As we enter the season of busy social calendars with friends and loved ones at your home or theirs, I’ve noticed the theme of discussion leaning towards “Did you see Sarah’s new table?” “How much did Jess pay for that new sofa?” “How did they afford that home?” I will admit I used to fall into that same pattern of thinking pre-kids. I wanted my home to be an impressive, shiny, perfect showcase. Since becoming a mom, my style and home decor philosophy has changed dramatically. So, that leads me to the ever-lingering question of how does one make a home inviting and beautiful with little people running around? Is it possible to have a kid-friendly zone without it looking like Toys R Us in your living room? It can be difficult – but doable!
I love cultivating a welcoming and warm space for family and friends. Growing up in a family business of contracting and construction, a strong knowledge of building materials and design were mandatory. I can name more tools than my husband and I really love to browse Lowes. I have asked my dad many times if he would hire me, sometimes joking sometimes dead serious.
As a second-time homeowner this go-round with two kids 3 and under, we have approached style differently. I want to make sure the things that I am buying can withstand years of wear and tear from young children and pets. This will likely be our home for a long time so I focus more on whether it feels comfortable and cozy vs perfect and shiny. If it takes me a year to find the perfect side table, I do not sweat it. In fact, I just hung my son’s custom made curtains in his room last month because I wanted to find rods that I really loved (We moved into our home in May 2015!)
While I am by no means an expert, lucky for you I know someone who is!!
Meet Melissa -an interior designer and stylist at MMM Designs – Interiors who just started her new online Vintage and Ethnic goods store called MMM Boheme Shop. She has designed many homes including this one from the 2016 Richmond Designer House.
If anyone understands designing a home with little people to consider, it’s her. She’s a mom of 3 boys, so guys, she’s the real deal. I was lucky enough to pick her brain about design and here are some amazing tips for you and your home!
Melissa’s Design Philosophy: “Creating spaces that lift your soul. They should make you feel something even if you are not quite sure why. To enable someone to feel peace and comfort is the greatest privilege one can give as a designer.”
I love this and it made me sit down and think about what I want in my home ….a place where everyone feels welcome to walk in, kick off their shoes, and feel like they are home. I don’t want parents to worry and fuss over their child making a mess or breaking anything. I want friends of all ages to feel like my home is their home. What message do you want your home to give to others? Its a great starting point and discussion before you make any purchases big or small to make sure they truly have a spot in your home and add value rather than taking up space.
Melissa needs to be able to see everything around her, be able to breathe and not feel overwhelmed by stuff! Less is more and bringing natural materials in the home creates a connection with the beautiful elements on this earth.
As far as toys go Melissa keeps the space calm and organized so when things do get crazy while playing around she says its not “that bad!”
Melissa has a lot of “hidden” storage. Her magic trick is using beautiful baskets and blankets that hide toys for the boys. She believes that toys are never seen unless they are played with… Everything has a place. Good storage pieces are so key for families with kids. (Totally need to be better about this – my living room is a land mine of Lego’s).
I asked Melissa about color schemes in homes and here are her thoughts: white and natural colors pulled from nature to compliment. Melissa commented that she knows it seems crazy with kids but she needs to see what is going on around her and feel calm. (I think all moms can agree that needing to feel calm in a space is true. There is enough chaos that comes with having little ones around). Certain materials can help with this! She recommends an easy clean microfiber fabric on your sofa. She opted for white molded plastic Eames style dining chairs. She comments, that like with a hotel room bedding, you know what you are getting and you know when it needs attention.
Keeping toys organized is what most families complain about. The toys take over the spaces. I swore I would never say certain things as a mother but found myself throwing out the “If it isn’t picked up when I vacuum and it gets sucked up, we aren’t replacing it!” I committed to a minimalist approach to kids toys a few months ago and took 20 bags of toys to our local Goodwill. The boys have not asked or mentioned any of the toys and I feel less stressed. If you aren’t sure where to start on cleaning out toys – check out this post about which toys we kept at the Smith household. Let’s be honest, they are happiest with sticks and boxes and the same few toys anyways.
Melissa and I both agree on living room style – ditch the coffee table. This is where most families spend their time. We ditched ours when we hit 1 year. I had way too many “AH that was close” exclamations when our oldest was learning to walk. She too ditched hers and admitted that while it felt odd as a designer she loves the open space for wrestling and some intense dance parties. There is a real family in the” family” room!
I asked Melissa if a client had 1000$ to spend what would she recommend they buy? She suggested a leather LaDiff Sofa or a Turkish Rug. (Both solid choices in my opinion).
Still confused as to where to begin? You are in luck. Melissa would love to help. Check out her website and reach out. She has tons of residential and commercial experience.
What is your home vibe? What feel do you want visitors to have when they come over? Relaxed and carefree? Formal? Mix of the two? Would love to hear your favorite style and decor decisions or your biggest failures!
Oh and when you find yourself lusting after someone else’s home or possessions just remember that everyone’s homes are different – we have families of different sizes, needs, wishes, and likes. What works for the Joneses’ may not work for the Smiths’. Its not the square feet or the price tag that matters, but the memories made within those 4 walls.