If you think that just because you have children and pets that you cannot decorate your kitchen and dining area then think again! New materials and furniture make elegant kitchen living possible and practical.
Yes, choosing the right material can make all the difference when furnishing a kitchen or family dining area.
Have you always loved leather? Well it's not only great for minor spills that are quickly wiped off, it also wears well, even gaining a beautiful patina with time and use. Leather does not collect pet hair as a cloth couch or chair would, and crumbs and dirt will wipe off easily.
Perhaps you prefer fabric upholstery on your dining chairs? Think of luxurious Ultrasuede. Sophisticated enough for even the most formal rooms, it's looks belie the easy care of the material. You won't deal with fading or staining the way you are accustomed to with cotton, and many stains will come off quite easily with a damp cloth.
Do you have real ruffians running around? You can always count on slipcovers if you need to. Many decorators have used white or cream slipcovers to good effect, although you may consider a stripe or other pattern to disguise everyday wear. And because you can clean them thoroughly by removing them you do not have to be too concerned about occasional messes. Slipcovers also work well on fancy dining room chairs and can be removed for adult-only dinner parties. On the other hand, try to stay away from delicate materials like silks or velvets which stain easily and are difficult to clean.
Kid Proof Furniture
If you have small children you may also consider choosing soft furnishings, like ottomans, to replace hazards such as hard edged tables.
Area rugs can be great for keeping light colored carpets in good shape, but be certain they rest flat so children are not prone to trip over them. Selecting heavy rugs or using a special padding underneath to reduce movement would be especially recommended when using rugs on hard, slippery surfaces.
When choosing wood furnishings, light or dark, be sure it has a protective clear coat so that marks and spills do not ruin the finish.
A Space For Kids
Would your children really mind an ‘adult’ space in the kitchen? If you make most of the home child-friendly, then it is not outside of reason to create one area specifically for adult entertaining or relaxing. Giving children a small area within the adult room where they can read books or sit at a small table for quiet games will teach them to respect and take care of nice things. This, along with making reasonable choices for the rest of the home, allows all in the family to enjoy their surroundings and each other.
Lee Dobbins writes for A Kitchen Decorating Idea Guide where you can find hundreds of articles on kitchen decorating .