking not so hot.  Every smudge shows against that shine. Every speck of dust you don't have time to get to anymore stands out against the dark wood, and every dropped cup or toy takes a gouge out of that vaneer leaving a glaring light coloured scratch.  Don't get me wrong, I still love some of my pieces, but it definitely developes a "patina" haha.  So if you can't handle that look you may want to look at some other options.

Source: artrss.net via Kirsten on Pinterest

Wood is still an absolutely perfect choice.  It's durable and beautiful!  If you don't want to notice the scratches and smudges as much, go for something in a mid tone.  I also recommend when investing in a piece you love and want to keep for years, if possible to get solid wood.  Vaneered surfaces get scratched (or even chunks taken out) and you can't really repair it in most cases.  With solid wood you have the option of sanding it down and restaining it when the children have grown up a bit.

I love some of the rustic wood furniture that's available now.  It looks amazing but the best part is, all the dings your kids put in it just adds to the rustic look!  How great is that,  furniture that looks better the more you wreck it!

I've developed a soft spot for these log side tables that are everywhere.  I may try to DIY one!

What could be better than plastic for kids?   These are just a few of the many, many plastic chairs avialable these days.  You can get them in so many shapes and colors.  They would be a great splash of color in a breakfast nook!  Just wipe 'em down!  Awesome!  You can also get dining tables, coffee tables and side tables.   Lucite is a great choice if you want the clear look of glass without as much of the worry of your toddler falling into it.

I really like painted furniture.  It's very cost effective (you can get great solid wood furniture second hand for pennies) and put a coat of paint on it pretty quickly.  And if it gets scratched up do some touch ups or even repaint it in a couple of hours some afternoon during nap time.


Such a fun way to add color to your decor too!  When you get tired of it, put another coat on!

I'm personally a huge fan of real hardwood flooring.  It's durable (think about houses that are a hundred years old with their original floors) and looks fantastic.  If it's looking tired 15 years down the road you can get it refinished and it will look brand new again.  It can be a bit pricey to install though.  Laminate is another great option (pictured above)  that can be very durable and can be found for very inexpensive.  With both wood and especially laminate, be careful you don't let liquids sit on them, it can damage the surface.  With laminate if it seeps into the cracks it can actually cause swelling, so don't let that spilled juice sit there overnight.

Cork is a really neat option that's become quite popular.  It's very soft, warm and moisture resistant.  It's also a natural product so less worries about things like off gassing that can happen with some vinyl flooring or even from the glues in some laminates.  Great for areas like the kitchen where you might want to avoid harder options like stone or tile that could be hard on babies knees or heads (ouch!)

So these are a few ideas that are out there.  Most of the things I recommended were based on personal experience or things I've noticed or talked about with friend and family with kids.  My best recommendation when you have kids or are thinking about having kids in the foreseable future is to talk to friends and family with kids and listen to what they found worked and what they regretted.  Don't run out and redo your house just because you're having kids but when you are ready to make a purchase or put in some new floors take those things into consideration.  I like to say there's a "trifecta of decorating".  Looks, cost and durability.   Before you have kids you mostly base your desicions on whether on not you like the look of something and possibly it it's in the budget.  After you have kids, most people have to take them all into consideration. 

Hope this helped a few people make some decisions and see that they can have nice stuff and kids, haha

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