On a given day in the past 20+ years, when I cleaned fur balls from my living room rug, peed on my Saltillo tile and 2am vomited from another rug, courtesy of a adult dog with an upset stomach – or try stuffing and stitching a torn sofa cushion that a puppy has run wild with – you’ll hear me whine, “That’s why I can’t have nice things . “
Anyone who has lived with pets and, of course, young children, has decorating war stories to share – drawing on the walls, leaky diapers and stained couch cushions, scratched leather chairs, spills, breakups… the list is endless. But neither you nor I need to live without beautiful things, as there are so many ways to include beautiful design that stands up to common household atrocities.
And it’s not just about defensive design. If you live in a household with children and pets, you can also trick your home in a winning way to include the evolving needs of your children, dogs, and cats.
Raili Clasen of RailiCA Design loves to create high-end, well-designed spaces that integrate the reality of living with children and pets.
“I love making children’s bedrooms and bathrooms,” she said. “The goal is that it truly reflects their personality, as children, as they get older, spend more and more time in their bedrooms. I try to interview them or involve them in the design process, from 5 years old.
But, she admitted, the big obstacle is that they’re very different at 5 years old than they’ll be at 8 and later at, say, 13. So her strategy is not to put anything in. something so permanent that he cannot grow. with them.
“The key to designing spaces for them is to start with neutrals and then all the personality will come with artwork, bedding, rugs, things that can be changed over the years,” he said. -she explains.
Clasen pointed out a steel loft bed sold by Room & Board that she uses on a number of occasions for children’s room projects. A mezzanine bunk bed is also available.
“What I love about the loft bed is that it’s customizable,” she said. “You can get it in any color and they’re super easy to repaint or powder repaint. For example, if you have a little girl who wants hot pink and turns into a 16 year old who wants a bohemian white bedroom, this is a very simple solution. And these beds are so strong that they can’t be destroyed like an upholstered bed could be.
Designer Traci Taylor from Arise Interiors also takes children into account when designing kitchens, for example.
“When we have clients who have the opportunity to come up with creative solutions, we do things like kick ladders to help kids get to counter level to help cook,” she said. declared.
Like Clasen, Taylor relies on the longevity of materials. Customers with young children sometimes suggest using inexpensive furniture, like Ikea. But Taylor points out that it is likely to be chipped or broken and will need to be replaced after a few years.
“It’s best to use good, high-end hardware for ease of maintenance and longevity. And it’s just a little greener because you don’t redo things all the time.
For dogs and cats, there are both cool design solutions that incorporate their needs, as well as defensive solutions that will keep them from ruining your furniture.
Taylor is excited about small pocket doors that work as high end dog gates.
Instead of a baby gate to keep a pet in or out of a room, there are custom designed pocket doors that are about 30 or 36 inches high that fit in with the rest of the design. home, ”she said.
Taylor built small kennels in the kitchen cabinets that also hold food, leashes, and other pet accessories.
If you are pet-friendly on furniture, Clasen suggested using slipcovers on sofas and chairs made from premium indoor / outdoor fabrics from companies like Sunbrella, Perennials, and Crypton. And, she added, she usually uses a blanket because, while the lower cushions can be protected from dirt and liquids, animals like to use the back cushion as well.
“I make a corner throw that can be washed. And it also helps with children, because when the feet go on a sofa, it can get dirty. “
Flooring can be its own challenge when kids and pets are walking around the house. There is currently a great desire among homeowners to have beautiful hardwood floors. If you can’t help it, go for lighter tones – dark wood stains have streaking. And go for textured hardwood, not smooth, Clasen said.
“You can still have your beautiful oak floors, but the texture protects them so that scratches are non-existent,” she explained.
She and Taylor also agree that for a hardwood look without the vulnerability of wood, the quality of vinyl flooring improves – and that’s about a tenth the cost of hardwood.
Then there are the rugs. They seem to be a magnet for dogs and cats for pee, vomit, and hairballs. And kids can be tough on them too, with spills and dirt. Clasen is a fan of indoor / outdoor rugs, especially for children’s rooms.
“You can literally take them out and sprinkle them with a little OxiClean and dry them,” she said. “Don’t go with thick shag rugs. There are too many things that can get stuck in the stack.
Taylor, who has two young children, buys Ruggable rugs as runners in her kitchen and hallway. The rugs are machine washable, but, she noted, they are very thin, so you have to decide whether you want to get a thin or thick cushion for a more luxurious feel.
“I think the goal of having pet and kid friendly spaces is to create an aesthetic that the owner loves and a space that needs to ‘work well’,” Taylor said.
The two designers offered some tips for selecting materials to design your home with children and pets in mind.
- Tile backsplash behind the toilet: Taylor, who has a 5-year-old son, suggested using tile as a backsplash behind the toilet, instead of just painting, to make it easier to clean up the results of an inaccurate lens.
- Melamine for lower kitchen cabinetsThis same kid also inspired Taylor to use tough melamine instead of stained wood on the lower kitchen cabinets, again for easier cleanup and because it’s more durable. “A tricycle can run into it, and it doesn’t matter,” she said.
- No matte paint: Clasen advised parents not to use flat paint in rooms where there are children 16 years of age or younger. Instead, go for an eggshell finish, which is washable. Taylor loves Benjamin Moore’s Regal Select interior mat. A matte finish is usually a no-no, but this one is cleanable.
- Easy-to-wash bedding: For bedding, use cotton, not linen, which absorbs all oil stains, Clasen said. And, while it might seem counterintuitive, she’s a big fan of white bedding because it can be laundered. Patterns can hide stains, but she gravitates towards solids and layering in colors or fun pillows. And use a cotton duvet instead of a delicate duvet.
- Wool and synthetic blends for area rugs: Stay away from thick, long-haired bristles, which trap dirt, food and other grime. The jute is fine, Classen said, but there’s no cleaning up once it’s destroyed. Its advantage is that being less expensive, it is easier to replace. The fabrics she loved for rugs included indoor / outdoor materials, wool and wool blends, synthetic blends, and surprisingly vintage rugs (except in high traffic areas) because, did she says, the more they wear out, the better.
- Stay away from treated fabrics: Taylor said you want performance fabrics for upholstery that are stain and water resistant, like Crypton or Kravet Smart. But she advised staying away from applied or added treatments because they don’t wear out well.
- Select sofas and slippery chairs: Clasen not only prefers covers, which can be removed for cleaning, but she also likes to order two sets – even in different tones to change things up while you are washed.
- Choose stone tops for coffee tables: Wood is beautiful for coffee tables, Clasen said, but not with pets – not even adults, noting the issues with scratches and stains. She loved stone tops, like marble and granite, and paired them with a wooden base. Also, she recommended checking out metal tables or something with a metal top.
Golden is a freelance writer and blogger from San Diego.