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July 2, 2014

5 Tips for Designing with Children and Pets in Your Home

5 Tips for Designing with Children and Pets in Your Home

I grew up in an age where there weren’t so many attractive options for designing with children and pets. And I am so appreciative of the wonderful innovation that has taken place since then. But there are some old standbys that I still swear by!

Here are some tips both old and new!

  1. Use outdoor fabric whenever possible in high traffic areas. Outdoor fabrics have come a long way and are now available in many comfortable and beautiful colors. Think Sunbrella or Breathe Easy by Great Plains.
  2. You can have upholstery on kitchen and dining room chairs, but pleather or vinyl may be more user friendly. You can wipe these down after meals or a friendly visit from your pet.
  3. Make sure you’re prepared for emergency cleanup! Keep bins at the ready to swipe table tops clean and store items in closet for that unplanned important visitor. Then add fresh flowers – you’re done! (Of course I think we all should be organized enough to keep that table top clean but sometimes….it’s just not possible. J
  4. Give children and animals lots of play space. If they like to play on carpeting make sure it is wool. Wool is still the easiest to clean up if there’s an accident. It’s also hypoallergenic. If an accident should happen use white vinegar, warm water and a bit of mild dishwashing detergent. If you have cats — no looped carpeting! They love tearing the little loops apart!
  5. Regarding your heirlooms: Give children credit for being able to learn to respect the things that mean a lot to you. If it’s a treasured antique, it has survived this far! Teach them about where it was when you were growing up and who it came from. Chances are they will love the story and understand its importance! This may be difficult to do with pets…puppies do not understand stories. (You’re on your own with this one.) I suggest removing it from the puppy active zone!

If you’re not living with any of these realities – and you’re still reading this – go ahead and enjoy your upholstered white furniture and breakable objects!

But for the rest of us still in the trenches with children and pets – enjoy the unexpected and the occasional mess!

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