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The Family Room A Year Later – What We Did Right, And What We Didn’t Need

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The “Family Room” is getting a lot of use and abuse these days (maybe love, too?) from all of us – whether you have kids or not. I designed ours to be highly practical and functional for our family, (and I wasn’t far off this time – YAY) but even so, after living up here I’ve realized some key rules that you can follow for your day to day “family room’ life. The furniture all turned out to be spot on, no regrets, but with real use (and abuse) comes some easy changes that have made our life easier to live in (AND CLEAN OH MY GOSH THE CLEANING). Watch this video walkthrough to really see it in 3-D, as well as see our amazing lego hack/product that Brian bought (and he pats himself on the back daily).

In the opening photo is how she looked for the magazine/blog shoot – an artisanal game of checkers being played near my borrowed Ben Mendansky (that awesome vase that is not kid-friendly or affordable). I did style it as simply as possible for this shoot because an empty table and an empty credenza would have been sad to look at. You style to “tell a story,” but it might not necessarily be the day to day.

If you are just landing here – Hi, welcome – here is what this room looked like 3 years ago when we bought this house and you can read about its evolutions here.

After a year-long renovation last year (finished Christmas 2018) we shot it last July and now live up here indefinitely.

Rule #1 – Give Yourself Ample Hidden Storage

Not shocking, guys. We love those bins under the bench – they are so pretty and simple (and so affordable considering how high end they look and perfectly match the floor). They aren’t all fabric so they are easy to clean (but look better than plastic – no offense to plastic, but these are very visible so I’d still like them to look good). The credenza is GREAT, we absolutely chose the right one I realize now. Having cabinet doors is easy access, with shelves inside that easily house stacking puzzles and games. The drawers are great to hold all drawing supplies and coloring books. But if it was all drawers it wouldn’t have worked as well, but having some is so nice.

Rule #2 – Keep Surfaces Sparse If Not Empty

The beautiful plaster bench “seat” never did enjoy a rear-end (maybe during nye party), instead it’s the official “lego display surface”. Obviously all the legos would get caught in the sheepskin, so we promptly removed it and gave them free reign. Also when we originally designed this fireplace we toyed with putting pretty birch logs underneath – mostly for the dreamy photo, but we also knew it would likely get some practical bin storage (and it has). I know this sounds nuts but we actually researched pretty bin sizes. We wanted to make sure we were making it the perfect height to sit and have the bins slide easily in and out with enough free space, but not too much to look empty.

#3 – Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark

The furniture hasn’t changed at all – it all lent itself so well for a lot of family use. It was the first time that I have done dark furniture on a dark rug – usually opting for more contrast but maybe I’ve been wrong all these years. Dark on Dark makes it much more family friendly and easier to maintain. The rug has held up pretty well, barring some milk pours that I need to simply try to get out which I’m sure aren’t permanent. It was kinda splurgy but if you are in the market I’m highly intrigued by these rugs that get rave reviews and are meant to be washable – made for families – this one could have worked in here, but I LOVE ours, truly.

The sofa is super deep and comfy, but the fabric is pilling more than I would like a year in, and the back cushions fall down more often then I’d like (trying to figure out a hack) but it’s still really deep and cozy (and we need a deep one to watch the TV above the fireplace). Now had I known we were going to live up here I MAY have done sectional with a chaise instead of a sofa, because we love a cuddle corner, but having a deep sofa is pretty great, too and I’m not complaining (just always consider a sectional in a family room).

Rule #3 – Opt For Furniture That Is Easy To Clean Or Looks Good With Age

That coffee table is a vintage Saarinen that I’ve had for years and I can’t quit it because it’s the most kid-friendly surface ever – it’s so heavy (you can’t tip it over), you can get many legs around it due to the pedestal base, its easy to clean and oval – no sharp edges, FTW. And at this point its been really loved (there are tiny sharpie marks all over it). The leather Norrel chair, I mean it’s such a beautiful chair and so far still in perfect condition (probably because it doesn’t face the TV so it gets less use) but will patina so nicely.

