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Last Updated on December 12, 2023

If you have children and haven’t given up on the idea of having a nice home, you know: the struggle is real. With kids comes so much stuff! And so many messes! But don’t throw in the towel – it is possible to have a nice space for yourself that also functions well for the kiddos. Read on for some of the best ways to create a kid-friendly living room that works for the whole family.

Safety First

One of the first things you’ve probably already done is make sure your space is safe. Depending on the ages of your kids, this can mean capping outlets, removing potentially dangerous or toxic items at child height, or storing anything breakable, pointy, or sharp out of reach.

This doesn’t mean, however, that you have to sit in an empty room. Consider materials, like reclaimed wood, that can suffer a little abuse and still look great. Or an upholstered ottoman, instead of a sharp-cornered coffee table. There are options that look great and are safe for kids of all ages. 

Find some stealthy storage

Remember all that stuff we mentioned that kids acquire? Leaving it laying around is not a good look. Finding some attractive, furniture with the ability to store art supplies (washable, of course), toys, and books is key. 

A credenza is a super versatile piece of furniture to include in your living room. Many have drawers and cabinets where you can quickly gather up and hide odds and ends. Plus, there are so many gorgeous options available both new and from vintage sellers that it’s a way to dial up your living room’s style, as well.

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Another great solution is a storage ottoman. They’re great for hiding toys or resting feet, and with a cute tray on top, can serve as a resting place for snacks and drinks. Plus, the soft edges are friendlier for littlies learning to get stable on their feet or older, rambunctious kids who may get a little crazy when they’re out of your sightline. Which brings us to our next recommendation…

Soft floor coverings

Wall-to-wall carpet isn’t for everyone but having something soft underfoot can be provide at least a little bit of cushion. Luckily, there are great washable and sustainable options these days that give kids a safe place to play and still look great. Both Ruggable and Revival have some great options you can launder at home. And each offers a variety of styles so you’re sure to find something that looks good with your decor.

Slip covers

Speaking of washable, whoever invented the slipcover is a saint. If you have your heart set on a light-colored couch or chair but worry about destruction from grubby little hands and feet, a slipcover can be a great option. Many are made to easily come off for stain treatment and washing. And, if worst comes to worst, you could order a new slipcover rather than having to live with an ugly stain or rehome the entire sofa or chair. 

Stain resistant 

Another important part of creating a kid-friendly living room is finding materials that are as impervious to stains as possible. For wood furniture, you could consider a more rustic look that will seem more interesting with a little wear. Or, if you want to protect the surface of a coffee or end table, you could consider a tempered glass cover. (Just make sure it’s secured down and won’t slip off and create a hazard).

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When it comes to protecting fabric, it’s a little trickier. You want to steer clear of toxic treatments that protect your furniture at the expense of the safety of your home. Instead, look for manufacturers who offer washable or replaceable parts or who use materials that are inherently stain resistant. Two to investigate include Burrow and Sabai who offer fabrics that are kid-friendly without the use of hazardous chemicals.

Choose furniture that will grow with your family

Those tiny tables and chairs are cute but not super practical. You’ll be shocked at how fast kids outgrow those adorable miniature furniture pieces. One way to make purchases more versatile is to select things that serve multiple purposes and will have use when your kids get bigger. Rather than buy a tiny table and chairs, consider buying a set of small stepping stools and a table with replaceable legs that will accommodate your child for many years. 

A great option is PB Kids Carolina Grow-With-You table. The table top has interchangeable legs so that you can choose from a shorter craft table (that also looks great as a coffee table) or a taller desk style for older kids. They even sell touch up pens so you can keep it looking good. 

Metal stools like these work really well as a place for little kids to sit, and for older kids (and adults) to use as a stepping stool. Plus, the simple stype and array of colors makes them a good option with a lot of different design schemes and the fact that they are metal makes them pretty darn durable.

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Have fun!

Don’t feel like having kids is a death sentence for your home’s style. It can actually give you an excuse to get a little experimental – it’s for the kids! The children’s section always has the best stuff so don’t be afraid to try some fun art and vibrant patterns. After all, you can always add new art to a frame or get a new cover for your pillow. Why not try something a little outside your usual comfort zone?

Displaying your children’s art is also a great way to celebrate their creativity and add some color to your living room. Let your inner child come out and have some fun!

Amy Kleppinger

Amy Kleppinger

Amy Kleppinger is the founder of The Home Green, a website devoted to helping homeowners find sustainable interior design inspiration. If this sounds like something that might be of interest to you, she hopes you’ll check it out.

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