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By Lisa Schryver, Brand Publishing Writer
The best part about having grandchildren is spoiling them rotten
when they come to visit — and then sending them home to their
parents when it’s time to leave.
But while the grandkids are in your home, they need to have a space
of their own. Janet Graham, an interior designer with Baer’s Furniture,
a 15-store fine furniture chain serving Florida since 1945, says
it’s important to balance your home’s design with the needs of your
“A lot of times, homeowners will jeopardize the overall design look of
the house because they are too focused on the kids,” explains Graham,
who’s associated with the Baer’s in Naples. “For example, they’ll say,
‘OK, because I’ve got grandkids coming, I’m going to furnish my entire
house in leather.’”
While leather is durable and easy to clean, it’s not the only kid-friendly
fabric out there. Graham suggests using fabrics that are 100 percent
polyester, acrylic-polyester blends or nylon to make easy work of dealing
with spills and other mishaps.
“There’re so many durable fabrics out there today that you can soften
up the look and get a beautiful design and still have strong fabrics,”
she says. “Your higher-end polyesters are going to be a thicker material,
so rips and tears are not going to happen as they would with other
Graham warns homeowners to avoid using silk or cotton fabrics. Although
cotton can be laundered, it isn’t as durable as polyester blends.
If you’re going to use cotton in your grandkids’ space, be sure it’s
something that can easily be thrown into the washer, such as a throw
blanket or small pillow.
How far you decide to take the design also depends on whether your
home is a year-round or vacation residence. Homeowners can take
more liberties if the space is part of their full-time home; those seeking
to create a kid-friendly design in a vacation home may want to hold
For vacation homes, Graham recommends using kid-centric coverlets,
rugs and throw pillows to add pops of color, but avoid painting the
walls. Next, furnish the room in a way that will give your grandkids an
area for play or stretching out, but can easily be returned to normal
when the kids leave.
For example, a spare bedroom with twin beds can be a perfect retreat
for a golfing buddy, but easily doubles as a bedroom and play room
for visiting grandchildren. The twin beds can be pushed against the
wall, creating an open play area when needed. Small beanbag chairs or
floor poufs are great seating for kids and can be tossed into a closet or
stacked in a corner when no longer needed.
Furniture makers are creating more pieces with kids in mind. Look
for furniture that serves dual purposes, like a chest of drawers that converts
to a desk. For younger kids, consider using chalkboard paint on
the inside of the doors of an armoire for an easy-to-hide chalkboard.
Use decorative bins and baskets to store toys.
“Beds with drawers underneath are quite popular and are great if kids
have extra toys,” Graham adds. “With kids, you can never have enough
storage, and furniture companies are responding to this market need.”
Finding the right balance is key in furnishing a room that appeals
to your grandkids while maintaining a look you can live with when
they’re not around. Choosing quality, multipurpose pieces of furniture
and the appropriate fabrics can give your grandchildren a place they
can call home without disturbing the overall look of the space.
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