Rule #4 – Remove What You Are Always Having to Clean Up – Duh

While I love some decorative pillows and throws, this sofa actually has really floppy loose pillows so we don’t need more and they just became something for me to have to clean up. Our kids haven’t yet expressed their styling DNA genes. We kept the throw on the back of the sofa and it breaks up the dark grey nicely but nixed all the pillows. The side tables (both live edge – one vintage and this affordable one) are both still GREAT, are hard to knock over, are super pretty, and add warmth into the room.

That was us last year, where I had already switched out the dollhouse on the bench and no pillows on the sofa (as you can see it doesn’t need it). And here we are now (after we tidied it up – an act we have to do every. single. day).

That’s right. A kid sitting on the table and me tagging her cast. So much less “stuff” makes it so much easier to maintain. It obviously does get messy, daily, but with the bins and the credenza right there it’s much easier to clean. I also want you to notice that canvas bin by Charlie’s feet in the corner – that is a LEGO cleaner-upper. Basically it’s a bin that has an attached fabric surface so instead of them laying them all out on the carpet (they have to be able to see EVERY SINGLE LEGO), they just pour the bin into the attached bag. It’s confusing but it’s all in the quick walkthrough video we did at the beginning of the post. It’s just genius and has saved us hours of cleaning and battling to clean time. You can get it HERE.

Obviously these are not styled out or professionally shot, but that’s kinda the point these days. Less stuff, less styling, easier to live. Someday when a guest comes over, I’ll likely make it look prettier because it makes me happy to do so, but for now, it works great.

The kids have a lot of free reign in here because it can take it. We got rid of any lamps they can knock off, but we kept two that give off good light – the standing lamp in the corner and the black lamp on the credenza.

Also, a lot of you were concerned that our TV was too high and it’s really not, I promise (and yes that piece of blown-out white art is The Frame, the world’s prettiest TV). Maybe it’s because the sofa is deep and we can really lay back, but it’s GREAT and not too high. I’ll often bring that ottoman over to be able to put our feet up (thus kinda wishing we had a sectional in here). We could opt for an ottoman instead of the coffee table, but so many games and drawings get done here.

There she is. Finally, an update post where nothing has really changed, just things removed for an easier life. At times I do miss having pretty things around, but knowing that I just have to put them back on a daily basis isn’t worth it. Besides I can stare at my pretty things in other rooms, ones where the kids and family don’t have such free reign.

Question for you – Are we the only ones that let the kids eat on the sofa? Follow up question – Are we the only ones that sometimes lay down towels when it’s something messy like rice or red pasta? When will they get proper eating skills and know how to bring a spoon or forkful of pasta from bowl to mouth without the threat of spilling? Asking for a mom…

Styled Photos From: Mountain House Reveal: How We Designed Our Super Kid-Friendly Family Room

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Kim B

What a fun post. You’ve got me down the rabbit hole at Ethnicraft (after your mention of how happy you are with your credenza from them). As they are a company started in the Netherlands, and we’re practically next door here in France, I was excited to see they have lots of outlets. Their furniture is gorgeous but my budget might allow me to indulge in one of their gorgeous trays — although I wish I could have everything!

So glad your family room is working so well for y’all in this time when you really need it to! And I’m sure all the parents reading the post are ordering that LEGO collector asap!!!

Liz

Great post. Like seeing how you guys really live with young kids. Since we got a new sofa we haven’t left them eat on the sofa much. If they do we put an old blanket down!

Rachel

This was a great post – very relatable. I ended up moving all our sofa cushions (after being sick of constantly cleaning them up) to a big pile in the corner of their playroom and they LOVE it. They get used for burrows and roads and mountains and hiding pirate treasure and general jumping on.

I only let my kids eat at the table but that’s because where I live (Australia – land of crazy insects) ants are a big problem (not sure if that will be a summer issue for you) and they go crazy for even the tiniest little crumb – eating at the table means less cleaning because we have to clean the floor after every meal.

Christine Salek

Take it from a 67 year old Mom with grown kids…eating on the sofa is fine. Mine have wonderful table manners and have always been able to go to a restaurant ..but my husband is a dinner at his recliner kind of guy and that set that set the stage for the rest of the family (unless my mother came to dinner then we all sat at the table !)

