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Redesigning for your family home for domestic bliss

For many of us there comes a time in our life where we say goodbye to the late nights and takeaways of our bachelor days and say hello to bedtime stories and packed lunches. But how do you design a home that’s ideal for bringing up a brood? Local interior stylists share their advice when redesigning spaces for everyday domestic bliss – because a happy home is a happy life.

The living room

Natalia Contova, of Mizanna Designs, talks us through styling a living room you’ll want to spend quality time in.

To begin, think about how you would like to socialise as a family. Once you work out how you would like to spend time in the room you can plan your furniture accordingly. Is a big sofa important to cosy up on for home movie nights? Or, perhaps you’ll need a big coffee table to play board games on? And maybe you should be investing in a cosy armchair where mum can curl up with her cup of tea after a long day? Asking these questions will help you select items that suit your lifestyle.

Comfort and practicality should be the MO for fabric selection. When choosing your sofa, don’t fall in love with something that looks amazing but will require constant cleaning – especially when you’ve got little children or pets. Instead, opt for fabrics and finishes that are easy to maintain. If your heart is set on a light toned sofa, I suggest choosing one in velvet as it will have a longer life than other fabrics and it’s much easier to clean. If you’re after an everyday boho style, try matching velvet with linens, wood and rattan for a fashionable natural look.

Make it personal to your family. Every family has its own story to tell and memories to showcase, the walls are a good place to do this. You can create a gallery wall featuring your favourite photographs and children’s artwork or, perhaps you’ll want to hang your beloved vinyl collection – whatever sparks a smile is right for you. 

Practicality should be high on your agenda when it comes to choosing furniture. If you have a toddler or are planning to have kids, reduce stress levels by selecting pieces with rounded edges. With older kids or large a family, additional seating such as floor poufs are useful should the size of the room allow it.

Accessories turn a house into a home. A room is not complete without decorative accessories, wall art, soft furnishings and greenery. Adding touches to the space that speak to you is a good way to do this. One of my favourite ways to display the decorations is via an open-shelving unit or bookcase. A very simple set of shelves can easily can turn into a focal point when styled properly. 

The kitchen

The kitchen often becomes the hub of a family home – we spend a lot of time in there, cooking meals and finding snack solutions for our ever-hungry children. Linda Dekkers, interior stylist at Live Loud Girl, tells us how to design a space that allows for after school chats and home cooked meals.

Linda Dekker in her modern family kitchen

Putting your personal style into doesn’t have to be expensive. Changing cabinets can alter the whole look for example. IKEA offers many affordable cabinet options, which I recommended pairing with doors and handles from somewhere like Fronteriors. 

Keep your countertops clutter free. Having enough storage for appliances and utensils is a key element in ensuring your worktops are empty of clutter. Using pots and crates can add to the design of the room while helping with organisation. 

Modern black and white kitchen
A modern kitchen island by TEKA

An island makes for a social feature in the kitchen. A central worktop allows you to prepare a meal without turning your back to anyone. Besides this, it’s a perfect way to get some extra storage and countertop space. For me, having an island makes the kitchen more of a living space, rather than just somewhere to cook – as a family, we start and end our day sat on stools here. 

For a clean and minimal look opt for light colours. Grey and white marble floor is a cool combination for the hot climate. Handless cabinets are a modern choice that make the room look ultra-sleek and organised. 

Having great lighting is important. Installing a variety of lighting options for different situations is a luxury. Use your natural light as much as possible or bright white light for when you’re following a recipe with your kids, while warmer toned lights from pendants are nice for sitting around the island for a casual dinner.

Kitchen organisation

If you’ve got lots of people in and out of the kitchen, clear organisation is key. Celia Vrank, from the Savvy Space , shares her tips for implementing a system that works.

Create 3 primary work zones; for prepping, cooking and cleaning, then store related items within that zone. For example, in the prep space, everything needed to chop or mix should be reachable within a step or two and without disturbing the cook zone. This will keep movement more fluid and it will feel less like a game of bumper cars when preparing meals. 

Stack awkward shaped plates. Kids’ dishes often come in a variety of shapes and sizes that don’t stack or nest well, so storing them on a dish rack in the cupboard will keep them tidy and easy to access.

Use turntables to take advantage of deep cabinets and keep groups of related items easily visible. These are especially great for ensuring small containers don’t get lost in the crowd.

Label, label, label! Nothing is off limits or too obvious when it comes to labelling. Be specific and avoid vague terms such as ‘miscellaneous’ to ensure the whole family can help to keep things in order.

The bedroom

We all remember our childhood bedroom, so designing one that will be looked back on fondly is a nice idea. Kristine Georgakopoulos, interior designer at Eclectic Living, shares her tips on creating a room that balances rest and play.

A colourful bedroom styled by Eclectic Living

Start by ensuring the room has longevity. Do this by investing in a good quality bed that will last and grow with your child. Then choose decorative pieces that are easily installed and replaced when needed – removable wallpaper, mobiles and murals are all good choices. I recommend staying away from themes or characters that will date quickly.

Be playful with colour, pattern and print. Create a youthful feel by going bold on the bedding, window treatments, soft furnishings and rugs. You can also add interesting details with wall murals, wallpaper and artwork.

Use your child’s favourite toys as decorative items. As they are often colourful and reflective of their interests, well-loved toys do well as room-enhancing items. I like to mount child-height wire baskets on the wall, to create more floor space for play time.

Layer the lighting in the room. Use statement ceiling lights to light up the room; softer lighting for bedtime stories; night-lights for comfort; and fairy lights for a magical touch. 

Let the kids have a say. You’ll want to design a space that’s unique to your child, one that reflects their personalities, interests and likes. So, allow them to be creative and to express their own personality by asking them to help you choose the furnishings and colours in their bedroom. 

Invest in good quality storage. Children play with toys for at least a decade, so spending on good quality storage is a good idea. Once they become teenagers the storage can be used to store clothes, books and gadgets.  

Kids desk

With the option for distance learning remaining in the new term, Idil Koseoglu, from GoodMoodDXB, spells out the rules for a study station that’s motivating and fun. 

Make it fun. Just because it’s designed for studying, doesn’t mean the space has to be boring. Creating a study area with bright colors and patterns automatically makes the thought of homework more attractive.

Get a mix of storage solutions. When choosing storage solutions, opt for a combination of open and closed storage. This allows kids easy access to books on their shelves, while the closed drawers keep the room tidy.

Divide the room. If you can, creating a space between the bed and desk is a good way to separate rest from work. If space allows, do this with a room divider, or with the use of different coloured paint.

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