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By Gabrielle. 

Today, I’m going to tell you a little bit about my friend, Emily Henderson. Do you follow her interior design blog? Emily is a pure delight — she’s funny and super stylish, and she doesn’t take herself too seriously. And Emily happens to be having a pretty spectacular month. Her gorgeous book, Styled, came out last week. Which is a big deal, of course. But an even bigger deal? Her gorgeous daughter was born 2 days ago!

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Happily for us, before Emily went on maternity leave, she sent over her top 5 tips on making a home kid (and family) friendly, with lots of stunning photography to illustrate. I know you’ll love what she has to say, and I highly recommend picking up a copy of Styled. It’s completely packed with helpful, useable advice. Say you’ve picked out your furniture, placed everything just so, but somehow your room still feels unfinished? Styled to the rescue! Emily will teach you how to approach the details of each room so that your house feels polished, thoughtful and totally livable.

And now to Emily’s tips:

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1. Choose furniture that does double duty. Think storage trunks, side tables with drawers, or dressers as changing tables.

Once you have a baby you organically have more “stuff”, it is just the way it goes. From toys, to diapers, to baby clothes, to everything else you will quickly realize that your home looks like it houses 200 babies rather than just your own little bundle of joy. Help combat that overflow of new items, but finding furniture that does double duty and helps to hide away the unwanted clutter when it is not in use. Anything that is functional in more than one way is a winner for me.

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2. Look for heavy, chunky, and not too leggy furniture.

Once babies and kids realize that they have enough strength to push over or destroy anything it will be their sole mission to do that to everything in your house. Try and find pieces that are well grounded or heavy. Opt for chunky coffee tables rather than leggy or tulip based pieces which will prevent them from accidentally/or intentionally knocking a piece over.

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3. Use stain repellent fabric.

Children are messy. Period the end. No matter how careful you may be, it is just inevitable that your cute little toddler is gonna rub his grubby little fingers all over your velvet sofa, or choose to wipe his face with your linen curtains. There are plenty of fabrics that will help to prevent you from wanting to rip your hair out after an accident like this happens. Sunbrella has expanded its inventory to include hundreds of beautiful options that are completely stain repellent and cleanable. In addition to those, leather, ultrasuede, and performance velvet are all great and very forgiving options.

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4. Opt for safe accessories.

Accessories with children are tough. They love to grab (and break) any shiny or small object in sight. So rather than have your precious mementos strew about, stick to safe accessories which include, books, pillows, and blankets. Move your fragile accessories from your coffee table to higher shelves, and keep your lower shelves filled with baskets, books, or empty until your children learn their manners and proper vintage etiquette skills like their mother.

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5. Fall in love with forgiving rugs.

Spilled milk is nothing to cry about unless it spills all over your living room rug, in which case you might want to eradicate all but clear liquids from your fridge. Keep your rugs and your babies happy by using easy to clean and forgiving rugs. Stay away from viscose and silks and opt for quilted hides (I have one in my living room), Persian rugs because of their dark and busy patterns and natural fiber rugs as they are all very easy to clean and or hide a spot in.

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Thank you, Emily, for the helpful tips! I love that quilted hide rug. It’s genius, and I think it would be perfect in my living room. Congratulations on your excellent book, and congratulations on your growing family!

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