Ally

Something to try on the Sharpie marks on the coffee table: when my daughter was a piano student she thought it would help her studies to Sharpie each letter name on each white key. Horrors and anger! Each and every cleaning product was a fail, resulting in more anger. The surprising ultimate solution was a simple pencil eraser. Now not a shadow remains, and she’s a very accomplished pianist 🙂

Jenna

My son just attacked our performance velvet couch and our acrylic coffee table with a sharpie. The eraser worked on the table, but using rubbing alcohol on both surfaces REALLY helped!

Cari

It can depend on the surface. I teach K and when sharpie gets on surfaces the best remover was hand sanitizer! Not sure if you want to give up some of your hand sanitizer for this! 😉

Emma

It’s the alcohol in the hand sanitizer that removes it. No need to waste hand sanitizer.

Hanna M

Goo Gone is my secret weapon for removing permanent marker.

Julie

I just removed sharpie from a Duplo this morning with toothpaste! Thank you random internet post for making me a hero!

This post made me tear up. I am having comparison fatigue. I think I have been spending way too much time on insta. It seems like everyone has a beautiful expensive, perfectly styled home and even if my kids didn’t live here I could reach the perfection of those spaces. Its so nice to see your stunning room look like little people live there and occasionally destroy it.

Lia

If it makes you feel better, my living room looks like some kind of tornado earthquake struck, ripped all the couch cushions off, flung them into the middle of the room, liberally sprinkled toys over every surface along with various snack wrappers (is it eating on the couch if the snacks are eaten on the couch cushions on the floor?) and topped things off with a large cardboard box covered in tape and greasy handprints and several pairs of toddler panties of questionable cleanliness.

Twenty minutes into being quarantined with three kids (including twin three year olds – literally the worst age ever for this and there’s freaking TWO OF THEM), two working parents, and homeschool (“school”), I took all my expectations into the back yard, strangled them, then buried them in the corner where my feral children now prefer to pee and proceeded to embrace the mayhem. And I do NOT turn my camera on for Zoom meetings. When this is all over we are 100% going to burn the house down and start over.

Kelly

Haha. I have a just turned 4 year old. (And a 9 year old who is much more functional). She is adorable but steadily driving me crazy and destroying my house in quarantine. I like the idea of burning the house down and starting over!

J

We are not stuffy whatsoever, but we are sticklers for eating only in the eating areas. (Except water and popcorn on a movie night). I have enough cleaning to do in the kitchen and I see the crumbs and spills that happen there…I just don’t want to be doing food cleanup all over the house. It keeps my life simpler and they can manage. BUT then on, say, super bowl Sunday when I bring out all the appetizers to the coffee table, they freak out with glee. It’s fun that it’s a special event!

Family room looks pretty! I need to look for a shallow credenza for games

Karla

My kids are going on 21 and 18 this fall. I figured out pretty early on that it was alot easier and made everyone happier if I decorated for real living. It is possible to have comfortable look decent and in my opinion is more welcoming if a home looks like you can truly chill when you walk in.

CATHERINE Zea

This post describes me, when I saw design pictures I used to dream with the rooms, but I always thought that jut aren’t for my house because I have kids.

Vera

Thanks for this post!! I always thoroughly enjoy when you write about how you’re using a space some time later. It’s both lovely to see the original styled shots and very fun to see the updated tour.

This would make a great series where you (and the team members who’ve done makeover takeovers) present one room at a time. It’s content you could produce during quarantine, a chance to reshow those gorgeous styled shots in a fresh context.
Thanks for continuing to post such happy content – we all need it right now!

Sahaja

Yes to these updates!! I’d love to see that for Emily and any of the other staff we have seen MOTOs of.

Emily, are you the only one with kids, currently?

It was really truly nice to see kid friendly updates. Those Target bins are wonderful, btw.
My etagere in the corner of the living room has become a truck parking garage. 🙂 The left side of the credenza, that used to hold vases, now holds crafting equipment. The drawers still hold china, but luckily my son hasn’t been into opening them, yet. What I’ll do when that happens, I don’t know!

