Image source: http://www.increation.co.uk

Sometimes when you flick though slick interiors magazines it’s hard to imagine some of the rooms after five minutes with your little tribe. But with careful thought it is possible to combine a stylish home and a fun family life.

The first thing you need to consider is whether your space is to be shared with the children or dedicated to them. Bedrooms are clearly dedicated spaces, whereas living areas may be combined. If you have enough reception rooms it may be possible to have a family or kids room separate to an entertaining place strictly for adults only.

Vincent from London interior designer Increation says he has clients from both camps; “some are happy to have spaces dedicated for the children in their lives and like to keep them separate from the ‘good living room’ and the ‘nice furniture’, whereas others like to have the whole family involved in every room.”

Dedicated space

A dedicated space for kids can be great fun to design and live with. Bold bright colours teamed with clever materials and storage make it easy for the kids to please themselves, but still have a cool room to share with friends and family.

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Bedrooms can be really fun to design for kids, as unlike adult bedrooms they are so much more than a place to rest. In smaller kids’ rooms the range of beds that share the floor space with seating, study room or clothes storage is  now huge, and the climb up to the high bed makes bedtime into an adventure they are keen to take part in. Such a piece of furniture leaves more floor space for play or seating depending on the child’s age and there is a huge market in play mats and seating to suit a vast range of themes.

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Dedicating a downstairs room for little ones is also great fun. Clever hideaway bespoke storage can be installed in simple white to last through the different ages and phases they will pass through without major redesign every few years. Deep sliding drawers that hold Lego today can be the computer game storage of tomorrow.

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Bean bags and soft furnishings can be scattered around large storage boxes for toys which can be converted to a coffee and chat area for pre teen girls later on, by replacing or updating fabrics used. Carefully designed book cases will grow with the children too, as their reading habits change and cool shelves with lots of different spaces and levels can be used to display any number of other things if they don’t turn out to be big readers.

Shared spaces

If you need or want to have a room for shared family use, you don’t have to miss out on the fun. You can decide to embrace the child friendly look and centre your design around it, or use clever materials and furniture to minimize the children’s effect on a room.

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For example, to embrace the look you could choose some of this season’s bright limes, yellows and blues with easily washable fabrics and throws to build up a great colour palette that will mean toys and books that are left lying around don’t look too out of place. You can choose some classic artwork either direct from children’s literature – think Quentin Blake or Oliver Jeffers -to tone with the colours and bring a sense of mischief to the room. For older kids, bolder colours and some comic strip or pop art like Roy Lichtenstien could team with smooth white walls and large windows for a studio look to wow visitors of all ages.

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Again, clever storage is a must. A smooth wall of fitted units can hide a multitude of sins and there are many tables, stools and chairs on the market, which hide away more goodies! Make sure too that all flooring and furniture can survive hard knocks unless you are going for the rustic or distressed look, which could fit nicely with the latest trends for natural materials.