As a working mother of two active kids, I can attest to the fact that for most busy moms, the kitchen is control central. It's also a place where simplicity is key -- whether you're sterilizing bottles, assembling school lunches or preparing seemingly endless family meals. For me, the benefits of having children far outweigh the daily duties involved, but we can all do with a little help. Why not start by designing a family-friendly kitchen that's highly functional, low maintenance, stylish and hard working -- words that bring joy to the hearts of mothers everywhere.
DO repeat after me: “The higher the sheen, the easier it cleans.” When painting walls and cabinets in a family home, keep that little ditty in mind. Eggshell might be perfectly fine for civilized living and dining rooms, but kitchens, playrooms and family rooms benefit from a satin, pearl or semigloss finish.
DON'T buy busy upholstery fabrics with the purpose of hiding stains and dirt. Instead, look for washable fabrics at discount prices and be prepared to replace them in five years.
DO use slipcovers. Machine-washable materials such as cotton are ideal (if the fabric isn't preshrunk, make sure to prewash it twice before sewing). Toss slipcovers into the washer and dryer as often as necessary and refit on furniture while still slightly damp.
DO remember children thrive in bright, fresh, sunny environments – vibrant paint and fabric colours can help you achieve the look. Search for other ways to maximize light, such as adding lustre with shiny materials like brass, silver, copper and mirror.
DON'T underestimate the durability of hardwood flooring. Varnished hardwoods like maple can take anything your active youngster can deliver. Linoleum is another option, and sealed cork, popular in Europe, is becoming widely available in Canada, too.
DON'T allow perfectionism to get in the way of enjoying this precious (and brief) period of your life. A little chaos in the home is the sign of a happy family in action.
Kimberley Seldon is STYLE AT HOME's decorating editor. For more great decor and design ideas, visit kimberleyseldon.com.
Photography by Virginia MacDonald