Space of the Week: A Stylish (Yet Indestructible) Living Room Proves Good Design Can Be Kid- and Pet-Friendly
When a family with three boys under 5 and a big, fluffy Bernese Mountain Dog reached out to designer Clara Jung of Banner Day Interiors for help decorating their new home in Piedmont, Calif., she understood the assignment. The living room needed to be a beautiful space adults would want to spend time in, but it also had to stand up to the mess that kids, a pet, and guests would inevitably invite into the home. While some might have sacrificed style for functionality, Jung knew she could balance both. "I'm a strong believer that elevated design can coexist with a busy family with young kids," she says. The key was selecting durable furniture that was up to the challenge.
"We relied on performance fabric for the Chesterfield sofa, as well as a wool rug, which would be easy to spot-clean. The ottoman is leather, extremely durable, and has no sharp corners. The same is true for the back seating area; we relied on a top-grain leather sofa, which ages better with use and time," says Jung. When buying a sofa, keep an eye out for performance fabrics, which are designed to be easy-to-clean. If you have a pet who sheds, consider a leather sofa. Fur wipes easily off the smooth surface of leather, whereas it can become embedded in woven fabrics. And while a wool rug will absorb spills and require some maintenance as accidents happen, it's actually a very durable material that can withstand lots of foot traffic—and little ones running around.
Besides surviving wear and tear, the design also had to make a long, narrow room feel inviting and connected. To achieve this, Jung went with two seating areas, each outfitted with a coffee table to collect drinks, books, or toys. "In the center we have two armchairs that swivel to serve both spaces," the designer explains. Now, the versatile space can accommodate family hang-out sessions or big parties, and is a room both kids and adults want to spend time in. The kids will bring in their toy trucks and tractors to play with on the rug, while the parents recently introduced a record player into the space. "It's nice to know that the room is serving the intended purpose, a room to be lived in and used by the family," says Jung.