There's no doubt that the way you decorate a home changes when you have children. Suddenly, that sharp-corner coffee table has to go, delicate glass vases need to be displayed away from small hands, and furniture has to stand up to the rigors (read: spills and stains) of everyday life.
That doesn't mean family homes have to compromise on style. The properties on family-friendly rental site Kid & Coe are proof that form and function can work hand in hand. "We are really choosy when it comes to adding homes to the site," founder Zoie Kingsbery Coe tells MyDomaine. "They are all hand-picked because they are family-friendly, in a desirable location for family travel, and because they have a certain sense of style." We mined the site's 1000+ listings of homes around the world to discover the best family-friendly design ideas. Here's exactly what we learned along the way.
Keeping any home pristine is challenging, especially if you have kids. Fake a tidier space by styling furniture symmetrically to create a mirror effect. It'll always look considered and neat, no matter how many stray toys are on the floor.
Paint Brick Walls
Painting a room white is an easy way to instantly elevate it. Update your space by giving a red brick wall or pitched roof a coat of fresh white paint, and pull back the blinds to let the light reflect off the walls.
An industrial design might be considered cold to some, but it's surprisingly kid-friendly. Polished concrete floors are easy to clean and look better with a few scuffs, while mix-and-match furniture can be easily updated as your sense of style changes.
Consider an Open-Plan Layout
Open-plan homes make it easy to keep an eye on young ones. Watch them play in the living room while you prep lunch in the kitchen.
Blend Indoor and Outdoor Spaces
This British home blends indoor and outdoor spaces with a huge glass accordion door that can be opened on warm days to let fresh air and natural light inside.
Fresh, whitewashed floorboards give this family home in Primrose Hill, London, a fresh base. The bright floorboards make the space feel larger and allow the owners to add color via the warm-wood furniture.
Make a Fireplace the Focal Point
Trying to encourage more family time? Rather than style your living room around the television, focus on the fireplace. It'll be more inviting and subtly encourage social interaction, rather than staring at a screen.
Choose a Calming Color Palette
The living room should feel like a retreat from the stress of the outside world and everyday life. Opt for soothing colors like dusty sage, which was one of the most popular colors on Pinterest in 2018.
Choose Furniture with Curved Lines
Family-friendly furniture can be stylish, too. Opt for sofas and accent chairs with curved lines and in soft fabrics, like the owners of this Malibu home did. Linen is a great sofa fabric that will get better with age.
Use Area Rugs to Protect Flooring
Protect neutral carpet from spills with a strategically positioned area rug. This large black-and-white stripe rug hides stains and can be replaced with time.
Opt for a Statement Ceiling
Worried about investing in statement furniture when you still have young kids? Instead, focus on the ceiling. This home in Barcelona, Spain, has a stunning exposed brick roof that draws the gaze skyward.
Choose Perspex Tables Over Glass
Clear perspex is a great alternative to glass. It's durable, doesn't scratch easily, and won't smash.
Style a Gallery Wall
The best family rooms reflect those who call the space home via sentimental objects and photographs. Give your room personality by styling an eclectic gallery wall with your favorite family photographs and artworks the kids have made.
Shop Midcentury Modern Furniture
Searching for well-designed furniture that's also child-appropriate. Midcentury modern design is a great trend to incorporate at home as it usually features chairs and coffee tables in curved lines. Textured fabric like performance velvet is surprisingly hardy.
Let Light In
Struggling to pinpoint why your family room doesn't feel quite right? Make the space a bit more inviting by replacing heavy drapes with sheer linen curtains or removing them altogether. Let the natural light stream in to instantly change the mood.
Decorate with Greenery
Houseplants don't just enliven a space and purify the air—they're also a great way to teach your kids how to care for a living thing. Buy a plant and watering can for your little one and show them how to water it regularly and watch it grow.
Style a Mantelpiece and Shelves that Are Out of Reach
Nervous about styling a coffee table or console with precious items? Turn your attention to surfaces that are out of reach, like a mantelpiece or high shelves. The owners of this Parisian home chose to put breakables like vases and urns up high, and decorate low coffee tables with books and plants.
Browse Thrift Stores
Thrift stores are a great place to find affordable pre-loved furniture and vintage steals. Bonus: you won't be precious about pre-loved items and will be able to tell if they wear well with time.
Shop Multipurpose Décor
Choose furniture that services more than one purpose. These half-sphere wood stools can be used around the dining table as extra seating or side tables by the sofa.
We spied a genius dining table hack in the Cape Town home shown above: The owners have added discreet wheels to each leg so that it can be moved indoors or outdoors. It's an ideal trick for open-plan or vacation homes.