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Home Decor for Today's Active Family

"I feel sorry for Amber," Lauren said. "She can't play in her room since her mom redecorated it. It's too perfect, and she doesn't want to mess it up. I like my room much better."

That was an eye-opener for me. Amber's mother is a dear friend and a very talented decorator. Her house is stunning, but my daughter is right; it's a showplace, not a home where one can relax and be comfortable. My friend's decorating always inspires me to spruce up my own home, but now I see the value of sticking with family-friendly décor, so that our home can be enjoyed by every family member.

Talking Trends
Families want their homes to reflect their individual tastes and personalities and to be comfortable for private time and entertaining. They also want an organized and easy-to-maintain home.

Don Prather of Prather Construction in Valley, Ala., says that in today's construction and remodeling projects, active families eschew the traditional formal living and dining rooms. "Today's active family favors a larger gathering room, incorporating the kitchen, eating and living areas in one open and flowing space," he says. "Island counters with attached dining bars centered in the gathering room are very popular designs for busy families." Families want a comfortable way to enjoy time together, preparing and eating their meals and relaxing in their living area.

Lynda Oswald's household in Port Huron, Mich., includes three generations of family members. "I think what a family needs in order to be sane is simply a place to put things," she says. "We could all be happier if we always knew where our stuff was but didn't have to look at it lying around cluttering our lives. It just feels good to have clear counters and tabletops."

The key features of family-friendly décor involve arranging your home to encourage family time; choosing durable fabrics, flooring, paint, furnishings and products to suit your family's needs and budget; and creating attractive storage, organizing systems and multi-purpose furnishings.

Consider these décor suggestions for your home and active family lifestyle:

Beneath Your Feet
Choose from vinyl, laminate, linoleum, stone, tile, wood, concrete or carpet. One of the best choices is laminate because it is stain resistant, durable, inexpensive and easy to maintain. If you choose carpet, try a tight Berber weave made from stain-resistant material like Olefin. Your local hardware store can tell you the pros and cons of various materials.

On Your Walls
You need durable, washable paint on your walls. Regal® Matt Finish from Benjamin Moore offers the beauty of a soft, stylish, scrubbable, flat finish in an endless array of colors. Check your local Benjamin Moore retailer or visit BenjaminMoore.com. Other brands offer washable paints as well. Visit your local home supply store to view a full selection. Once you've painted. Let your child create seasonal art galleries. It boosts a child's self-esteem when parents proudly display their creations. Natural materials collected while taking a family walk can be used to reflect seasonal themes. Leaves, flowers, nature rubbings and photographic collages are great ways to create art from nature.

Furnishing Touches

Choose sturdy, well-built furnishings with finishes, fabrics and colors that will survive rough treatment and that are easily cleaned. Treat your upholstered furniture with Scotchgard Upholstery Cleaner and Protector. You can find this in most any grocery or hardware stores. Slipcovers on sofas and chairs are also great for easy care and cleaning. Don't forget to anchor large furniture to the walls for stability.

Make your shared spaces inviting for each family member. Encourage your family to spend quality time together enjoying movies, crafts or playing indoor games. Decorative game tables offer great storage for your family's favorite games while providing an easily accessible place to play.

Create efficient systems for keeping sports gear, toys, books, supplies and clothing organized. This helps motivate the family to remain active. You can find great storage systems online, at home organizing stores and mass merchants nationwide.

Creating an attractive, functional and low-maintenance home gives the whole family more time together for social, physical and community activities, and having more time together strengthens the family. Have fun creating your family-friendly home!

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