Kid-friendly home styling tips


If you have kids or know someone who does, chances are you can clearly picture the following: a house strewn with toys, chunky colourful kids’ furniture and remnants of crayon stains on walls. 

There’s a fine line between homes being baby-proof and those that resemble full-blown nurseries, but not all’s lost for those who prefer to retain their OG dream home aesthetics with kids in the picture.

We spoke to two local experts in the business to uncover some kid-friendly home styling tips: Sharon Wong, who’s had tons of experience with kiddos as the founder of Motherswork; and Nicole Pang, a mother herself who’s done numerous interior design and property staging projects with families as the founder and creative director of HyggeHomey


1. Install minimalist safety gates to suit any home interior


Anyone who’s ever spent a day with toddlers will know just how quickly they move; take your eyes off them for a second and they won’t hesitate to scale cabinets, sofas and staircases as they would a jungle gym. 

kid-friendly home - simple black gateDesigns for a kid-friendly home don’t have to be over-the-top to be stylish, as seen in this simple black gate.
Image credit: @entirelyoptional

That’s why Nicole advises that parents with active toddlers should take safety gates into consideration when planning renovations. Install these gates so your kiddos can’t sneak off to injury-prone areas like the kitchen and staircase. 

While most child-safe gates in the market are chunky and plasticky, there are rare unicorns that are made of sleek materials like dark wood and full aluminium, or are powder-coated in black. Nicole says that these choices are now in trend and can suit any interior, without compromising on form and function. 

kid-friendly home - playpenThe Lolbaby Ultra Microfibre Convertible Bumper Bed ($629)
Image credit: Motherswork

Pro tip: For added safety, get a playpen in neutral colours like grey or white so it won’t be too much of a jarring addition to the room. 


2. Display chalkboards to avoid wall scribbles


Imagine this: you sink your funds into a spanking new $1,000 couch for your home, and months later, your toddler decides it’s the perfect canvas to draw a giant masterpiece. While your first instinct may be to blow your top, your little one may not even be able to comprehend the gravity of the situation.

That’s why Sharon recommends providing accessible spaces for crayon-wielding kids to go all out honing their creativity without unknowingly vandalising furniture. She says that place mats, playmats, chalkboards and whiteboards that can be doodled on have been developed to encourage important creative and motor skills in children. 

chalkboardLet your kid’s creativity flow as they doodle on the Essa Grace Ellie Chalk House ($275).
Image credit: Motherswork

“Parents who choose to have chalkboards at home tend to be creatives who go for cafe-like aesthetics,” Sharon explains. “The white board, on the other hand, is easier to clean and has now taken over homes as they come in fun shapes and sizes.” 

Place these within easy reach of your kids at their usual hang-out spots such as the living room and nursery. Chalkboards can also serve as aesthetic notice boards and to-do lists for the family.

kid-friendly home - kids place matGet your hands on the BusyMat Place Mat ($16.50)
Image credit: Motherswork

Pro tip: Get drawable placemats like the BusyMat ($16.50) for the dinner table to distract kids and avoid mealtime tantrums.


3. Get push-to-open and soft-close cabinets that don’t slam


push-to-open cabinets
Go for push-to-open cabinets and soft-closing hinges for a kid-friendly home
Image credit:
HyggeHomey

Kids are inquisitive by nature, and that means they’re likely to go diving into drawers and cabinets when you’re not looking. That’s where handleless cabinets with soft-closing hinges can add an extra layer of safety while giving your home a clean look. 

“Push-to-open cabinet doors are designed to leave a gap where the door meets the cabinet. You then have to push it further to fully close it,” Nicole explains. “This makes it safer than cabinets with handles. These may look harmless but can lead to panicky scenarios if your preschooler sticks their fingers or hands through them and forget how to undo this action.” 

flushed cabinetryGet flushed cabinetry with dimensions that fit your appliances and electronics
Image credit: HyggeHomey

There’s also no need to compromise on style, even if you plan to child-proof your entire home. If you’re at the reno ground zero, then opting for built-in carpentry that gels with your overall colour palette will be an easy way to achieve this. Take your add-on appliances into consideration as well if you want them hidden away.

Pro tip: Ask your interior designer for advice on how to effectively organise spaces to make them child-friendly. Nicole recommends placing cabinets with child-friendly items at a comfortable kids’ arms’ length, while dangerous items should be kept out of their reach. 


4. Use curved furniture to eliminate sharp corners


kid-friendly home tips - rounded furnitureGet round coffee tables with rounded sofas to reduce sharp corners for a kid-friendly home
Image credit: HyggeHomey

One of the most well-known baby-proofing to-dos is to eliminate or cover up sharp corners in your home – especially if you have energetic kids. That’s where a simple change of furniture can ease your worries tremendously, without you having to plaster existing furniture with unsightly foam bumpers.

“Avoid sharp edges for large furniture where children can hit their head and knees, until they are older,” Nicole advises. “It is almost effortless to integrate curved furniture into existing design schemes with carefully curated pieces and a ‘less-is-more’ methodology.” 

rounded furnitureImage credit: @hyggehomey

To avoid overdoing it, stick to statement pieces like the sofa and coffee table. This adds subtle contrast and dimension to the remainder of your squarish home.

Pro tip: If you can’t bear to part with your existing furniture, go for transparent corner bumpers over gaudy, brightly-coloured foam ones. 


