Decorating With Kids

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paintI remember visiting friends who had children when I was younger.  I noticed that many of them did little decorating, and that the decorating they did was very simple and utilitarian.  Now that I have a large family,  I understand.  Here are some decorating tips for those of you with active families.

Forget Fancy

Remember all those expensive, beautiful trinkets you collect?  Put them away or up very, very high.  The reality is that kids are kids. 

Yes, your children need to learn to be respectful of your posessions.  This will come in time and evnentually, they will learn.  However, accidents still do happen.  It’s best to prevent rather than to deal with accidents before they happen.

100_2347Decorate With Durable Things

When looking for furnishings and furniture, chose durable and sturdy items.  Forget the leather couch in the often used family room if you have a large dog and little kids.  Think again if you wish to put light colored carpeting in your eat in kitchen. 

In all honesty, you may be able to make it work, but you’ll spend a lot of time cleaning, maintaining and repairing.  I really believe that it’s best to hold off on those kinds of purchases until your children are teens.

Because of the allergies my children have, we have tile in our house.  It’s durable, easy to clean, and great for allergies.  For color, I have purchased moderately priced area rugs.  If the rugs get “ruined” for whatever reason, I can discard them and begin again.

100_2329Paint Is Important

I wish someone had told me that years ago.  When you have kids, make sure to paint your rooms with high quality paint that you can scrub.  Flat paint is useless unless it’s on the ceiling.    For children’s rooms and other high traffic areas, I’d consider buying special paint just for children’s rooms.  It is worth the price!

Also important, especially if you get a specially blended color: buy EXTRA paint.  If you don’t do this, be sure to keep the “recipe” of the paint somewhere.  When you have children, it’s a sure bet that you’ll be doing many touch ups on a regular basis.

Think Of Cost

It’s important to buy durable items, but it’s also important to keep cost in consideration.  Also, get some perspective before you purchase.  What happens if the puppy decides to nibble on the chair rungs when you are out?  Suppose your child decides to cut the little threads on the blinds to see what happens?

I guess my point is that kids are kids and kids do things accidentally or on purpose that may infuriate the adults in their lives.  When you have a house full of animals and kids, life becomes very interesting.  I’ve learned(mostly the hard way), that whatever is out in the common areas in our house is “expendable” to some degree. 

This is why I purchase durable items that aren’t too expensive with which I decorate my home.  This saves me money, and a lot of mental energy.  Recently, the cat jumped on a small shelf trying to get away from the dog and knocked over a resin sculpture.  The sculpture broke, and was not fixable.  Luckily, it didn’t cost too much money, and it was a “common” item available at many local card stores in our area which could be readily replaced. 

Consider the Dirt Factor

When choosing colors, carpeting, linens or other items for your home, remember the dirt factor.

Dirt comes with kids and pets.  If you decorate in light colors, realize that you will spend a lot of time cleaning or wiping surfaces in order to keep up appearances.  It’s best to choose colors that don’t show off dirt so much.  That way, if you have unexpected company, you won’t be too embarrassed!

Create Rules And Enforce Them

Yes, I believe that you can save yourself a lot of time, money and stress by decorating in a “kid-friendly” sort of way.  However, your children(and pets) need to learn some manners  too.  Rules need to be made and enforced about indoor behavior.  For example, I don’t allow my children to run in the house.  I also don’t allow them to rollerblade or throw balls in the house. 

Eventually, children grow up.  One day, you will come to treasure all the marks you wiped off the walls and cabinets(or so I’ve heard).  Until then, be smart and take some steps to make your life a little bit easier.

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