Searches for open-plan living ideas are on the up as more and more of us knock down walls and embrace open-plan living in our homes.
As a result, many modern homes don’t have a separate dining room, and if there is one, it’s more likely to be used as a home office than a dedicated room for eating or dinner parties.
But while open-plan living is great if you like extra space and greater flexibility, it’s not always ideal for parents with young children.
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For example, you can’t shove all the mess into the dining room when guests turn up unexpectedly, and with open-plan living you can’t simply shut the door on a messy room either.
So, if your new home has an open-plan living/dining room, or you’re thinking of creating an open-plan living space, here are some simple ways to make it child-friendly.
5 child-friendly open-plan living ideas
1. Think about the flooring
Carpet is not your best friend when you have kids. Carpet looks amazing when newly fitted and feels warm underfoot, but it’s a magnet for spilled drinks and dropped food. No matter how often you clean it, a lovely beige carpet will never look the same once a toddler has had a nappy explosion or thrown blackcurrant juice everywhere in the middle of a tantrum.
Instead, go for laminate or engineered wood flooring. This type of flooring is much easier to clean. Wipe down problem areas with a damp cloth or give the whole lot a spruce up with a steam mop. Cover select areas with rugs, preferably with ones that can be machine washed.
2. Consider the dining area
Even without a separate dining room, you’ll still need a table for family meals, arts and crafts, and homework.
Don’t be too precious when shopping for a dining table and chairs. Avoid spending a fortune on a gorgeous oak table because it will inevitably be drawn on at some point. Instead, buy an inexpensive pine table and add some quirky dining chairs. Steer clear of upholstered chairs, for the same reasons it’s best to steer clear of carpets. Plastic dining chairs come in bright colours and are easy to clean.
3. Be clever with storage
Storage is essential to open-plan living. This is where you can store toys, games, puzzles, and anything else you want to clear away at least some of the time. If you have alcoves around a chimney breast, consider having some built-in storage constructed. Shelves above cupboards are very useful. If not, invest in useful furniture like sideboards and cube shelving with storage boxes.
4. Sofas & chairs
Look for pieces with washable covers or go for leather, as it is easy to clean. Beware of choosing pale leather because it won’t look so great once your toddler attacks it with a biro or permanent marker pen. Give your kids their own seating, such as a large beanbag, where they can relax with a book, tablet, or hand-held gaming console.
5. Create a kids’ corner
Create a corner or zone just for the kids, so they have somewhere for their toys and books. If you hate the mess, screen it off with a shelving unit or a large plant. Easy peasy!
This is a collaborative post.