I have a 16-month-old toddler boy, and this first image below is actually a room in my home. I'm not sure how I pulled that off... fist pump! But I did and I still am. Truthfully, it doesn't always look like this, but with a serious determination to never sacrifice style for my kids (and a few tricks up my sleeve), a lived-in home that also translates to chic is totally possible. Today, I'm sharing a few of my own secrets with you!
Make the Practicalities Pretty
Inspired by Lori Paranjape, I was determined to ditch the classic baby gate and incorporate something beautiful into my office redesign. Working with a builder, we crafted this beauty above that I'll still love long after my son has mastered the stairs.
Choose pieces that can handle wear and tear... from your couch fabric to your dining room table to easily wipeable (yet chic) kitchen island seating, consider how these larger items will age with time, a bit of damage and a whole lotta love through those incredible memories that you'll make.
Be Wise with White
Just because you've got kiddos, does not at all mean you have to break up with white. Just know where to use it! If you want the vibe of a bright, airy space, go for white or neutrals wherever you can. Walls, countertops, tile back splashes, etc. are easily cleanable places to use white. It's a good idea to give any fabric pieces a second thought. A white couch? Not so functional with babies. But if you just can't live without it consider a durable, washable fabric choice or slipcovered version for easy washing when needed (because you WILL need to). Also, avoid white and neutrals for flooring, especially in high traffic areas where little muddy shoes will haunt you.
De-clutter and simplify your home. This doesn't mean you have to go totally minimalist, but clearing out the un-used is one step closer to living stylishly with kiddos. Think everything from your pantry to your closets and all the nooks and crannies in between.
Change Up Your Shelfie Game
Place more valuable, breakable or dangerous items on the top shelves and decorate the bottom shelves with items like stacks of throws, books that you don't mind getting tossed around and even stylish lidded toy baskets.
No Play Room? No problem.
I'm a firm believer that rooms should be multi-purpose and that having children means they fit into your lifestyle, not the other way around. Sure, it can be super convenient to have a play room dedicated just for the kids, but it's so NOT a necessity. If you're able to make at least one room in your home multi-functional to accommodate playtime, then you're in good shape. Maybe that means your home office can transform into a play space (like I did with mine above), and your living room should naturally do that anyway. Just make sure each room serves everyone in the family.
Dirt Doesn't Have to Mean Dirty
What is it about kids and handfuls of dirt? Or eating dirt! Don't want your little ones eating dirt from your fiddle leaf fig? Get creative with plant placement by tucking them behind chairs for not-so-easy access (until they're crazy toddlers who can magically get into anything and everything) or incorporate potted plants on shelving instead.
Tame the Toys
One of my first memories of playing as a child was with a good ol' wooden spoon and all the pots and pans. I'm not saying to deprive your kiddo of modern toys, but consider that they don't need every toy under the sun in order to be happy. Your home will thank you for it.
I also like to rotate toys in and out for my son to keep things interesting and fun for him. Every month or two I'll swap a few things out. As he grows, some items get donated, some get boxed away for a possible brother or sister and some he still enjoys and delights when I bring them out again!
Don't Overload on the Baby Registry & Birthdays
It's so easy to get carried away when registering for or purchasing baby gear and goods. If you are one of those who went overboard on your wedding registry, you know what I'm talking about when your home feels like it's going to burst at the seams with all those items you really don't use that often. Try to only pick up the things you need—doing lots of research on what has worked best for other parents is a great place to start, so you're not buying three brands of every item with a "just in case" attitude in mind.
Embrace a Lived-in, Loved Home
Don't worry yourself over every little sharp corner, every sticky fingerprint or those days when the toy box explodes. Accidents happen and your idea of a perfect home will go out the window. There's nothing wrong with aiming to live a well-styled life but remember that a lived-in home is full of love.