A house really isn’t a home unless it’s a welcoming space for children and grandchildren.
But can you create (and maintain) crisp, clean interiors while keeping the needs of kids in mind?
By its very nature, coastal-inspired design evokes feelings of relaxation and connection, comfort and convenience — weekends at the beach, reunions at the shore, an easy, breezy lifestyle regardless of the street address.
From its preferred hardwood or tile floors to its unfussy window treatments, coastal style is well-suited to the youngest members of your family tribe. For proof, check out the glorious “Living with Kids” posts on DesignMom.com, where many of the featured, family-friendly homes are located on or near the water.
Want to make your beach-chic retreat more inviting to children? Dip a toe into these tips:
Coastal-style floor coverings for busy families: Think cleanable
Natural-fiber rugs like those woven of jute, sisal and hemp are a natural fit under feet, whether they’re sandy or not, but cleaning sisal of spills can be a nightmare.
For those areas of your home that are either high-traffic or near a highchair, indoor/outdoor area rugs offer a fashionable, functional solution. They add warmth and texture to a room, as well as a softer spot for kids to play (and land).
Sturdy enough for patios and verandas but pretty enough for dens and casual dining rooms, Dash & Albert indoor/outdoor rugs are a Pineapple Girl favorite. Available in African-inspired geometric, vintage tile and classic stripe patterns, these lightweight, reversible, indoor/outdoor rugs can be vacuumed, lightly brushed with water or even sprayed clean with a hose.
Kid-friendly coastal furniture? Invest in quality
It may seem counterintuitive, but until your kids grow out of their “the floor is hot lava” phase, investing in high-quality furniture will save money in the long run. Unlike cheap pieces, heavy, solid furnishings will stand up to years of abuse. As a safety measure, opt for furniture with soft, rounded corners when possible.
Another family-friendly furniture solution is woven strongly into the coastal chic aesthetic — slipcovers, a look that derived from the tradition of draping sheets over beach-cottage furniture at summer’s end.
Thanks to slipcovers, your family can enjoy a stunning white sectional – just machine-wash fabric as necessary, and replace when you’re ready for a change.
Make space for kids’ activities in your coastal home
Kids need dedicated spaces to do kid things – from homework to art work, from board games to video games:
- Set up a study station in the kitchen so kids can tackle schoolwork where Mom and Dad are close at hand. Keep the area neat with clear glass jars to hold pens and pencils, scissors and rulers.
- Create a kid-friendly mudroom near the back door by positioning a bench, baskets and hooks there. Kids will have a place to prepare for whatever activity they’re engaged in – ice hockey, beach volleyball, snowboarding or soccer.
- Anchor your family room with a large, low coffee table made of reclaimed pine. Kids can gather their friends around the table for coloring and crafts, and the whole family can convene there on game night.
Got kids? You need smart storage solutions
One of the signatures of coastal design is, of course, a clean, uncluttered look.
Savvy storage is a must, but built-in bookcases, window-seat storage benches and shelves lined with plastic bins are only the beginning.
Wicker and Nantucket-style baskets, stiff canvas hampers and rustic crates tucked around the house serve as catchalls for toys that are handy, portable and nautical in nature.
Beach chic décor is naturally kid-friendly
So many of the finishing touches you typically find in an ocean lover’s home are hardy enough to withstand occasional handling by kids:
- Dramatic pieces of driftwood
- Gorgeous, oversized conch shells
- Coral sculptures and centerpieces
- Exotic sea fans
- Purple barnacle clusters
Those found (or purchased!) objects not only serve as eye-catching seaside accents, but they also bring the outdoors in and can serve as a teaching tool.
For more delicate pieces, like Jamie Dietrich’s dazzling, one-of-a-kind bottles and vintage floats, simply follow the 45-inch rule: display the item at least 45 inches off the floor, to keep it beyond the reach of little hands.
Looking for more coastal style inspiration?
This “Coastal Living” video features several kid-approved bedroom ideas to steal: