How to decorate a stylish home with kids while sticking to budget
Home decorating when you have kids may seem like an exercise in futility, yet design experts say it’s well within reach for families to stylishly furnish a house and still remain within budget.
The arrival of a child can spark a desire to redecorate as many parents buy new furniture to accommodate their growing family. And as kids get older, parents may find their family’s needs require updating a home with storage for sports equipment or tailoring a room to a teen’s maturing taste.
“Your style changes a little bit when you have kids,” says Emily Clark, 42, a stay-at-home mother of five who blogs about decorating from Charlotte, North Carolina. “It doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful,” she adds. “I work at home. This is my environment 99% of the time when I’m not in the car. I want it to be a happy place when I’m here.”
While there’s no hard-and-fast rule about how much to budget for home decorating, Clark and other experts note that you don’t have to spend a fortune.
Creative hacks like repainting a room or buying new pillows for a sofa or bed can help spruce up a room without high costs.
To be sure, families with big budgets can find ways to spend tens of thousands of dollars on decorating, from custom built-ins to expensive furniture. Yet it’s possible to create a stylish home without draining your bank account.
Below are three tips from design experts about how to decorate a home with kids while sticking to a budget.
Hire a decorator – or not
Hiring a decorator doesn’t have to be expensive. For instance, you can hire one for an hour-long basic consultation, which could cost $50 to $150 an hour or more, depending on the decorator’s fee. And some furniture stores provide decorating advice to customers.
Still, says Kerrie Kelly, a design expert with Zillow and the founder of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab, “It’s a bit of the Wild West right now” in terms of what decorators charge. Some stick with a per-hour fee, while others charge by the project, she says.
An increasingly popular option is to hire an online decorating service, says Clark. Sites such as Havenly and Decorist offer these services, which can cost between $19 to $1300 or more, depending on the level of advice.
“You can send pictures of your space, and they give you a list of things to buy or an inspiration board,” she says. “It’s good for a budget.”
But consumers can also take a DIY approach to design. Look through Pinterest or Instagram to find images of styles that appeal to you, Clark recommends.
“There are ideas galore all over,” she adds. “Pin 25 living rooms you love. Go back and look – they probably have a common theme.”
Consider furniture that can be repurposed
From the get-go, parents are likely to search for new furniture to accommodate their growing family, such as changing tables and storage for toys. But before you buy an item, consider how it might be repurposed as children get older.
Anytime you can look ahead and incorporate pieces that can transition and grow with your kid is a good idea.
And before buying furniture, consider what you already own that could be repurposed, says Zillow’s Kelly. “Maybe take that dining room cabinet and put it in the den for children’s books, and use it as a library,” she notes.
Buy durable fabrics and carpets
If you’re considering new upholstered furniture, take a look at durable fabrics like Crypton or Sunbrella, says Zillow’s Kelly. Furniture stores such as Pottery Barn offer furniture with these types of fabrics, which can make it easier to clean up a spill and therefore ease your mind about children’s sometimes rough use.
Carpet tiles are also a flexible option for families, Kelly adds. Spills or damage can be easily fixed by replacing a single tile, and they can be changed out for new colors as children get older, she says.
“You invest a lot in a sofa and you don’t want your sofa to get ruined the first time your kid spills a soda,” says Houzz.com’s Parker. “We also recommend things that can be thrown into the washing machine, like slipcovers. Anything like that will help.”