If you’ve ever wondered how New York City got to be known as “The City That Never Sleeps,” you’d have to venture back to the 1970’s and listen to John Kander and Fred Ebb’s song “New York, New York.” Ironically, however, parents in the modern day are bringing a new meaning to the moniker—as people are choosing to raise their kids in the city.

Couples are moving into large apartments (or, combining apartments) and even restoring full brownstones to accommodate their growing families. These urban parents want the newest trends in residential interior design but they also want homes that are child-friendly.

In this staircase area I chose carpet treated with a special finish that makes water bead up and keeps soil on that top for easy cleaning. The seat cushion is vinylized fabric so it wipes off easily. All the painted finishes can be wiped down.

As anyone who has ever worked with small kids may know, “trendy” and “child-proof” are two realities that rarely (if ever) mesh together. But just because you have kids it doesn’t mean you can’t update your home with an eye to the newest trends in interior design.

So, if the above scenario speaks to you and…

  • you want to reduce the wear and tear on your furniture and flooring
  • you want to entertain guests in your home without it looking like a medieval war zone
  • you want to incorporate the newest trends in interior design and create a safe place for your kids, too

. . . then an interior designer who is familiar with creating high-traffic environments that withstand the brutal forces of human nature is a great choice. Over the years I’ve discovered that what I’ve learned as a lobby interior designer enables me to create family oases in the city that stand the test of time.

To mesh the newest trends in residential interior design and with the needs of a growing family, I focus on the three most important elements of the interior design process:

1. Choosing The Right Fabrics

When designing residential spaces I look for colors and patterns that will maintain their allure while also being able to hide soil. For you parents out there, this is a huge stress reliever because your furniture will require cleaning less often (and you won’t be embarrassed when you have guests!).

In this gorgeous yet kid-friendly family room, I selected concrete tables that are super durable and a snap to clean. All the fabrics I used have a finish that makes liquids bead up and soil stay on the top for easy cleaning.

If your apartment is really bright, I choose fabrics that resist fading (fading is a big problem in lobbies). But, if your family can’t give up that favorite couch, then we can add a film to the windows to reduce the intensity of direct sunlight.

One of my other tried and true tricks is to use fabrics manufactured with non-toxic surface protection that makes them easy to clean. So, if your child (or, your partner) has a knack for plastering peanut butter on the couch, these fabrics are phenomenal.

2. The Latest in Traffic Patterns and Flooring

Furniture is always about placement, placement, placement. For example, I wouldn’t locate a valuable lamp right next to the kitchen. I’m sure you would hate to see it knocked over by a running child before dinnertime!

I used stone top and limestone floors have been sealed with a “bullet sealer” preventing stains in this family kitchen. The bar stools are a covered with vinylized patterned fabric that easily wipes clean.

And the process I use to analyze traffic patterns in a child-friendly interior design plan is nearly identical to what I use for lobby interior design projects. If your living space sometimes feels like Grand Central, then listen up:

Your high traffic areas should have hard flooring because it can be easily cleaned. Your low traffic areas are where you will use your carpet or rugs. Keeping this in mind makes floor cleanup a breeze and helps preserve your valuable carpet and rugs.

One piece of advice to bear in mind about carpet and rugs is that natural materials are often easier to maintain that their synthetic counterparts (i.e. wool vs. nylon). One of the newest trends in residential interior design is custom Rug installations. These are available from local Rug manufacturers I have built relationships with over the years for lobby project. I’ve ordered custom rugs from them for various apartment interior designs – all which are durable and easy to clean.

3. Types of Wall Coverings

For adult apartments, paper and fabric wall coverings are spectacular, but they’re not easy to keep clean. A design trick I learned as a lobby interior designer is to select wall coverings that look just like fabric, but are made of vinyl, instead. These are remarkably easy to clean (sticky hands, we’re looking at you!), don’t require a special application of surface protection (whereas expensive wall coverings usually do), and because there are so many choices I can usually spot when a new interior design trend is starting.

But, if you’re not in love with the idea of vinyl, there are some lovely options in fabrics coated with a really powerful stain and spot resistant. They can be quite costly but are worth it if your budget allows.

In closing, if you are raising kids in the “City That Never Sleeps”, focus on durability, easy maintenance, and easy wear. You deserve a home that withstands the onslaught of your kids and the other members of the traveling circus, while still incorporating some of the newest and interior design trends.

— Marilyn

Sygrove Interior Design Services

Sygrove Associates Design Group is an NYC interior design company. Our company’s founder Marilyn Sygrove is the lead interior designer on all projects. And she’s as tough as you are when it comes to quality, aesthetics, and coming in on time and on budget.

It all starts with a design consultation with Marilyn. She takes the time to thoroughly understand your design needs then personally directs all interior design, planning, and installation activities. Her work has been delighting clients, co-op and condo boards, and homeowners for over 30 years.

You can reach Marilyn by email at hello@sygrove.com or call her directly at 212.757.0631.

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