How to design a family-friendly living room
Being a mom of three, a dog owner and a designer who has worked with many families over the years, I have learned a thing or two about how to create a family-friendly living room that is both functional and stylish. With some intentional planning, sharing your space with kids and pets doesn’t have to mean a compromise on style!
I often hear people say that they don’t want to invest in “nice things” until their kids are older. Let’s face it, when you become a parent, you are likely spending a lot of time at home camped out in your living room. Why not make it a beautiful space that you enjoy spending time in?
Home should be a place to relax and make lots of memories together with the people (and pets) you love. Urban Barn has so many family-friendly products and today I want to share some insight on considerations you might want to make while planning your dream living room.
Kid and pet-friendly furniture
When I am designing a family-friendly living room, I always start with the main furniture pieces to lay the foundation. Thanks to my own family, I have been conditioned to keep safety and wear and tear in mind when sourcing appropriate furniture for a home with babies and kids. Let me share the considerations I make when selecting sofas, coffee tables and storage pieces for my clients with young families.
The biggest investment you are likely to make in your living room or family room is your sofa. It is also the piece of furniture that you use the most, so it makes sense to give this item extra careful and thoughtful consideration. When it comes to fabric, I recommend synthetic performance fabrics with high durability. Urban Barn has custom options available so you can get a sofa made in the colour and texture of your choice!
Speaking of colour, as much as I am drawn to lighter shades from an aesthetic standpoint, I always select a sofa in a darker colour for my clients with kids and pets. In our family room we have the Nixon sofa in Giovanna Pewter, even though the Giovanna Moondust shade is more my style. Dirt is an unavoidable reality when it comes to living with kids and pets, which is why choosing a darker colour that will help camouflage it is key. Of course, it is important to clean and care for all upholstered surfaces, but families are busy and it's not realistic to be cleaning the sofa every day!
The other important factor to take into consideration is seating capacity. Think about cozy family movie nights: how many seats do you need to accommodate your family? If you have the space for it, I always suggest a sectional sofa because they offer maximum seating while still being cozy and comfortable. The Antonio Sectional in Gilligan Fog is my go-to recommendation for family-friendly living rooms. It’s a soft, dark-coloured synthetic fabric sofa that’s big enough for the whole family to snuggle up!
Another furniture item worthy of special consideration when designing a family-friendly space is the coffee table. I would recommend avoiding finishes like glass or marble and instead, opting for something more durable like wood or metal.
When it comes to shape, I love a round coffee table because it adds a pleasing contrast to the straight lines of a sofa. A bonus of round tables for babies and young children - there are no sharp edges or corners to get caught on!
I love the Irwin Nesting Tables because of their round shape, durable metal finish and functionality. You get two tables in one! Being able to separate the tables is ideal when kids are using the surface for playing games or building Lego, or if you are using your coffee table for snacks on movie night.
I am also a huge fan of the Crosby Round Coffee Table and have used it in several client projects. The metal base and warm wood top make it both stylish and practical for families.
For a softer touch, I often recommend using a round ottoman instead of a coffee table! We have had the Archibald Leather Ottoman in our family room for several years now and it has served us well. We like to put our feet up while lounging so having a softer surface is our preference, and a tray can be added to give us a place to rest drinks and store remotes.
Kid and pet-friendly décor
Now that we have discussed the foundational furniture pieces that make up a family-friendly living room, it’s time to talk about how to inject some style and personality using decorative accessories. Textiles and decorative objects take a room to the next level and can go a long way to helping you love your home. Just like with furniture, it comes down to making thoughtful and practical choices with your finishing touches.