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8 Craft and Activity Rooms Ideas For the Whole Family

The first wave of COVID led many families to reimagine what they needed from their homes. Many of us spent time and money transforming our spaces into something more livable and functional for working from home and homeschooling. Through the ups and downs of stay-at-home orders, new COVID variants, and several rounds of distance learning, we’ve learned the importance of designing and tweaking our homes to work for our particular family’s needs.

We continue to realize the importance of having a safe and comforting home space, and getting the most out of our homes. So now, over two years into our new reality, it’s time to go even further in leveling up our home designs from comfortable and stylish to something more fulfilling and sustaining—especially if you have kids.

With so much change and uncertainty, it’s important to promote fun and wellness at home—for kids and adults alike. While adults can be more self-directed, our children may need help discovering interests and developing hobbies they find fulfilling. That’s where family time can come in. Through increased, intentional time together, you can promote whole family wellness. And interior design can be a big help in ensuring family time happens!

We talked to families on our team to find out what changes they made to their own homes that have fostered quality time and encouraged creativity at home. (Some of these spaces are even great for when you need to distract your kids while you get other work done around the house!) We’re so excited about the room ideas we got—and we hope you are too.

Fun and Creative Activity and Craft Room Ideas

Ready to explore your creativity as a family? Below, you’ll find eight activity and craft room ideas for creating spaces that will keep your family happy and entertained.

1. A Kid-Friendly Cooking Corner

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Cooking is inevitable for any parent. And while bringing kids into the kitchen may create more work in the moment, growing a love for healthy meals and cooking whole foods is invaluable. So, why not create a kid-friendly cooking corner in your kitchen for your kids to safely explore culinary interests!

This is a great option because…

It’s a great bonding experience for you and your kids. It’s a way to give your kids hands-on experience in meal preparation and learn first-hand how joyful cooking can be. (It’s fun for kids to see where their food comes from!) They can also learn valuable skills—like how to peel, chop, and even read a recipe. Bonus: it’s a screen-free activity!

How to Design a Cooking Corner

To create a kid-friendly cooking corner, start by making sure you can create a safe space for them to help without risking injury. We like the idea of clearing off the kitchen island or dining nook table to offer a large-but-accessible surface. (Plus, this way, it doesn’t have to be a permanent kids cooking corner but it can just be set up when needed!) Pull chairs, stools, or kitchen helper stools up to your surface to make sure everything is within reach. Set out age-appropriate kitchen utensils (we love this little kitchen helper knife set!) so your kids can help with real tasks. And, since kids are always prone to messes, it helps to set out plastic or silicone mats, or water-resistant placemats, to protect surfaces and make clean-up easier.

2. A Shared Fitness Space

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Movement is key for kids and adults alike. Every kid needs to get out the wiggles at some point in the day. And designing a shared yoga or fitness space is the perfect place for this to happen when going outside isn’t an option. In a multifunctional exercise room, kids can burn some energy and you can sneak in a workout while keeping an eye on them!

This is a great option because…

By having a space where the whole family can move together, you can instill in your children the importance of movement and exercise—not only for physical health, but for mental health, too. Plus, it allows you, as a parent, to get in a workout without having to get up super early, stay up super late, or set your kids down in front of the TV. This is a great way for the whole family to blow off some steam and get active—which is especially nice when gyms are shut down or the weather is bad!

How to Design a Fitness Space

Create a space with age-appropriate exercise opportunities for everyone in the family. We love the idea of starting out with an open floor plan and laying down rubber floor tiles or gymnastics mats to make the space conducive to tumbling. Then, include family-friendly exercise equipment like yoga mats, small hand weights, and perhaps even some jump ropes! If you have the architecture to support it, you could even install a small climbing wall, gymnastics rings, or monkey bars! For easy organization, incorporate a shelf with bins or baskets so you can stow away equipment when it’s not in use. Check out our tips for how to design an at-home gym for more fitness room ideas!

3. A Craft Room for the Whole Family

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Everyone has creativity within them—but what each person in your family enjoys probably won’t be the same. Some people might like to draw and paint, others may prefer sculpture (or Play-Doh), while for others scrapbooking or quilting might be the activity of choice. By establishing a dedicated craft room, each family member can work on their preferred activity while sharing a space together.

