I’m not a home design junkie by any means, but I do love a good interior design book, especially the coffee-table sized ones packed with glossy pictures. Nor am I a regular reader of Gabrielle Blair’s site Design Mom, but everything she does is top-notch, and when I found out about her new book Design Mom: How to Live with Kids: A Room-by-Room Guide I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy.
Blair’s (glossy, photo-packed) book is all about how to live well with kids, and that doesn’t just mean how to look good. It’s about creating a place where every member of the family feels at home.
She believes good design is about finding solutions for your home and your life—about making day-to-day duties more intentional, more stylish, and way easier. Her optimistic tone makes you really believe whatever your situation is, you can make it work.
I know I’ve found a good design book when it inspires me to actually change things in my home—I don’t mean just that it inspires me to buy stuff, but that it empowers me to make positive changes, immediately, with what I already have. That was absolutely true with this book. I couldn’t wait to put it down and hang some pictures, move a bit of furniture, print some artwork, and go buy new dishtowels.
The book was packed with good info; these are the tips I’m especially taking to heart.
1. DON’T RUSH!
There is no due date for your home. The best things evolve over time.
2. YOUR HOME BEGINS AND ENDS WITH THE ENTRY. MAKE IT GREAT.
Setting up a functional entry is key to gracefully managing a home with kids. Things to consider: shoe storage, a place to sit, how to utilize the walls, and where to put a command center, even if there’s only space for a dish to hold your keys.
3. DON’T BE AFRAID OF ART.
Figure out what you love, and don’t be embarrassed about it. Start with your favorite and go from their. Your walls should tell your family’s story, so consider hanging children’s artwork, family photos, memorabilia, maps, and quotes that are meaningful to your family.
4. START A FAMILY COLLECTION.
Snowglobes, magnets, minifigures. Whatever floats your boat, as long as you start right now.
5. THERE ARE NO PERFECT STORAGE SOLUTIONS.
Whether you use baskets, buckets, files, hooks, clothespin lines, or fairy dust, there is no system that will keep your family 100% organized, 100% of the time. And the system that works (pretty well) for your family today might not work tomorrow. Stay flexible.
6. THERE’S ALWAYS A WAY TO MAKE SHARED BEDROOMS WORK.
They’re a reality for millions of families. It’s not magic; it’s problem-solving.
7. HOME IS WHERE THE FRIDGE IS.
Choose dinnerware that will grow up with your family, sturdy flatware, and don’t underestimate the value of real (if cheap) stemware.
8. DISHTOWELS ARE MIRACLE WORKERS.
New dishtowels have a way of making the whole kitchen feel fresh and new. Blair’s favorite places to get affordable, cute dishtowels are Etsy and World Market.
9. DESIGN A ROOM THAT WORKS RIGHT NOW.
Do what you can to love whatever house you’ve turned into your home, right now.
What’s your favorite tip about living well with kids?
Books mentioned in this post: