I’m very excited to be featuring a guest post from Zahra Abbas, an interior designer, who’s letting us in on some easy ways to have a stunning home, even when you have children:
Kids, one of the biggest blessings we can have, more often a blessing in disguise though right? I hear you.
When I first started in interior design I used to read through blogs and magazine articles and quickly skim through to see if the designer had young children; that would then validate the impossibility of me creating a show home with small children.
The irony then came when it was my 5 year old daughter who fell in love with home makeover programmes and used to point out eclectic decor and furnishings to me.
You see in raising our children we often forget to teach them the importance of home. Yet in their very early years they are able to identify as homebodies whose tantrums and crying in the pushchair can often end as soon as you walk through the front door.
We protect, nurture and care for our children without realising that our home is much the same. Our nurturing environment contributing to our wellness and mindset.
Children can also learn to appreciate a tidy, well-kept home and I can appreciate how difficult it can be to maintain and prioritise whilst trying to keep little people entertained and healthy. I have listed some top tips to help you create an aspirational interior with young children to be proud of whilst maintaining the routine required around having children.
Talk to children about the importance of home
Children cannot appreciate the value of home until we draw their attention to the building they live in as having an important presence in their lives. Tell them why you love your home and what it means to you and expect them to tell you the same. You might be surprised by the things they tell you. It will also give you a focus on making your house a home for them.
Include your children in the routine
I know most parents will encourage their children to tidy away toys after play. Do you talk your children through why you clean or take pride in your home? Next time instead of asking for some time to ‘once over’ the place, tell them what you are doing and why. It’ll keep them occupied and actually make them aware of the comforts required from a home. Ask them to take a duster round with you, put away their socks, plump cushions and set and clear away the table, depending on their age. By doing this you can instil the lasting memories of what a homely environment is.
From a young age help them understand why a home is a place to cherish. Once they begin to build an understanding of their home, watch their interest evolve when you are choosing furniture and paint for your home or the next living room wallpaper.
Include a tidy home into your routine
One day, just time how long it takes to clean the home from top to bottom just so know what you are up against. Before you rush out the door can you spare 10 minutes to vacuum the downstairs, allowing you to come home to a clean and tidy space that resonates with how you’re feeling? As busy mums our minds are often racing from one thought to another and the thought of coming home can be associated with undone chores, unenjoyable tasks and the avoidance of mundane errands. By allowing yourself to walk into a home that immediately relaxes your mindset and takes away the anxieties, you can breathe a sense of relief and feel more able to tackle what lies ahead.
Once you are able to compartmentalise your daily routine in to a timeframe you can prioritise taking out a few minutes to create a home you love. Another way to do this is once the children go to bed, stick the kettle on and see how much you can declutter and create a perfect space before your hot cup of tea is ready, then you can truly enjoy the peace. We don’t do ourselves any favours by letting clutter build up around us and small steps can have big impacts.
The biggest problem with decluttering is that it can often become a mountain before it is tackled. Then comes the procrastination, the shortage of time and the sheer avoidance. By tidying away and homing things where they belong periodically it becomes a habit and before you know it there aren’t areas of the home that you can no longer use for the original purpose. Set up a schedule for different items; letters – weekly, clothes – every season, toys- after each use. Remember decluttering doesn’t mean throwing it out but also reorganisation and tidying up the storage you have.
Find what it is that makes your aspirational interior and see what u can include in your home
I would advise you to visit every single room in your home, draw back the curtains, open the blinds, open a window and take in the space. Is it being used for it’s original purpose? Do you still love, enjoy or use the space? If there is something you aren’t happy with instead of leaving it for another time think about what it would mean to you to get it back to being lovable again.
Ok, so the #Shelfie trend is one you hugely adore, but you know with your children and play dates it’s just another obstacle course for them to enjoy. Don’t limit yourself into thinking the magazine cover type living room can only happen once the babies have flown the nest. Look to the interiors that speak to you the most, what is it you like about them? Textures and colours are unbreakable so use those, choose ornaments you can talk to your children about: colours of the artificial flowers, a miniature dog statue, a hanging frame or a globe. Keep precious items out of reach and those within, let them be a part of your children’s favourites too, eg. Their book collection.
Discover what is out there
You would be surprised at how many furnishings and décor items are made with family and children in mind. Explore the different textures and materials out there and how best to keep them maintained with young children and accidental spillages in the home. You might be surprised to learn that something like a velvet sofa is actually better suited for you. There are huge varieties of paint available from washable and wipe clean, to less toxic and quick drying for children’s rooms. Discover what it is that makes your home perfect for you with low maintenance and work towards the end result.
Besides I’m sure that most homes before taking that perfect shot still need to give it a once over and a decluttering session for picture perfectness. The most important aspect of your home is that it inspires you to live the life you truly want.
Zahra Abbas is an interior designer, focusing on designing residential homes, along with her husband. Her interior design journey began earlier this year after completing a mentorship programme by an industry expert.
Zahra specialises in creating aspirational interiors by using juxtaposition for the basis of her designs.
Zahra believes that our homes are fundamental to our wellbeing and says ‘I feel everyone should have a unique connection with their home, which works for their family. Our home is the most important start of all of our aspirations, so we should nurture the space to allow us to nurture ourselves.’