This is a great option because…

It offers a space where the whole family can partake in arts and crafts activities without needing to be doing a singular activity. Parents can even work from a craft room while kids do creative activities! This is another way to make intentional space for screen-free activities and show your children the joy and stress relief found in doing something creative, with your hands. And having a dedicated space for these activities means your living or dining room won’t be overtaken every time your child wants to get their creative juices flowing!

How to Design a Craft Room

When exploring craft room ideas, start by making sure you have enough surface space for each family member to work on their own project. Create several workstations, and perhaps even intentionally designate spaces for art crafts vs. sewing vs. computer work. Consider having both desk and counter-height surfaces for different activities, and opt for surface materials that are durable and easy to clean. (After all, paint spills and marker stains are inevitable with kids!) And, of course, craft room organization is key! Incorporate plenty of storage space so that craft supplies can stay organized and the space doesn’t feel cluttered or chaotic.

 

4. A Game Room

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Is your family into board games or card games, perhaps a game room is what your family would enjoy the most. This gives you a dedicated space for the whole family to play games together—and even allows you to leave multiplayer or world-building tabletop games up for days at a time. This is also a great area for families who like working on puzzles together!

This is a great option because…

Games and puzzles are great ways to have family bonding time without electronic devices. More than just sharing a space and doing your own thing, family game nights bring everyone together for a designated activity. This is great for families with kids of all ages—and you can simply adjust the games you play as your kids get older!

How to Design a Game Room

We already wrote a whole blog about our best tips for designing a game room. But we’ll give you a quick recap of our game room ideas here! To design a game room, you’ll want a surface that everyone can access and gather around, like a coffee or dining table. Especially if you enjoy longer, more involved games, you’ll want adequate lighting and comfortable seating. Since the most essential part of a game room is a table and chairs, this doesn’t even need to be a separate room; it could be a table in the corner of a living room or family room—or you could even simply transform your dining room for family game nights! Regardless of where this takes place, it’s nice to have storage space for board games, puzzles, and gaming supplies to keep things organized.

5. A Music Room or Corner

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Is your family on its way to becoming the next VonTrapp Family Singers or the Jackson 5? For families where music plays a large role, it’s nice to have a room designated for music. Explore music room ideas (or just a music corner!) to give you a dedicated space to store and play musical instruments, listen to music, and enjoy that vinyl collection.

This is a great option because…

Playing instruments is great for brain development in children, and learning to read music is an incredible life skill. And we love that people of all ages can learn to play a new instrument, making this an ageless activity! Plus, music in general is something that anyone can enjoy, whether they play an instrument or not.

How to Design a Music Room

When designing a music room, start by establishing a home for musical instruments. Include a storage cabinet or shelving to store sheet music and record collections, and make sure you have adequate lighting and seating for those who want to listen. You may also want to consider acoustics and environment—two major considerations when figuring out where to place a piano in your home.

6. An At-Home Library or Reading Area

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Are you a family that loves to read? Create a space with comfortable seating and storage for books so everyone can enjoy their book. There’s something strangely comforting about the silent togetherness about reading your own book in the same room as another person engrossed in their own book!

This is a great option because…

Reading is an activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages! It develops your brain and vocabulary, activates creativity, and creates a space for healthy escape on difficult days. A cozy reading room is a great way to instill and develop a love of reading in your children—plus, it offers the ideal place to spend an afternoon on a day when the weather is crummy! (And it’s another screen-free activity!)

How to Design a Family Reading Space

This is another activity room that doesn’t necessarily need its own separate room. You can keep a reading area smaller—think: a comfy reading nook with just two chairs in the corner of a bedroom or living room. Or, you can transform your living room into a more dedicated space for reading. However large or small, just make sure to include comfortable seating for multiple people—whether a sectional sofa or a couple of individual cozy chairs. Good lighting is also a must, so that no one strains their eyes. And this is also the perfect space in your home to install some wall-to-wall shelving to house your library of books! What not to include? A TV. You don’t want a TV to become a distraction in a space dedicated to reading. Want to get really creative with your reading room ideas? Use your favorite book as inspiration and match your reading nook to the book!

