Ingredients of a Shabby Chic Living Room Suited for Both Kids and Adults

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Ingredients of a Shabby Chic Living Room Suited for Both Kids and Adults

I have to admit it, I never fully understood the meaning of “your priorities shift once you become a mother” until I joined the motherhood sorority. Talk about learning the lesson of surrender. The shifting process did not go smoothly, to say the least. I embraced the crazy parental anxieties of becoming a mom for the first time with open arms, but it was a frightening, emotional and a very sloppy adventure. None of the books I’ve read explained that  “The Wheels on the Bus” nursery rhyme would be the get-in-the-mood music nor that one of my biggest objectives, aside from making sure my little peanut was fed and dry, would be finding time for sit-at-the-table meals (you know the ones that are consumed with fork and knife).

By the time we were a family of four, I had become a master at preparing foods you can actually eat without utensils, all while tossing in a load of laundry. Between potty training accidents and building castles and skyscrapers out of blocks, I’ve learned to survive on handfuls of crackers washed down with leftover juice from sippy cups. I also find watching Hell’s Kitchen in pajamas more fun than having a real outside-our-home date with my hubby. So yes, I guess my priorities have shifted (along with my body physique and mind, but I’ll leave that for another post). What concerns me today is making sure my kids are happy. And recently that meant transforming our living room into a space suitable for play while my husband and I can also relax in it.

My kids do have their own space where they can release their never-ending energy, however more often than not, that designated section is in the middle of our living room. The outcome – walls covered in crayon art and an area rug adhered with playdough. So, creating a fun playroom within our living room was more of a desperately needed redesign. It did take a tiny bit of planning, few pieces of modern home furniture and decor updates and a whole lot of creativity (online research and flipping through magazines), but my husband and I finally created a multipurpose room where watching TV shows and playing happily coexist.

The first thing on the agenda was adding few accent pieces. For me, the key ingredient of what I call a stylish, put-together room is modern home furniture that gives off that shabby chic feeling. But a wing armchair and crayons is not really a match made in heaven, now is it. Considering food spills and kids playing, I knew my kids would do a number to it. I needed something elegant yet tough enough to hold up against playdough and food stains. I decided to go with an upholstered wing armchair in taupe with a tufted back and quality solid birch timber legs – a seat fit for a queen I’d say (although Cinderella is more suitable here).

The upholstery is a mix of cotton and linen known as hardworking fabrics. Or so they say. I do keep stain remover on hand just in case, but I am also willing to live with few stains in exchange for a shabby chic look. I also got a round solid timber side table with crocheted raffia top. It is one of my favorite pieces as it is super versatile – it can be used as a side table, extra seating or footrest and best of all, it can fit anywhere.

The next thing on the list was finding a virtually indestructible rug. I decided to go with an indoor-outdoor rug made from recycled plastic. Can you believe it, a plastic rug that feels and looks like the real deal. And, aside from being Earth-friendly, the rug is literally built like a tank – it can take a beating and it still looks great.

To make the living room look fun and whimsical for the kids, I hung a few kid-friendly pieces of wall art grown-ups can enjoy too. It was also important for me to make room for creativity since it’s critical for healthy brain development, improved motor skills and self-confidence. Hence I designated a corner near the window for coloring and crafts. And since natural light is proven to boost health and growth, in a sense I killed two birds with one stone. There I placed a foldable chalkboard (art supplies and drop cloth included) and a timber table and chairs set. The table and chairs set is super easy to clean. I usually wipe off crayon marks with baby wipes and once a week I give the whole set a good polish with all-in-one wood cleaner. Plus, the tone of light wood and minimalist design perfectly match my armchair.

I was ready to stop at this point, but the living room still looked like … well, a living room. To invite a sense of play into the room, I got a teepee-style play tent in gender-neutral gray and white chevron pattern. It’s made of cotton and timber mix and is easy to clean and maintain. I’ve got to say, the piece turned out to be unexpectedly fun for all of us. And the whole room for that matter.

With a few key modern home furniture updates, kid-friendly accessories and lots of bright ideas I “stole” from my wee ones, our space designated for relaxation is now kid-friendly and at the same time looks A++ (even when toys, coloring books and crayons are flung all over the room).

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