Family-Friendly Decorating Tips from Irish Mums

For the day that’s in it, we decided to consult some interiors-savvy Irish Mums for tips on how to create inspiring surroundings for kids that work for adults too…

C.S. Lewis once said, “Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.” This is an attitude that can be translated into your home and is valuable to keep in mind when creating a space for your child. Your child’s surroundings should encourage them to grow, assist in their adventures, and be somewhere they feel free to learn and create – and sometimes just make a mess. But they should also be practical for Mum and/or Dad.

Want to put theory into practice? Here are three top tips on fun decorating for families.

Vanessa Kilduff's children Leyla and Dillon peep out of their playhouse, made by Robert Mooney furniture.

Vanessa Kilduff’s children Leyla and Dillon peep out of their playhouse, made by Robert Mooney furniture. Photo: Ruth Maria Photos.

1. Create a separate space where kids can let loose. Keeping a home stylish with kids in residence requires some routine and just a little compartmentalisation. “They’re slightly on autopilot now to bring toys back from the main house to the playroom,” says Vanessa Kilduff (pictured at the top of this post with her children), whose light-filled Sandymount home featured in our November-December issue.

“But you have to allow it to get messy during the day. In the evening, we have a tidy-up tradition to put everything back in the playroom. I like to relax in a grown-up space by evening time. Of course, for the shoot, I moved Leo’s box of plastic fantastic toys out of kitchen!”

The bright and beautiful home of Kate O'Dowd, editor of IMAGE Brides. Photography: Nathalie Marquez Courtney.

The bright and beautiful home of Kate O’Dowd, editor of IMAGE Brides. Photography: Nathalie Marquez Courtney.

3. Accessorise smart. Kids want to play with their toys, not have them packed away in boxes all the time. Make toys and costumes part of the space, instead of trying to hide them.

Rather than fight the spread of dump trucks and Duplo bricks, weve decided to just incorporate his appendages into the aesthetic of our décor. Even before our son, Teddy, and his colourful belongings arrived, the look of our house was in the clean canvas/bright pops scheme of things: white walls and wooden floors, with acid-bright and dusty-pastel furnishings and accessories everywhere I could plant them. So, adding a few hundred toy cars into the mix hasnt been too much of a stretch.Kate ODowd, editor, IMAGE Brides (check out our tour of Kate’s gorgeous home for more ideas).


An adaptable child’s cot by Leander, €995 from Little Dreamers in Galway.

And one from the Dads (because equality)…

3. Invest. There are some great long-lasting pieces out there that provide a way around the relentless outgrowing of, well, everything that are worth searching out and investing in. We got two of the same cot from Leander. You can take one side off it, then take all sides off and lengthen it, so it adapts with the child growing.Eoin Mahon, designer, Metric Design

Compiled by Sheenagh Green for @Image_Interiors

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