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Keeping kids in the mix when decorating a home

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Posted: Monday, June 28, 2010 12:00 am

Decorating a home is often contingent on the homeowners' personal tastes. For parents decorating a child's room, however, that personal taste often takes a backseat to functionality, safety and, of course, the ever-changing likes and dislikes of the child.

To many parents, involving children in the decorating process is an enjoyable experience, as Mom and Dad get to see what their son and daughter cares most about while spending quality time with their kids along the way. Whether a child is already in the home or there's one on the way, consider the following tips when decorating a home where children will roam.

  • Differentiate between certain areas of the home. When decorating a home, parents shouldn't fret that the entire home now needs to be kid-friendly. While the entire house should be safe for kids, certain areas can be designated adults only, such as home offices or home gyms.

Such adults-only areas should be closed off, ideally with a door that can be locked. If a door cannot be installed, use a gate high enough to keep kids from getting into the room.

  • Involve the kids. While you likely won't seek the advice of kids when decorating a sitting room or dining room, if you're decorating kids' bedrooms seek their input. A child's bedroom shouldn't be about Mom and Dad's tastes, but rather a reflection of the child's. Not all suggestions will become reality, but kids will be happier with a room that reflects their interests.
  • Keep certain items within a child's reach, and certain items beyond their grasp. Another element to safely decorating a home involves what a child should and should not have access to, and decorating accordingly.

Be sure that items children are allowed access to are within their reach. Otherwise, resilient kids will seek ways to find their favorite cereal bowls or the remote control, and that could lead to an accident. Nothing a child is allowed access to should be stored in a place they need to climb to. Make sure kids can reach these items from the floor.

On the other hand, certain items should always be kept out of the reach of children. This includes cleaning products, plants or flowers (which can be fun for kids to toss around), sharp cutlery, and any other items that can harm kids or encourage them to make a mess around the house. When decorating the kitchen, keep in mind what kids can and can't access and design the kitchen accordingly.

  • Choose furniture that can be washed. While leather chairs and sofas might have been ideal for the single life, such furniture is not best for homes with children. Choose furniture fabrics that are easy to wash, and consider covering all furniture with removable slipcovers.

Another thing to look for when decorating a home with children is furniture that boasts patterns that can hide the inevitable stains that come with kids. Floral or plaid patterns can do wonders with respect to hiding spilled glasses of juice or the occasional dropped snack.

Also, parents of infant children should avoid furniture with sharp edges. Once a tyke begins to crawl or walk, such furniture can become a significant safety issue.

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