living room furniture ideas

Can kids and beautiful things peacefully coexist? The answer is: sometimes.

But that doesn't mean that you have to live in a hovel until your youngest goes to college. You can still have beautiful things. Just choose and position them wisely.

These living room furniture ideas can help you choose the right pieces for your family, and help you set limits on what can and can't be done on the furniture, so you can keep what you have looking presentable. 

Living Room Furniture Ideas for Family Life

Choose kid- and pet-friendly furnishings with tough, stain-resistant upholstery. This will not be your White Period.

Establish rules about protecting what you do have. No feet on the furniture. No food outside the dining room. Crafts only in the kitchen.

Just because a place is kid-friendly doesn't mean it has to look like the playground or school cafeteria. 

Consider where you put things. You might want to relocate your precious Oriental rug to the dining room or your bedroom for the next few years.

Or put it in an area of the room where the kids are unlikely to congregate.

Living Room Furniture Ideas: Consider Leather

Living room furniture ideas: If you're buying sofas or chairs anytime soon, consider leather. Leather is much easier to care for if you have kids. (And usually, where there are kids, there are pets.)

You spill on leather, you wipe it up. You drop on chenille, you'd better catch it fast. Leather is also more rip resistant. And it looks better longer.

Leather is also preferable for people with allergies because you can remove all the dust from its surface easily with regular vacuuming.

To preserve your leather furniture, keep it at least 2 feet away from heat vents or other heat sources. Don't expose leather furniture to direct sunlight or it could dry out and crack.

Each week, wipe leather with a soft cloth. Each month, clean it with a gentle cleaning agent, such as liquid dish soap mixed in lukewarm water. Wipe, don't rub!

Living Room Furniture Ideas for Protecting Your Investment

Kids are rough on upholstered furniture. They put their shoes on the couch, jump on the chairs, pull off the loveseat pillows to make forms and stash crumbs pencils, quarters, etc. under the cushions to create a perpetual collection of odds and ends.

The good news is you can keep furniture beautiful. Here are some key ways to protect your furniture:

  • Treat fabric with a fluorochemical solution to make them more stain-resistant. This is an invisible finish that coats the material so that spills and dirt don't penetrate so quickly or easily. It's safe for most fabrics.
  • Protect furniture from direct sunlight.
  • Rotate and reverse cushions occasionally so they will fade evenly and receive equal wear.
  • Vacuum furniture monthly with a soft brush attachment. 

No matter how many house rules you have about no eating in the living room, someone will eventually spill juice on your couch. It's just one of those things a Mom can count on. Wipe up spills with a clean cloth. Blot, don't rub! (See cleaning upholstery for details.)

Carefully Consider Your Display Items

Put out only what you truly love. Living areas are infamous final resting places for knickknacks, tchotchkes, whatnots, and other decorative junk. Clutter is clutter, whether it's collectible Hummel figurines or garage-sale finds. 

Everyone has treasures, of course, and they do give a room personality and interest. But when you've got so much stuff that your eye cannot focus on any one thing, Mama, you have to cut back.

Organize items in eye-pleasing groupings of two or three objects. This works best if the items have a similar theme or if they provide contrasting textures, shapes, or colors. 

Don't pack every inch of surface space. Items stand out when they have room to stand out. 

If you've got a lot of stuff that you like, try rotating collections. Having fewer objects on display is not only more attractive, but it also makes dusting infinitely easier. (They call them dust catchers for nothing.) And rotating collections will keep your living areas looking fresh.

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