Living with Kids? Also Love Beautiful Interior Design?

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The ultimate goal for this Mom? I want my home to feel like an oasis, a place of thoughtful interior design, organization, and beauty. Basically, I want it to look like something out of a magazine all the time (oh, HGTV magazine and your gorgeous full-page spreads!). Okay, maybe not ALL the time because who has the energy for that? But I’d settle for 50% of the time (or at least 25%… okay, let’s be honest, it’s an uphill battle and I’d literally take any percentage of time!).

The tricky part? I also have an energetic 4-year-old son and a beloved family pet. And did I mention we live in an apartment? There is a lot of space sharing in our home and frequently, life gets messy (think LEGOs, crumbs, and cat hair everywhere messy). And that’s okay too. Life wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without the messy moments. But it also doesn’t mean that I’m okay with giving up on trying to create a sophisticated look that at the very least says,

“Why, yes, adults do live here as well.” 

Want a Pulled Together Look? Focus on These Details:

As a professional art consultant, I’ve learned that it’s the finishing touches in interior design that people notice first. So when doing a little room refreshing in our apartment, these are the areas that I tend to focus on the most. The good news? The finishing touches are the easiest (and usually the most fun!) to address. They are the details in a room. Finishing touches are not about spending A TON on new decor items. Instead, they are about focusing largely on what you already own and displaying those pieces to perfection.

1. Artwork

Is your artwork the right size for the space? How is the placement? Too high or too low? Can you see any of the hanging hardware? Is it time to update the framing to better reflect your evolving home style? In my blog post, Need an Easy Room Refresh? Start With Your Walls, I noted, “By rearranging pieces or adding new work to walls, you give a room a whole new point of view and new energy. Even something as small as changing up outdated framing can have a huge impact. It’s those tiny details that add up and make a room’s interior design feel purposeful and put together.”

The modern interior design of this room showcases a gallery wall with several framed art pieces of varying sizes and a teardrop shaped mirror.

2. Accessories

Which accessories (e.g. framed photographs, trays, bowls, coffee table books, candles, flowers, etc.) do you have on display? Are these pieces thoughtfully placed (or are they moved about without much rhyme or reason)? Are any of these pieces seasonal items that should be temporarily stored? Are toys picked up and put away at the end of each day? In our apartment, I stash my kiddo’s toys in all sorts of places: drawers, cabinets, beautiful woven baskets, sleek trays, and contemporary bins (even behind our curtains!). DC Area Moms Blog contributor, Julia Northrop, tames the clutter in her multilevel home with smartly positioned stair baskets.  The bottom line: a smaller number of carefully curated accessories will make your interior design shine (especially when they don’t have to compete visually with a mountain of toys).

Behind a shelf of potted succulents and sculptural objects, two large framed canvases hang side by side and depict oversized, tropical foliage.

3. Textiles 

Do any fabrics look tired, worn, or discolored? Can these pieces be flipped over, retired, or rotated to a less noticeable area? I’m thinking specifically about couch cushions, pillows, and area rugs. In my own home, I love rotating the throw pillows on my couch. This is the easiest way to give a room a new and refreshed feel without breaking the budget. Also, when artfully placed, blankets and throws are perfect for hiding marks on fabric that can’t be spot treated or otherwise hidden. Because let’s be honest… even though I want my home to look like a magazine, we also have to be comfortable and at ease living here. For this reason, a beautiful, machine-washable, and well-placed textile is the best friend of any home with small children. 

The interior design of this bright and cheerful family room showcases a colorful gallery wall behind the cream colored couch.

4. Wall Treatments

Are your walls neatly appointed? Are the paint lines crisp and clean? Is the paint coverage even throughout the room? Have scuff marks been cleaned off or touched up? Are the curtains hanging at an appropriate height (so that they neatly skim the floor or elegantly pool a few inches on the ground)? Wall treatments are the foundation for your room. They are the backdrop against which every other interior design decision will be showcased. Small changes here will have a dramatic impact on the overall look of your room. 

The interior design of this gorgeous light-filled lounge area showcases a row of large windows and a framed art print of a black and white terrier dog.

 

The best way to impart the important life skill of creating and caring for a nice home? Teach by example by thoughtfully caring for the belongings within your own home. 

What are your tips and tricks for creating a gorgeous space that the whole family can enjoy? I’d love to know!

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Lauren was raised in Potomac, Maryland. She attended Georgetown University and then the Sotheby’s Institute of Art in NYC where she graduated Valedictorian and received her Masters in Contemporary Art History. After living in Florida while her husband was on active duty in the United States Navy, her family moved back to Maryland to be closer to relatives and the DC area that she loves. In addition to being a stay-at-home mom to their energetic young son, Lauren founded an art advisory business, Lauren Heller Art Consultant, to help others feel confident when selecting art for their home or office. Follow her on IG @laurenhellerartconsultant

4 COMMENTS

  1. Lauren, this a a beautifully written piece! You can help those of us who have no artistic ideas/talent, as well as work with people who have lovely furniture and amazing pieces, but don’t know how to put it all together. Thank you!

    • Thank you! I love finding easy and effective design solutions for clients! This post is such a wonderful reminder that small changes can add up for a dramatic impact on the overall look of a room!

    • Thank you! I am so glad you enjoyed them! Creating spaces that the whole family can enjoy is so important, especially for those of us living in smaller homes and apartments (like me!).

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