Decorating tips for family homes

How to have a beautiful looking home whilst keeping it comfortable and practical for your family


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Regardless of whether you’re a strict minimalist, mid-century mad or colour lover, what makes your home beautiful is when it’s unique to your family and truly reflects the people who live there. This might mean framing your children’s artworks in quality frames and adding them to a carefully curated gallery wall. Displaying yours, your partners and your children’s favourite books on the shelves, not just the latest and most stylish releases in the designer book stores, is another great way to add character. However you choose to do it, remember that there’s nothing clever or interesting about creating an interior that looks exactly like one you have seen in a magazine, a home’s unique personality will look best every time.


With that in mind, a cluttered and untidy home can be stressful for both a home’s inhabitants and guests. Consider the old adage, ‘a place for everything in its place’, in other words, if you don’t have a dedicated spot for your shoes, books or children’s toys, of course they are always going to be scattered around the home, driving you mad. The best way to de-clutter while still having access to the items you love and need is to ensure ample storage in the right places. There’s no point having a lovely wicker toy basket in your child’s room if they are always playing near you in the living room. Choose a basket that works with the décor of your living area so it’s on hand when you need to quickly tidy up those racing cars before guests arrive.


Refreshing your blankets, throws, cushions and upholstery is one of the easiest ways of updating a space without having to buy new furniture or paint anything. When doing this in a family home it’s especially important to choose fabrics and textiles that will not only look great but also be hardwearing and comfortable. For examples, for throws choose Merino wool which is not only available in an endless variety of colours and textures but is also breathable, so will keep you warm without overheating and won’t cling to you or your sofa the way synthetics do. For your sofa, removable wool upholstery that can be easily removed and machine-washed is a great way to keep a family couch looking great for years to come, no matter how many spills it incurs along the way.


You might think that sofa inherited from your mother or a dining chair that was your grandmother’s doesn’t suit your home’s interiors style but the reality is most items can be subtly updated to work in just about any space. There are few pieces that cannot be updated with a coat of paint or new upholstery. Plus, the item has already proven it can stand the test of time so why risk purchasing a new piece that might not last as long. Not only could recycling a family antique save you money, it will make that piece significantly more special to you and mean a lot to the person who gave it to you. Creating a new family environment sometimes means incorporating elements from your own family.


Illustration: Barry Allen Patenaude

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