Friday, February 12, 2016

White couches with kids

Lately it was becoming more and more apparent that we needed extra seating in our living room.  For years, we've just had the grey couch and two accent chairs.  When the kids were small, this arrangement worked fine.  We could all pile on the couch with the kids sitting in our laps and snuggle up with a book or watch a movie.  But as they've grown, this just hasn't been working for us any longer.  For one thing, they don't sit in our laps as much anymore, so five people on one couch is just squished.  And squished kids fight.  They fight about who's taking up too much space or touching them with their feet or hogging all of the blanket.  Sometimes one person would want to spread out on the couch and relax but then no one else had a comfy place to sit because no one wanted to sit in the not-so-comfy chairs. 

The problem was I really loved my grey couch.  Actually we all did.  It's just so comfortable. We've had this couch for four years now and I still love it just as much as when we bought it.  

I didn't want to move it out of the living room.  But last weekend, I faced the facts (or maybe I just got worn out by kids fighting on the couch) and decided it was time to try out something new.  So we lugged our white Ikea Ektorp couches upstairs from the basement and plopped them down in place of our existing furniture (which went downstairs to the basement).  And I promised myself to give it at least a week before I made a final decision because I was sure I was really going to miss the grey couch and want to switch it back immediately.

But as I've lived with it this week, I've realized that I like it.  It feels relaxing, cozy, and comfortable.  And we love having the extra places to sit and spread out on.

I've been asked how I have all white furniture with three kids and a dog.  I thought now would be as good a time as any to address that question.  For me, the easiest way to do battle against dirt and stains is prevention.  And the three things that cause the most mess and stains in our home are food/drink, art supplies, and dirt. 

Now obviously you want to live in and enjoy your home, so you have to find a balance with this that works for your family.  We have a few rules set in place that help at least contain the mess and protect our furniture, walls, and curtains.  

One, is that except for special occasions like family movie nights, food and drinks (except for water) stay in the kitchen at the table.   I don't let my kids wander around the house eating or drinking.  This prevents them from dropping food all over the floor or down in the couch cushions, spilling drinks on the furniture, and wiping their sticky fingers on the walls. Maybe when they get older I won't be such a stickler to this rule, but for now, I think it saves me a lot of time in cleaning up after them.  And when they finish eating, I always remind them to go wash their hands (without touching anything first!) and wipe their face off.  

Another rule in our home is that we pretty much keep art supplies contained to one area - the art closet.  By keeping all art supplies and projects in the art closet,  the mess stays there and I don't have to worry about accidental marker stains on the couch or glitter glue stuck to the coffee table.  Another benefit to this rule is that I don't have to constantly pick up crayons, markers, and papers that have been scattered all over the house.  Most days, the art closet looks like a glitter bomb went off in it, but at least my house stays clean. 

And finally, no shoes allowed on the couch. If the kids want to put their feet up, they are welcome to, but they have to take their shoes off first.  Whether you have white couches or brown couches, this just makes sense for keeping dirt and stains off the couch.   A lot of times, we will even take our shoes off right when we come inside.  I'm not fanatical about this and even as I type, I'm wearing my shoes, so it's not a strict rule.  But especially if it's raining or muddy outside, I will remind my kids to kick their shoes off at the door.  The less dirt that comes inside, the less I have to vacuum up later.  And this goes without saying, but if they are extremely dirty for some reason, they aren't allowed on the furniture at all until they clean themselves up.

So those are my tips for having white furniture with kids.  I think just by having a few simple rules set in place, you can prevent a lot of the the dirt and stains from happening.  Obviously, my kids aren't perfect and these rules get broken or we make exceptions, but in general, this is what works for us.  On top of that, these couches are slipcovered, so when they do get a stain or start looking dingy, I can throw the slipcovers in the wash with some bleach.

Here's a look at the grey couch down in the basement.  I think it works well down there too. 

What do you think?  Do you have any tips for me on keeping a clean house with kids?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Rustic Boy Bedroom Tour

Every year when January hits, I have the sudden urge to de-clutter, organize, and re-do spaces in our home.  I think this is because the explosion of toys and stuff that came into our home in December leaves me feeling overwhelmed and unorganized.  I have found that when things don't have a designated place, then they just end up scattered on the floor, shoved in a drawer, or piled on top of a dresser. So it's important to me to find places to keep all the new Christmas stuff.  And since our house is really not that big, this means that old things that are no longer loved need to leave so we can make space for the new.

This January was no exception and it was the boys' room that got much of my focus.  Their room had not been updated in several years and I felt that they were outgrowing it in some ways. I want the spaces in our home to evolve with us so that they can meet the needs we have in the stage we're in. On top of that, their stuff had just accumulated in their room and it was feeling cluttered, sloppy, and unorganized.  Since they share a room, space is especially limited, so we have to be extra purposeful and efficient in how we use it.  The first thing we did was get rid of anything they no longer wanted and then we moved most of the rest of their toys and books downstairs to a designated toy area in the basement.  This freed up extra space in their room for the things we needed and wanted in there.

The vision I had for their room was rustic vintage.  I wanted a lot of wood mixed with metal, with a little bit of an old-school feel.  And I wanted to incorporate their love of sports without making it seem "theme-y" in any way.  Tyson and I looked on Pinterest to get ideas of what we wanted the room to look like.  I'm pretty sure he would paint the walls orange if I gave him free range in his room, but I can't live with that, so we had to find a compromise.  Thankfully, both he and Hudson were on board with giving it a rustic vintage sports feel.

Tyson still loves his shark, so although that didn't necessarily fit with the "rustic vintage sport" vision, it stayed because ultimately it's their room and I want them to love it.  Each of the boys picked their bedding from Pottery Barn Teen.

Previously their bunk beds were navy blue, but I wanted them to be a moody gray, so I bit the bullet and spent a weekend painting them.  A friend told me about using Zisser 1-2-3 primer so I didn't have to sand it before painting it.  In my mind, this is a lifesaver.  I hate sanding furniture and sanding bunk beds would be a nightmare.  It's been a few weeks since I painted these and I'm very happy that we haven't had any chipping or peeling paint. 

Tyson reads every night before going to bed, so Tim hung his light and built this pipe shelf to hold his books and clock.

I originally planned to put a nightstand next to their bed, but then I found this vintage style school desk and decided it would be a more useful piece of furniture in the long run.  It's nice that they have a small spot in their room now to sit and color or write.   

I was sick of always picking jackets up off the floor, so we added wall hooks to give jackets, robes, hats, and bags a specific home.

I also wanted their room to be a fun place for them and their friends to hang out.  So we built a rustic basketball goal and hung it on the wall.  

If we had no budget, then I would have gotten them new dressers, but since we do have limits, I just updated this one by giving it a fresh coat of paint. The easiest and cheapest way to update a room is always paint.  If you don't like something, but can't afford a new one, try painting it!  

Tim built and hung wooden pipe shelving above the dresser to display some of their things.

Last Christmas, we gave the boys a punching bag, but never got it hung up so they could use it.  We finally made space in a corner of their bedroom and bought the proper equipment to hang it up.

The wire shelves hold books and toys that otherwise would probably end up on the floor.

So there you have it… our rustic vintage sports boy room! I hope it's something that they will love and enjoy for several years to come. 

Bunk Beds - Pottery Barn Kids
Duvet Covers - Pottery Barn Teen
Curtains - Pottery Barn Kids
Desk/Chair - World Market
Wire Baskets - Restoration Hardware Baby&Child