With kids, comes chaos. They turn your heart upside down, wreak havoc on your sleep schedule and your home? Well, that will never look the same again…

“How can two kids have so much stuff?!”, exclaims my husband, as we trudge around each night, trying to restore order to our living room after an afternoon and evening of playtime.

I look around; it’s just puzzles, soft toys, books and bikes everywhere.

READ MORE: Cool kids bedrooms

Instead of answering him, I try to figure out why the bulk of their toy stash is strewn across our living room, into the kitchen and down the passage – especially seeing as though both kids have their own bedrooms and a decent sized doll house in the backyard.

And then it hits me…

Our kids want to be where we are – where mommy cooks in the evening, where daddy works in the afternoon and where we unwind together after dinner. They don’t want to play in their bedrooms away from us.

So, no matter how beautifully I decorate their bedrooms, or how ‘cool’ the doll house is standing in the backyard, the living area of our house will still be the space towards which they gravitate (with loads and loads of toys in-tow).

And, it’s because it’s the heart of our home – where we live as a family.

Having made this revelation, I’m determined to embrace the chaos by transforming our living room (and all those corners and crannies that toys land up in) into a practical space that inspires our kids to be, well, kids. I want them to feel like it’s their space too – while maintaining a little bit of order and control over the state of my home.

Call it a style meets functional project.

From a chalkboard wall, to a reading nook and a play station – here are five ways to create a warm, child-friendly home…

1. A chalkboard wall to evoke imagination

My kids have not yet taken to our walls with wax crayons (or worse, permanent markers) but they are famous for doodling on our dining room table, coffee table and tiles.

Chalkboard paint has been a thing for a few years – and I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before. All you need is a small section of wall, two coats of chalk paint and a pack of coloured chalk to evoke imagination and artisic play.

The area can double up as a place for moms to scribble down shopping lists, reminders and motivational quotes.

child-friendly home

2. A cozy tee pee for quieter moments

Tee pees are trending at the moment – and setting one up in the corner of the living room and filling it with cushions and a soft rug creates the perfect space for kids to wind down after a busy day at school or before bedtime.

Add some books, and let their imaginations run wild, while you put your feet up on the couch and enjoy a cup of coffee.

child-friendly home

3. Fairy lights to add a dash of magic

Add instant magic to your living area with fairy lights.

Inexpensive and easy to find – you can use these lights just about anywhere. String them across the roof, frame a window or weave them around a dull piece of furniture. Each time you switch them on, your child’s face is sure to light up too!

child-friendly home

4. An unused nook can be the perfect space to get lost in a good book!

Children are always on the go – and can benefit from taking time out to ‘chill’. Creating a cozy space that encourages reading or paging through a picture/comic book is as easy as buying a couple of bean bags, throws and a small bookshelf and placing them in an unused nook.


5. Get creative with the coffee table

Turn your coffee table into a creative or play station where your kids can play with Lego, colour in or get crafty – while they’re with the rest of the family.

Original images and their credits available on Pinterest.

Lara Bestbier – All4Women

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