After living with two kids for a hundred years now (mine are 6 and 4, but when talking about kids, you add their ages and multiply by 10 to get the true passage of time) and recently moving into a new apartment and buying new furnishings, I noticed I had learned a few things from past decor choices gone wrong. I can’t say that everything is smooth sailing when it comes to our home now, but I can say that following these kid-friendly decorating ideas resulted in many fewer headaches.
Get a few that are about 2 by 3 feet and put one in front of the kitchen sink, one in front of the bathroom sink and one outside the tub. Toss them in the wash every week or so, and they’ll be good as new. Same goes for throw blankets and pillows. You’ll be much happier if you can just toss something into a load rather than try to spot-clean it or have it professionally cleaned.
4. If you can’t wipe it, reconsider it. A lot goes on at our dining table — more than just eating, such as coloring, painting, playing with Play-Doh and slime, and handling all other sorts of gunk that companies have come up with to seemingly give parents a panic attack. Don’t let it.
Try to find materials that are easy to wipe down. We once had an unstained wooden dining table that seemed to absorb every marker (even the so-called washable kind) and paintbrush stroke like it was a hipster covered in tattoos. I recently bought an inexpensive yet sturdy table made of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) covered in acrylic paint. It’s incredibly easy to wipe off, and I even dared to buy it in white (I know!). Granted, the top surface on products like this is pretty thin. If any large chunks or dents are taken out of the surface, the wood-colored fiberboard will show through. Good thing it was cheap.
Additionally, I can’t stress enough how much of a blessing a broken-in brown leather sofa has been. Every smear from markers or yogurt or grubby little fingers comes off with a quick wipe-down. Of course, you still need to be careful with scratches and punctures, but in my experience, those have been much less of an issue than spills.
A few years ago I bought a rug made from recycled newspaper woven in cotton. It’s a beautifully cool piece that has sentimental value to me as a journalist. But I’ve never found the right use for it with young kids. It’s got so many places for crumbs to fall into that it’s difficult to shake out or run a vacuum over. It’s just not worth it to have around. So it stays rolled up in my closet. Maybe someday it’ll come out.