7. A Media Room

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Not all family activities need to be screen-free. After all, sometimes it’s nice to just cozy up and watch a movie together as a family! If you have a TV in your living room, you don’t necessarily need to create a separate space for family movie nights. But if your living room is more formal or screen-free, a dedicated media room can be a fun and cozy way option.

This is a great option because…

It’s nice to have a space where the whole family can gather and be comfortable. Whether you love family movie nights or enjoy watching sports as a family, a media room gives you the perfect space to gather, hang out, and be a little more casual than other parts of your home.

How to Design a Media Room

Create a cozy space facing a TV, and make sure there’s ample seating for everyone. Sectionals are a great choice for media rooms, as they offer extra seating and space for lounging. It’s also nice to have moveable accent tables for drinks and snacks, as well as ottomans so people can kick up their feet and get comfortable. Also necessary: plenty of pillows and blankets! It’s ideal to have dimmable lighting so you can create the exact mood and atmosphere you’d prefer.

8. An Outdoor Family Space

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It’s always good to get outside. And if your yard allows it, it’s so nice to have a dedicated outdoor family space for outdoor meals, yard games, and campfires. There’s just something so rejuvenating about fresh air and family time!

This is a great option because…

With so much of the past two years spent indoors, it’s so good to spend time outside, even if it’s just in your own yard. Making your yard feel special and intentional is a great way to ensure you’ll make use of it more often.

How to Design an Outdoor Space

Paved patios or decks are a great starting point for outdoor family spaces—but they aren’t absolutely necessary. Set up a spot in the yard for family meals—either a picnic table in the grass, a table on the patio, or a blanket laid out on the lawn for more of a picnic feel! Depending on what your space allows, you could also set up yard games—like croquet, cornhole, badminton, or bocce ball. Consider a fire pit or building out a full campfire ring for cozy evenings outdoors (complete with s’mores, of course!). Or, if a fire isn’t an option, hang up strings of cafe lights to create some cozy ambiance.

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Family Room Design: 14 Cozy Family Room Decorating Ideas

Ah, family rooms. Undoubtedly, it’s the most casual and comfy space in any home for the whole family (yes, even pets!) to gather, relax, and lounge out. It’s the happy medium between formal living room and media room, where conversation and movie marathons all take place. It’s also the busiest space where children, for the most part, have free reign.

With all that in mind, it’s also easy to see why it can be a challenge decorating a family room. There needs to be a balance of function and style, from making sure there’s practical storage to having a TV setup that isn’t a complete eyesore. There often needs to be kid-friendly designs also. And most important, there needs to be big, comfortable seating, because the family room is designed to be used every day.

The Difference Between Living Room vs. Family Room

Before we dive in further, you may be wondering what’s the difference between a living room and a family room. For the most part, the terms are interchangeable today, but they ultimately do refer to different spaces.

First, the living room is commonly seen as a more elevated, formal space, while the family room is a cozier and informal gathering spot. Second, the living room is usually located in the front of the home, to welcome guests, while the family room is often more tucked away, either closer to the back of the house or in a basement. And finally, while some homes have both these spaces, others only have one main living area, in which case, it tends to be used more like a family room.

Either way, there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to decorating. Just be sure to decide how you want to use your space, and follow your design instincts!

Now to help you design a space that’s right for you and your squad, we’ve rounded up our best family room decorating ideas from our designers. Find out below!

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1. Prioritize Comfy Seating

Casual and comfortable seating that’s no frills and easy to clean is key to a functional family room. It’s similar to any living room furniture except you want to opt for larger scale pieces with comfy proportions that invite the whole family to lounge and spend time together in the space. Plus, family rooms often have media, so you want the most comfortable seating for watching TV and movies. Think a wide sectional with the chaise and ottoman, extra poufs, and plush side chairs or reclining armchairs. It’s all about creating a homey and welcoming environment.

