When setting up a kid friendly living room in our new house, we were faced with the challenge that many families face: our living room doubles as our playroom. Not only that, but it’s actually very much a part of our home, visible when you enter, as our home is really a large, open space, without clearly defined rooms. As we work out various issues, I will be sharing it with you (and have already shared some here), but for now, I wanted to focus on the one piece of furniture that made the whole difference. Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.
I’ll start off by emphasizing one philosophy I’ve always used when decorating and furnishing smalls paces: go for double duty pieces!
Start by determining what you need from that space, and find furnishings that solve at least two problems!
The one piece of furniture that every kid friendly living room needs:
The powerhouse piece that I highly recommend you get whether you are using it as a playroom and family room too, or you just know the kids tend to trail in with their “baggage”…
A storage ottoman can work too, but I have found that our storage bench (that we got for well under $100 at Walmart) has proven to be the one thing we can’t live without – save for the couch, of course!!
Why do you need a storage bench in a kid-friendly living room?
My storage bench solves the following problems:
- It serves as a toy box. So if the kids trail their toys into the living room, you have where to put them (I’d even recommend dedicating a few toys to the living room, even if you don’t use it officially as a playroom… Keep the kids busy there!)
- Even if you don’t want it as a toy box, I find that it’s a great place to stash things quickly when I need to hide them.
- It serves as an all-purpose “keep me handy” area – baby wipes, a Boppy pillow, a swaddle blanket that doubles as a burp cloth all live inside.
- It provides extra seating – for when company comes or even for tying a shoe lace…
- It’s a coffee table too – we don’t have a coffee table, mostly because our space is too small for one. The storage bench that we bought comes with a removable tray, perfect for drinks. Either way, the solid leatherette surface is a great place to place that drink.
- It has a padded surface – since your coffee table likely has corners, this is much more kid-friendly, especially when your children are active!
- It wipes clean! There’s nothing like leatherette when you have kids around…
If you have a choice to put in an extra recliner or coffee table, or even a storage ottoman, I’d choose this. It pretty much took up a skimpy few feet, hides the messy magazine rack, and fills in the rest of what we need for our kid friendly living room.
The only thing we still need to get: a screen to block off my messy work area!
One last tip: avoid the folding kind if you plan to use it for storage. Most of them aren’t sturdy enough (read reviews on the one you buy – that worked well for me!)
As you can see a storage bench is an amazing way to finish off a kid friendly living room and keep things a wee bit organized. Do you have one? Do you agree with me? What is your must-have furniture for your living room?