How 7 Moms Made Their Homes Kid-Friendly

Spoiler alert: There are no right or wrong design philosophies.

This story was originally published on Domino.com

Making your home fit with your lifestyle and into your aesthetic is hard enough without adding children into the equation… Which is why we're always so impressed with the family-friendly homes domino features—white sofas and all. As it turns out, various designers and parents have different philosophies on how exactly to make a home well-designed while still being suitable for young children. Keep reading to learn how seven mothers make kid-friendly spaces for themselves as well as their clients.

Maya Nairn: Founder Of De Buci Baby

photography by MIA BAXTER
photography by MIA BAXTER

Where do you start when designing a space you know children will spend a lot of time in? 

Safety is definitely where I begin. I want to be able to sit in a room with my children and know that they are safe without having to keep an eye on every single thing that they are doing. I do the typical childproofing with baby gates on stairs, plugs in electrical sockets and internal cabinet locks on cabinets that might have cleaning products or breakables inside. Being realistic is next. Kids will spill things and mark things so I'm very thoughtful with the colors and textures of fabrics that I use. One of our sofas is navy velvet. The dark color and the texture of this velvet have been great in hiding little mishaps. Our other sofa and chair have removable covers and have been washed on many occasions.

How do you make a space kid-friendly? From the furniture to decor, etc. What do you splurge/save on, tricks or alternatives you've found work?

Two of my favorite things that we have done is no coffee table and low furniture. It has created this really lovely space that is so comfortable for everyone. You can sit on the sofa, or sit on the floor with your back against the sofa. You can play with the kids on the floor or comfortably do your own thing while they are playing right there. They can climb on the furniture and when they inevitably take a tumble they don't have very far to fall. We also have a deceptive number of toys, books and dress up clothes hidden away in cupboards and baskets. Everything is easily accessible to the children and out of sight when they are asleep.

photography by MIA BAXTER
photography by MIA BAXTER

How does designing a "kid-friendly" space impact or change your design process? 

I'm a minimalist and I think there is an innate child friendliness in minimalism because there isn't much around for them to get into. We probably have fewer low lying vases of flowers and objects than we might otherwise have but I don't feel we have had to compromise anything aesthetically because of our children.

What does the descriptor "kid-friendly" actually mean to you? 


A room that is safe and fun for a child to be in. A room where they can spill a drink or get chocolate on something and it isn't the end of the world. A room where they aren't constantly being told not to touch things.

I feel like there's kind of a common belief that you can't have a truly stunning space that also works for kids. How do you find a balance between making a beautifully designed home that also works for young, potentially messy children? 


It's all about perspective. There is definitely a belief that things needs to be dumbed down for children, be it interiors, clothing, or food. You can get a stain out of a pretty cotton dress or button down shirt as easily as you can a cotton t-shirt. The same principle rings true in interiors, beautiful can be practical too. I do think it's important to hold your children to certain standards in your home. We have rules like only eating in the kitchen, no jumping on the sofas, it's ok to make a big mess as long as you clean it up when you've finished playing. It's a work in progress along with every other aspect of parenting, but I try to teach them to be respectful of their environments. 

Robin Wilson: CEO Of Robin Wilson Home

photography by ROBIN WILSON
photography by ROBIN WILSON

Where do you start when designing a space you know children will spend a lot of time in? 

The first thing I ask a client who wants a child-friendly space is the age, energy level, allergies and if there are any disabilities to ensure that the space is appropriate for their children and their friends.

How does designing a "kid-friendly" space impact or change your design process? 

As any parent knows, the most important thing about a kid-friendly space is using our Clean Design protocol to ensure that it is non-toxic from the foundation to the furnishings. We select floor coverings that are washable like FLOR carpet tiles, suggest rubber (not vinyl!) playmats, and materials that are both durable and easily cleaned. For safety, corners are often rounded and lighting is also important, as well as anchoring shelving to the wall to prevent tipping, and we only use no-VOC wall paint to ensure no off-gassing.

What does the descriptor "kid-friendly" actually mean to you? 


A room that is safe and fun for a child to be in. A room where they can spill a drink or get chocolate on something and it isn't the end of the world. A room where they aren't constantly being told not to touch things.

How do you make a space kid-friendly? From the furniture to decor, etc. What do you splurge/save on, tricks or alternatives you've found work?


My book, Clean Design, has an entire chapter devoted to nurseries/play spaces and all the non-toxic things a person can do to design on a budget or to splurge. One of the biggest trends in kid-friendly spaces is to have a single wall with a whiteboard or chalkboard (use only dustless chalk!)‎ wall. And we always mix high-low. For example, the crib/bed might be from a high end store and the child friendly plastic chair and the drawing table might be from IKEA, which is easy to clean.

I feel like there's kind of a common belief that you can't have a truly stunning space that also works for kids. How do you find a balance between making a beautifully designed home that also works for young, potentially messy children? 


My belief is that color, pattern and texture are the most important things for a child's space. Whether a colorful tent, colorful floor tiles and solid white or primary colors, the space should have a theme that allows them to know it is "theirs" and also have the potential for them to age in the space without too many alterations outside of paint and decorative items. One of the best things is purchasing a bed that can "grow" with the child, yet be in a classic style that will complement them at their current age.

To hear four other moms talk about how they've designed their homes to be both stylish and kid-friendly, visit Domino. com.