With so much time spent in the home today, designing for family living is more important than ever. Gone are the days of creating rooms that are off limits to everyone but “company,” with fabrics that aren’t allowed to crease and breakables everywhere you look.

Instead, homeowners today are creating spaces that are comfortable and practical for family life, and, in some cases, are downright fun to live in. Whether you’re building a new home, renovating the one you already live in, or just looking for a few ways to inject some whimsy into your place, these ideas are sure to spark some thought.

A living room you can live with

“A room that looks beautiful but doesn’t take into account the demands of everyday family life will quickly be destroyed or end up like Grandma’s stuffy no-go zone. Instead, incorporate a decorating style that will stand up to sibling food fights, vomiting babies, indoor hockey matches, incontinent pets and slobby spouses,” said HGTV. “Consider who you live with and decorate accordingly. Hint: That means checking the color of the stains on your sofa before choosing a hue for the new one.”

A kitchen for every member of the family

Attention to detail in the most-used room of the house can make a big difference for little people. Need to add a microwave? Instead of putting it over the range, where it’s out of reach for all but the tallest members of the family, install it in a base cabinet where kids can learn to warm up their oatmeal. A mini fridge or refrigerator drawer in the same spot filled with healthy snacks and drinks can give little ones access to “their food” while teaching them good eating habits.

Kids’ rooms

You may be looking to make the gathering spaces more comfortable to accommodate your family, but, in many ways, children’s bedroom design is going the other direction.

“Frilly flowers and cartoon racecars may be classic children’s room motifs – but to a maturing child, they are far from timeless,” said Elle Decor. Instead, they recommend creating “all the whimsy and playfulness a child’s room should have, without the childish overtone” to make “an investment that promises to grow with the kids for years to come.”

Of course, your kids’ rooms don’t have to be so streamlined they lose the fun factor.

And sometimes all it takes is a can of chalkboard paint to transform an otherwise pretty space into something pretty great.

See more creative kids’ rooms here.

Play spaces

Does your kids’ playroom consist of a comfy chair and an XBOX? Come on, you can do so much better. Creating a great play space for kids is all about letting the creativity flow and getting the energy out.

“Marrying beautiful themes with smart storage solutions, the perfect playroom is a space that both adults and kids appreciate,” said Decoist.

But sometimes all it takes it a truck full of balls. “Few things in life are as much fun as plunging into a ball pit – we know, we’ve done it,” said Houselogic. “You’ll need a dedicated space to make one – a spot where balls won’t escape and you can have a ball depth of at least 2 feet. Calculate the number of balls you’ll need here. Instructions for building your own pit are here. Ball-pit balls are $16-$25 for 100 balls; it takes about 1,600 balls to fill a 10-by-10-ft. play area with balls 2 feet deep.”

The ultimate in kid-friendly fun

Want to really go there? Want a house that will be the talk of the neighborhood and leave your kids with memories to last a lifetime? Want-a parent-of-the-year award? It’s easy. Build a slide.

Written by: Jaymi Naciri
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