5. Use cute storage boxes and bookshelves to reduce clutter 


kid-friendly home - kids book shelfKeep your kid-friendly home tidy with the KidKraft Sling Bookshelf – Gray & White Pattern ($119)
Image credit: Motherswork

Playtime and clutter go hand-in-hand. Regardless of how on fleek your home’s interior may be, constant clutter can wreck any polished look and cause your quarters to look more cramped. 

Reduce clutter by creating a dedicated space for your child’s toys and books with storage boxes, baskets and bookshelves to store their treasures. That way you can easily chuck loose toys into these storage areas to keep your living space clear post-playtime. 

storage area
Get creative with spaces – add planks to display posters and plants
Image credit: Hyggehomey

Nicole also adds that families can also transform awkward spaces like pillars and angular walls to double as storage. She shares, “Store rooms are usually under-utilised, so do build racks to reach to its ceiling to maximise storage areas.” 

Pro tip: Cribs that have built-in storage space can hide unsightly necessities like diapers, bottles and baby wipes.


6. Get a fun and personalised loft bed to optimise space 


kid-friendly home - loft bedThe funky and fun Essa Grace Andrew’s Loft Bed ($3,799) from Motherswork
Image credit: Motherswork

Space – or lack of it – is a problem that most Singaporean households face. One way to get around this with a touch of style is to get a loft bed for your kids. Use the top half for bedtime, while the bottom half can be transformed into anything from a play area to a study corner. 

“I would recommend investing in a good set of children’s bedroom furniture from reliable brands that provide designs that are well-researched and trademarked for quality,” Nicole says, adding that extended warranties are a plus to last the long haul. 

Pro tip: Make payments with PayPal when you pick out something new for your home – if you change your mind afterwards, PayPal lets you return the item for free with a full refund.


7. Use vibrant non-slip mats for wet-prone areas


carpets and mats
Image credit: HyggeHomey

Rugs and carpets are fail proof when it comes to adding a little design flair into your home. But with kids who love to run around or are still wobbly walkers, Nicole recommends going for non-slip mats. Display these in areas that are prone to water spillage, such as the kitchen and bathroom. 

abstract mats
Opt for abstract patterns to add artistic charm to your house
Image credit: HyggeHomey

“Line some of these high-traffic spaces with eye-catching floor mats to keep the floors dry and slip-free,” she says. These can be mats with geometric shapes and even pops of colour that add an elegant contrast to your furniture. 


8. Childproof your kitchen & provide safe distractions


Hot stoves, knives, and heavy pots: these are recipes for disaster in homes with kids. Child-proofing your kitchen should obviously be a top priority and one way to do that is also by giving them “safe” distractions while they’re in there.

kid-friendly home - kitchenetteGet a mini kitchenette for the kiddos to keep busy while they’re in the kitchen
Image credit: Pinterest 

“With kids, it’s good to constantly engage them,” Nicole says. “Convert a wall into a chalkboard for them to create menus, draw the food they like, and make the kitchen into a learning space. You may also park a mini ‘kitchen’ against a wall for role playing and teaching them good habits in the kitchen.” 

induction cookerInduction cookers are more sleek in design too

Other safety must-haves are door stoppers for doors that may slam, child locks for cabinets, and locks for windows too. On top of that, opt for induction cookers to eliminate the risk of open flames and gas leaks in the house – these are also notably more aesthetic as they’re usually flushed with your countertop. 


Styling tips for a kid-friendly home


kid-friendly home styling tips

Aesthetics are a big part of what makes a home liveable, and families who centre their lives around their children don’t have to compromise on this. 

With these kid-friendly home styling tips provided by Nicole and Sharon – whose livelihoods involve both home decor and families with kids – you’ll be able to create a stylish, functional and safe space for your little ones.


Support local businesses when sprucing up your home


Ask anyone who’s planned a home renovation or prepared for a new baby in 2020 and they’d agree that life through the pandemic has been and continues to be a struggle. Temporary business closures, work-from-home measures and new restrictions have put a damper on many of our plans for the year. 

Local businesses like Motherswork and HyggeHomey haven’t been spared either. For both businesses, the Circuit Breaker and other international lockdowns meant that their supply of products and furniture had a much longer lead time than before, resulting in delayed timelines.

Sharon shares that Motherswork quickly shifted their sights to an online marketplace. She recalls, “We launched an IG Live series with women entrepreneurs who are mothers working from home, to share with all mothers out there that we are in this together.” Their efforts also included virtual personal tours for first-time parents who were stuck at home. 

HyggeHomey, likewise, experienced the pressure of ensuring all projects would be finished on time. Nicole says that home staging projects have been switched up with the addition of 3D tours. For interior design projects, they continued to keep in touch with clients despite unavoidable downtimes, which in turn allowed them to fine-tune the littlest touches for their homes. 

Both businesses are part of PayPal’s ongoing #SupportLocal campaign which encourages Singaporeans to continue supporting local businesses during trying times. 

As we continue to journey through this pandemic together, those who’re planning to child-proof their homes have a ton of options to source from local businesses. And with these handy tips from the experts themselves, you’ll be able to retain a stylish abode knowing you’re helping to keep the local economy afloat too. 

Find out more about PayPal’s #SupportLocal campaign here

Check out wedding planning tips by more local business owners too.


This post was brought to you by PayPal.
Cover image adapted from: Motherswork and Motherswork

Some responses have been edited for length and clarity.