My thoughts on... 5 Easy ways to create a stylish family living space

When it comes to styling a family home, marrying how you’d like it to look with the everyday reality of modern family life can feel like a huge challenge (the mess, the clutter, the chaos!). I bet we've all thought: how do those people on Instagram have such beautifully styled homes AND children?

When putting together our family-friendly living room I wanted to balance the very practical need to provide a safe and fun space for kids to play; and be creative, with the desire to make something comfortable, stylish and appealing to grown-ups. In fact it was that very challenge that inspired me to create Lolly & Kin – providing stylish and practical interiors that take the stress out of mess.With many of us now favouring a more open-plan style of living, “blended living” areas become a focal point in the home for everyone to use and enjoy, in many different ways. So I thought I’d share some ideas I’ve found helpful to help make shared living spaces work for everyone, proving that with a bit of thought, beautiful design and a house full of children need not be mutually exclusive!

1. Stow Away

Let’s be honest, with kids comes stuff, and lots of it. Practical storage solutions that are easily accessible are therefore essential within family living areas, helping conceal the inevitable clutter (and more garish toys) and allowing children to play freely while you get on with things.

Freestanding units or bookcases filled with low cube storage are great to keep things looking neat while combining open and closed shelving allows you to display more decorative toys. Seagrass belly baskets grouped together and tucked next to sofas not only look super stylish, they allow even very little ones to dig out their favourite play things independently and hopefully amuse themselves long enough for you to boil the kettle.

Tip: Make it a habit to involve children in tidying up at the end of each day from an early age (we have a tidy up playlist of their favourite tunes that makes tidying up feel like more of a game than a chore).

I love: For a great selection of stylish storage solutions try Etsy or Oli Ella. Or add a personal touch with an embroidered basket from Edit 58.


2. Create Zones

If you’re lucky enough to have the space, play with the layout of your furniture to create designated zones within family living areas, providing different spaces to play, relax or entertain. Larger pieces such as low level shelving units or sofas can be used to break up large open plan rooms without sacrificing that wonderful sense of space and flow.

We love: Ikea's affordable cube storage systems are flexible and hard-wearing, and you can change the formation over time to adapt to your needs.

3. Balance Practical and Stylish

When crafting a space that needs to be both kid-proof and feel suitably grown-up, I prefer to stick to a neutral colour palette of whites, greys and blacks that can work long term as your needs for the space change, using accessories to add any brighter pops of colour or make a nod to current trends. Consider choosing hard-wearing, wipeable fabrics and wall paint and loose-covered sofas with removable and washable covers that can stand up to the daily wear and tear and inevitable spills and smudges.

Tip: As you can imagine(!) I recommend our luxury eco vegan leather mats which are hard-wearing, wipeable and completely child-proof. They will be available in three sizes and a range of on-trend, neutral colours to work beautifully with the rest of your home. Designed for portable play indoors and out, they’ve got a hundred and one uses, without the worry of sticky fingers.


4. Gallery Wall

A gallery wall is an easy and stylish way to personalise your living space and bring in elements that appeal to everyone in the family. Group framed prints, family photographs, postcards or mementos alongside your children’s artwork - anything goes. For a more minimalist look try grouping pieces together by a common colour thread, or mix up styles and sizes of frames for a more eclectic feel. Best of all, your gallery wall can change and grow as your tastes do, pieces can just be swapped or moved about whenever you fancy a switch up – I’m always moving art around the house.Tip: Plan out the pattern on the floor and take a picture of it for reference before you begin banging in nails. Removable Command Hanging strips are also good, especially if you’re in a rented home.

I love: There are so many fab independent brands creating stunning prints and wall art that sit beautifully in a blended family space, including Wonder & RahKid of the Village and Lala Loves Decor. Or Gallery Piccolo for a beautifully curated selection of art designed to inspire young minds. I also love the idea of hanging clipboards instead of frames as it make's it so easy to swap prints and photos around.

5. Go High

If in doubt, go vertical, especially if floor space is at a premium. I found the hard way that children can be surprisingly adept at getting to things you thought were safely out of reach. But rather than banishing them from certain areas of a room or feeling scared to turn your back, display precious items on floating shelves, well out of harm’s way. I also love the current trend of indoor hanging or wall-mounted planters for a stylish, contemporary way to bring the outside in and add interest and colour (as well as lots of health benefits!) to your home without the risk of soil spills.

I love: Ferm Living, Urban Outfitters, or lovely small independent brand Fringe & Fray