Because it’s a space that gets a lot of use, especially if there are kids, having upholstered furniture in durable fabrics is essential. You’ll want to look for performance materials that are stain resistant and easy to clean, slipcovers you can toss into the wash, and quality leather that can stand up to wear over time.

family room designed for tv viewing

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2. Center Seating Around Technology

If the family room is primarily used for watching TV and movies, arrange your seating around the media area for ease. By centering your main seating with your TV, it optimizes the space with a family friendly layout that’s designed for practical everyday use.

Additionally, just because the TV is centered in the room doesn’t mean that it has to look like an electronics focused space. Add a media console that elevates the look of your TV or if you’re pressed for space, hang a flatscreen on your wall and surround it with cool art for a more balanced look.

Check out our TV viewing layouts for other family room decorating ideas that seamlessly incorporate media.

 

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3. Make It Personal

A family room is a ‘family’ space, so it should feel personal and not overly prescriptive or precious. Adding personal touches will help make your family room feel more inviting while still keeping an elevated look and serving all your practical daily needs.

Consider incorporating family photos, mementos from travels, and even artwork and crafts from the kids. Some tried-and-true family room decorating ideas like a gallery wall of black-and-white personal photos or a bookcase filled with favorite heirlooms and objects are always guaranteed to bring a touch of personality and flair.

If you’re at a loss for family room ideas that feel ‘you’, you can always start by adding a few of your favorite books, a few plants, or a grouping of small accents on a tray on the coffee table.

Family room with work area

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4. Create Spaces for the Whole Fam

The family room is meant to be a gathering spot for everyone in the house, including the kids and pets. So it’s important to factor in every person’s needs for the most family friendly space.

Consider different areas for each person when everyone uses the space at the same time. You don’t want everyone competing for the best spot on the sectional, so be sure to have several comfy spots for lounging.

That means taking into consideration how each family member would use the space—which can be a cozy reading chair for dad, a place for books for mom, a play area for the kids or the perfect corner for a pet bed for Fido (also see: pet-friendly design tips.) And if your family room functions as a multipurpose space for homeschooling or computer games, be sure to carve out spaces for those too.

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5. Pile on Layers of Comfort

You can never have too many pillows and throw blankets in the family room. After all, it always comes down to extra layers of comfort that can be shared by everyone in the family room.

Beyond comfort, layering pillows not only adds style and pattern, it also brings texture and warmth to your seating area. Try starting with a mix of three to five pillows for your sectional, then add in one or two throw blankets at each end. You can also take it one step further with a basket full of throw blankets for guests or for when the whole family piles onto the sectional for a movie night.

Family room with kid safe furniture

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6. Kid Proof With Soft Edges

When it comes to kid friendly family room decorating ideas, proofing your space with furniture that have rounded edges and soft surfaces is top priority.

Look for upholstered ottomans and curvy chairs that don’t have sharp corners, and pad the floor with cozy rugs that are gentle on the feet and soft enough for little ones to crawl and lay out on. This keeps the family room safe for babies, toddlers, and kids across all ages to comfortably lounge and play.

Need help finding the right pieces for your family room? Take a peek at our top picks for kid-friendly coffee tables and the best rugs for kids and pets.

Family room with play area

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7. Set Up a Fun Zone

In a busy household with children, you can make the most of your family room by carving out a kid-friendly play space for games, crafts, and even homework. It’s one of the most practical multipurpose family room ideas, because it doubles the function of the space and provides a perfect setup that lets you keep an eye on the kids while relaxing.

How you decorate your kids’ fun zone is up to you. You can try adding some playroom elements to start, like a kids table, easel or toy chest if your kids are too young for family games. And you can ground it all with a soft rug that they can comfortably play on. You can find more inspiring ideas with our kid-friendly design tips.

Family room with bold colors

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8. Don’t Shy From Color

Most family room ideas revolve around practical neutral furniture. But we’re here to encourage the opposite. Make it a point to liven up your family room with colorful accents, such as a patterned rug, bright pillows, vibrant accent chairs and poufs, and eye-catching art.

