Mamas, I’m so excited about this one! The following article is a guest post from Allison Harlow (Lane’s sister – yay!). Allison is an interior designer and the owner of Curio Design Studio. Curio Design Studio offers interior e-design for mamas on a budget! For $85(!!), Allison will help choose paint color (OMG I needed her help – remember these walls? Nightmare), address space layout, give you some DIY ideas of existing furniture and pull together a shopping list of suggested additional home decor trends. Love this!
For those of you with more serious design needs, Allison also offers a few other affordable packages ($185 – $255). Check out her portfolio here – I’m loving the sophisticated little girl’s room she put together. The chalkboard table is gorgeous.
In addition to Allison’s savvy tips, she’s also offering one reader a Classic design package. For the record, I am jealous. You can find out how to enter at the end of Allison’s article, below.
In order to achieve a modern, polished, yet family friendly interior you should always start by considering the following four design principles:
1. Is it Functional?
It doesn’t matter how gorgeous your living room is if it doesn’t fit the needs of your family. Address function first! For families this means storage, storage, storage!
Shelves as Storage
If you aren’t lucky enough to have existing built-ins, try using pre-made Ikea shelving. Ikea shelves are relatively affordable and easily customizable.
One example of customization is to simply add bold wallpaper to the back of the shelf to create interest (here are my current faves when it comes to wall paper):
Buckets or Bins as Storage
Using buckets or bins to contain toys or other items helps kids learn how to clean up after themselves, while providing some much-needed style. Try some of these:
2. Is it durable?
Materials you put in your home should look great, yes, but also last through the daily wear and tear of family life and most importantly…be easily cleaned!
One product I highly suggest for families with lots of rug-rats are modular carpet tiles. One of my personal favorites, FLOR, comes in a vast array of colors that can coordinate with nearly any scheme. The huge bonus with these is the fact that they are modular, meaning you can create a custom designed rug for a fraction of the price (averaging around $13 per tile depending on design). If (or more like when) something is spilled, or a tile is ruined, you can replace that single tile without replacing the entire rug.
3. Is it affordable?
When it comes to designing a space around a growing family, cost is sure to be a big factor. Your growing family comes along with the growing likelihood that there will be some kind of bodily fluid spilled…somewhere…nearly every day. Probably not the best time to invest in a $10,000 sofa.
Instead, try investing your cash in items that make replacement easy. When selecting a sofa, for example, choose one that comes with washable & replaceable cushion covers like the Willow Sofa from Crate and Barrel.
If you can’t resist being drawn to the most expensive thing in the store — and I totally have this problem — then make it something small and impactful, and something that can be placed out of reach from the kiddies. I’m loving this collection of vases by Rosenthal called “Fast”.
4. Is it safe?
We spend a lot of time in our homes, so you want to make sure it is the safest and healthiest environment possible. Furniture and materials that we bring into our space have the potential to release harmful off-gasses that remain from the manufacturing process. Try to select materials that advertise low or no VOC’s to help keep your home air quality in premium condition. FLOR carpet tiles, for example, are spectacular in this regard. Besides the fact that they are outright amazing from a design-perspective, they are also made from recycled natural materials, and have some of the lowest VOC emissions in the residential industry.
Paint also has the potential to release a lot of VOC’s into our interior environment. Select products such as Benjamin Moore’s Natura Line, which provides a durable and washable finish with ZERO VOC’s emissions!
Some of my current color favorites from Benjamin Moore are below. For examples of how to use these bold colors in interior spaces, see my blog article, For the Love of Color!
These four design considerations create a basic guide for any family space you are designing, while leaving the look wide open to express the personality and style of your family.
To enter to win a customized Classic design package from Curio Design Studio…like the Curio Desgin Studio Facebook page, then leave a comment on the Ain’t No Mom Jeans facebook page telling us how you’d use this fabulous package!!
Thanks, Allison!! So excited to see what you and one of our lucky readers come up with!
Allison Harlow is an Interior Designer and Owner of Curio Design Studio. She has experience with high-end residential and commercial design, as well as custom furniture design. She currently lives overseas and focuses on providing organized, professional online design services to clients on a global scale. Follow Curio Design Studio on their Facebook page or blog.