When you think of a luxury home, what do you picture? A period property renovated with the finest materials? A striking new build with acres of gleaming glass? You’re probably picturing a luxurious bathroom with marble flooring, a rain-forest shower and a freestanding bath. A king size bed draped with throws and pillows in front of a Juliette balcony. Or a pristine kitchen with acres of spotless quartz worktops. What you’re probably not picturing in this dream home is children. Having kids enhances your life in so many ways – but usually not your interiors. From the clutter and mess to the garishly coloured plastic toys scattered everywhere, children’s playful natures usually mean that there’s plenty of joyful chaos whenever they’re around. So, it is possible to have a luxury home which satisfies your design needs but also serves your family well? The answer is yes – with some planning and a few clever solutions at your fingertips, you can have a beautiful home that also works for your family.
Understand Your Needs
The first key to successful home design is understanding exactly what you – and your kids – use the space for, and creating spaces which complement that. From a fully functional playroom with plenty of storage to a big, solid table where you can eat family meals or older children can do their homework, plan out the activities which have to take place in the space you have. If you don’t plan around them, they will happen anyway – just with a lot more clutter and mess involved! The flow of a space and it’s storage solutions can drastically improve levels of tidiness and make better use of the space you have. It’s easy to think that we need a bigger home from time to time, but before you call the furniture removalist, it’s worth rethinking the flow of your space and seeing if a few changes to make everything more usable might work better.
Add Clever Statement Furniture
Children can certainly be expensive, so you might have assumed that your budget won’t stretch to the designer look. But in fact, mixing one or two pieces of statement furniture with a few budget flatpack buys which are more functional, plus the odd second-hand find is a great way to create a rich, layered look which appears luxurious. The wow factor is often found in the way that pieces are paired together. Mix it up and the look instant becomes more interesting than buying everything from the same home-wares shop. Practical touches can also look chic. For instance, layering textured throws over a leather sofa looks great – but those throws are also easy to throw in the wash when grubby fingers have soiled them. An upholstered ottoman looks sophisticated, but it can also hide huge amounts of toys and games which would otherwise be spilling out all over the floor. Some expensive materials can also be surprisingly child-friendly – engineered wood flooring is easy to clean, and marble counter-tops are hard-wearing.
Focus On The Kitchen
The kitchen tends to be the heart of the home when you have children – a place where everyone naturally gravitates to eat and spend time together. So if you only have the budget to focus on one area initially, it’s worthwhile making it your kitchen. Consider if your family needs would be better served by an open plan kitchen/dining arrangement – allowing the family to spend time together while you prepare food can really enhance your lifestyle. Proper storage in a kitchen means that you can keep the counter-tops free of clutter, which instantly looks sleeker and gives more of a designer finish. Invest your money in high quality materials for flooring and work-surfaces, and if you need to economise, go for cheaper units which can be painted and customised with more expensive handles.
Get The Lighting Right
The right lighting can be absolutely transformative and completely change the feel of a home – it’s an easy way of adding a luxury feel that is also extremely child-friendly. Think about layers of lighting rather than one single ceiling fixture, as this will allow you to adapt the mood to what is going on in the room. As family homes often have multi-functional rooms, lighting is a great way to adapt the space so it always feels fit for purpose. You may need bright task lighting overhead, or to make things cosy and relaxing with lamps for the evening when you want the kids to wind down. Concealed LED strips under skirtings or cupboards can really enhance the mood and provide a soft accent. If there’s an area where the family always congregates, such as the dining room, then consider adding some beautiful statement pendant lighting. This trick will add the design impact that is seen in the most beautiful, designer-inspired homes and is also completely family friendly. Consider how you use natural light as well. If you’re extending your home, position skylights and bi-fold doors carefully to maximise the natural light, especially if they’re south-facing. And don’t forget to harness the power of mirrors to bounce light around a room and dramatically brighten up a space. If you visit any luxury hotel or apartment, you’ll generally notice large mirrors used a lot. They add drama to a room while also enhancing the feeling of space. Propping a grand, oversized floor length mirror against the wall in a living room or bedroom looks very chic, but if you have small toddlers and babies, make sure it is anchored to the wall so they can’t topple it. Adding large mirrors to your entrance hall can also light up what is often a darker space and create a glamorous feature out of what might otherwise be dead space.
Create A Textured Touch
One of the simplest, most subtle ways to make your family home appear super-luxurious? Adding depth and dimension to your scheme with different textures. Soft furnishings are a brilliant chance to freshen up the look of your home and add that expensive sheen – while also being useful with children as well. Smooth, buttery soft leather looks good the more time-worn it gets, which soft, snuggly throws are ideal for cuddling up in to watch a film on a rainy day, but also look super chic. Cushions – especially oversized ones – create an expensive feel but are also incredibly practical, while a soft, fluffy rug instantly looks luxe and makes a great place for little ones to sit as well. Small details can have a huge impact – making sure curtains are lined always looks more expensive than flimsy, unlined ones and can make the temperature more controllable to keep little ones warmer or cooler. If curtains are too fussy, wooden plantation shutters are a timeless classic. They look luxurious and allow you to control the temperature and lighting in your space as well. And don’t forget the power of a touch of metallic. Be it in the smallest accent such as a vase, tray or picture frame, metallics look rich and add plenty of dimension – they are also easy to clean sticky fingerprints off when needed!
Get Clever With Storage Solutions
The final key to having a luxury home with children is definitely storage. Consider all of your options, and where possible opt for furniture that includes hidden storage. Blanket boxes are a great example of this – stylish and functional at the same time. Find items which can multi-task or commission a joiner to build in some storage into the space you have. Having a designer look is all in the detail, and clean, uncluttered surfaces are a huge part of this. They aren’t impossible to achieve with kids – you just need the right storage and you can quickly tidy away when they’ve finished playing. Functional storage can also be stylish – think of beautiful mid-century sideboards with sliding doors which could easily conceal baskets of toys.