In a room where functionality is often the focus, having bursts of color and pattern is the quickest way to add personality and style. And if you’re worried about having too much color, just remember you can always swap out these small accents each season with new shades or neutrals. And if neutral is your go-to palette, you can still add texture and depth with textiles, which will have the same warming effect as colors.

family room with playful accent furniture

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9. Add Playful Accent Furniture

Beyond functional family room ideas, leave room to have a little fun with your design of the space. Playful accent furniture, like a casual hanging chair, pretty patterned poufs on the floor or a stylish home bar cabinet, make for unexpected touches that instantly liven up a family room. These also help set your space up for casual hangouts, no matter the occasion. If kids or teenagers use the family room to hang with friends, these will ensure you have a space that’s fun, functional, and relaxing to hang out in.

Family room with cozy reading nook

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10. Carve out a Reading Nook

Give yourself a cozy place to sit and read in the family room. You can easily create a reading nook by adding an armchair in a corner or alongside a bookcase. Just be sure to round out your reading space with other accents, like a side table, floor lamp, and a throw pillow and blanket.

For those days when you just want to curl up with a good book instead of tuning into a show, a cozy reading nook can feel like the most comforting hideaway. And when it comes to family room ideas that are stylish, functional, and inspire a bit of escapism, none come close to a reading nook with a deep armchair designed for hours of comfy lounging.

Family room with extra seating

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11. Bring in the Extra Seating

There’s no better use for poufs, benches, and comfy ottomans than in a family room setting. They provide extra seating around the space for entertainment, but they can also conveniently work as footrests and impromptu surfaces.

The best part is that they all make for moveable seating that can be pushed off to the side or pulled in for use in the family room at any time. If you’re pressed for space, you can also try using poufs and benches in place of a coffee table. Versatility is what makes sets these hardworking accent seats apart!

Family room with light curtains for added sunlight

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12. Consider Curtains for Light

How comfortable your family room feels also depends on how much light it gets. The best way to control the light in your space is to hang curtains on all your family room windows.

Try adding layered window treatments, like blinds that filter in some rays when you want a little natural light shining through. Or if you prefer less light because your windows face the sun during the day, blackout curtains will do the trick nicely. Plus, nothing is more frustrating than trying to watch a movie and light from the windows create a glare that makes it impossible to see anything on the screen. Having curtains that are just thick enough to block out a good amount of light will help; and the same heavy curtains will also provide a warmer look in your space at night.

Family room with lots of surface areas

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13. Keep Surfaces Within Reach With Accent Tables

Don’t forget to also bring in small surfaces to go in your seating area. Accent tables, like poufs and ottomans, are workhorses in a family room. They’re perfect surfaces for holding snacks, drinks, remotes, books, and even a vase of flowers. And best of all, they’re highly functional, moveable, and don’t take up a ton of floor space.

While you don’t need half a dozen small tables crowding up your family room, you do want at least two or three mini ones that you can easily pull up next to your sofa or side chairs. Consider small end tables, like C-tables, nesting rounds or a small drinks table, to ensure there are plenty of surfaces where you can set things down.

Family room with closed storage

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14. Make Room for Big Storage

Out of all our practical family room ideas, having a large closed storage piece ranks second only to comfortable seating. Whether it’s a sideboard that doubles as a media stand or a console cabinet that also serves as your home bar, a piece with ample storage will help keep your family room organized and clutter free.

For instance, a cabinet under your TV is the best place to store all your wires and electronics, while also providing room for extra books, throws, candles, and other living room essentials. And in a busy space like the family room, you’ll love having closed storage that keeps all the little things out of sight. If you’re struggling to find the right piece, we’ve rounded up the best home storage to get your started.

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5 Tips for Designing a Kid Friendly Living Room

As a parent, designing a beautiful home can feel like a real struggle. You want a space that is safe and welcoming for kids, but you also don’t want to feel like you live in PeeWee’s Playhouse (no offense to PeeWee). The struggle is especially real for high-traffic rooms, like your living space or family room, which see a lot of daily use by both adults and kids alike.

If you’re looking to design a kid-friendly living room that balances style and function, you’ve come to the right place. We’re big believers in the idea that beautiful design and a home full of children are not mutually exclusive. We’re here to arm you with a few practical and stylish design tips that will help you make your living room the ultimate kid-friendly (and adult approved) hangout space.

Keep scrolling for 5 of our favorite kid-friendly living room design tips!

kids living room design1. Find a Forgiving Rug

First things first: When designing a kid-friendly living room (or any room, for that matter) a forgiving rug is a must.

Keep your family and your home happy by choosing a rug that’s durable, easy to clean, and free of toxic chemicals. Skip silk and synthetic fibers, which stain easily and can be expensive to clean, and opt for a wool or natural fiber rug instead.

We love natural fiber rugs because they come in large sizes at affordable prices, but if you’re not a fan, consider an indoor/outdoor rug instead. Available in a range of colors, patterns, and sizes, these rugs are made to withstand heavy wear. A great option for family homes or households with furry friends too!

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kid friendly living room2. Choose Fabrics That Do More

When it comes to a kid-friendly living room, your sofa, chairs, and pillows will all be subject to climbing, jumping, spills, and even become the canvases for various arts and crafts projects. Give your furniture a leg up on the competition by picking fabric options that balance comfort and practicality.

What to look for:

  • Durable Fabrics: For upholstered furniture (like sofas or chairs) look for fabrics with tight weaves and high rub counts. These are sure signs of durability and mean these pieces can take more wear and tear than your average furniture.
  • Leather: If you’re willing to spend a bit more, leather is a great option because you can easily wipe away spills. No need to worry about scratches, as these marks and scuffs will blend right in as your leather sofa develops a patina over time.
  • Patterns: Pieces with busy patterns or multi-tonal fabrics will also help to disguise blemishes. So, don’t be afraid to choose a chair, rug, or even pillows sporting a bold or graphic print!
  • Slipcovers are another great choice for your family’s home. When spills happen, simply pull off the cover and toss it into the wash.

Fun fact! It’s a common maxim that white sofas are an automatic no-no in homes with young kids. But, after designing many kid-friendly living rooms, we’ve found many parents actually advocate for white sofas. Why? Because unlike any other color, you can bleach a white slipcover and it’ll come out good as new. How’s that for low-maintenance!

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kid-friendly living room3. Cut the Corners

Create an “owie-free” zone by avoiding any furniture or decor with sharp corners and edges.

This is especially important if your kids are just learning to walk. Consider nixing pieces with sharp corners or anything made of glass.

Instead of a coffee table, try swapping in a large ottoman—or even two poufs—to keep your seating area totally void of sharp edges. Some options also offer interior storage and double as a comfy footrest.

If you don’t want to forgo a coffee table completely, consider a round option. This is a great way to eliminate sharp corners and still enjoy the function of a coffee table. If you go this route, opt for wood surfaces, which hold up to scuffs and scratches and are less sharp than glass, metal, or stone tops. Or, get the best of both worlds, and choose a plush ottoman with interior storage (which is great for easily stashing away games and kids’ toys).

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kid storage ideas4. Get Strategic With Your Storage

There’s no denying that kids have a lot of stuff. From toys to art supplies, to books and backpacks, a kid-friendly space should always incorporate plenty of low-maintenance, kid-approved storage.

We say, opt for enclosed or stashable storage which easily conceals clutter and helps keep your space looking neat with minimal effort. AKA you’ll spend less time cleaning/organizing and have more time to play with your family.

A credenza is great for storing toys and small knickknacks and can do double-duty as a TV stand. An ottoman, coffee table, or bench with interior storage is another great option. A few pretty baskets lined up against the wall are also great for stashing toys and clutter in a pinch (and look much cuter than plastic bins).

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Stylist Tip: While open shelving and storage options are lovely, they do require constant upkeep to keep them looking great. If you don’t want to commit to high-maintenance storage a great alternative is to opt for closed storage pieces.

living room design for kids5. Make Room for Play

All practicality aside, spaces designed for kids should feel welcoming for your entire family. Mix in some fun, colorful artwork on your walls to give your space a less serious note that your kids will appreciate.

Consider incorporating a play corner into your living space. This way, adults can supervise from a distance while kids have fun nearby.

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Stylist Tip: Choose a few nice frames and put up artwork by your kids next to your decorative pieces. Sometimes it’s these small personal touches that make gathering spaces feel perfectly relaxed for everyone in the family.

 

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