Lisa

Yes to more posts like these. Such a great reminder that the brilliant After we admire is actually a moment and sometimes needs rethinking. Our house is tiny, so I’m constantly reevaluating space usage, and right now toy storage for our 3 year old.

I have a 12-year-old and I keep a blanket on the new couch so he can eat his breakfast there. He isn’t messy but things still get spilled.

NCC

I love posts about how rooms get changed around/lived in later on! We’re pretty strict about meal times (breakfast time floats depending on when we wake up, but the other two meals and two snack times are set) so my two preschoolers usually just watch a movie on the sofa after or before food times. I have to admit though that I’ve relaxed this a bit while at home these past couple of months. Never milk in the living room, though, haha! Just water because milk spills just aren’t my favourite to clean up.

We do still have to remind the two-year-old constantly to lean over the bowl, rather than trying to get her to not spill food while it’s going from bowl to mouth. Maybe just remind them (a lot) to eat over the bowl when eating cereal/pasta/rice?

Tanya

Great post! Love all your tips, and yes, we eat on the couch and lay the blanket for messy food! Thanks for easing a bit of guilt. I have a question on this topic: we live in a small house and have maxed out on storage for my daughter’s games and art supplies. We now have a few piles hiding in our spare room and living room, and it’s making me claustrophobic. Any tips on how to create more storage. We’ve got bins and baskets going already. Her closet and our credenza are maxed out. We routinely donate used toys. Any other tips are greatly appreciated!

Lisa

As an artist, I run into this problem all the time. Love to see a series of posts on putting together a basic art studio in a small space.
From my experience, repurposing office and kitchen furniture can work well. Each artist has different supplies to store.

A few ideas:
-rolling cart (IKEA has a simple one) to keep by her workspace for mark making tools stored vertically and in containers she can pull out onto her workspace.
-a medium height dresser with shallow drawers for stacks of paper, in-process work, and trays for painting etc.
-bookshelf for storing pads of paper, inspiration books, and stacked games.

MKW

We are team-eat-in-kitchen/dining room. It’s allowed us to keep our furniture looking decent. Early on we bought good quality furniture when kids were young. They are now young adults and furniture is not trashed.

Patricia

Folex Carpet Spot Remover (you can find it on Amazon) is my jam for all the mystery spills my husband and grandchildren leave behind. Although it did fail to fully lift the vomit stain left by my concussed sister (recovering from a fall in Nepal). She thought that orange soda would just hit the spot. It didn’t. Finally two tries with a commercial rug cleaner did it.
About the sofa back pillows; most pillows have a zipper, you can open the zipper and add polyfiber filling to re-stuff the pillows to the amount you want. It will look lumpy at first but will get beaten back into shape with use.
I love the idea of a corner pile of decorative pillows for kids to burrow into.

So glad to see how you use your spaces in real life! You are a brilliant stylist but rooms to be lived in have to be much, much simpler unless you have the fortitude to move and dust and arrange things endlessly….. I do not! I have been stumped by your coffee table placement in many of your rooms – so far out from the seating! I see how that works HERE when the kids are using it as a play table, but you must pull it towards the sofa to make it functional otherwise?

And Brian SHOULD be patting himself on the back for finding the amazing lego ?hammock? thing. What a problem-solver!

Sahaja

I did notice that coffee table float, too. How does that work?? Maybe it’s really the side tables for drinks, etc. We don’t even have a coffee table in our current space.

Cris S.

One of our very few pieces of new furniture that we got about 2 1/2 years ago is a custom sofa. So, no, we aren’t eating dinner on it. But of course, as time goes on, things loosen up a little and when we went into quaren-time I knew the kids were going to be snacking on there a lot. I found a HUGE linen curtain I’d bought dirt cheap at a Restoration Hardware outlet (it went from a couple hundred to $20 or less) that somehow exactly matches the color of the couch and put that over the back and tucked it way way down and then up and over the bench seat, where it waterfalls down to the bottom of the sofa. It is so big that it doesn’t even budge. I am much more relaxed about the snacking now.

The best rule ever is food stays in the kitchen/dining area (for everyone). So many spills happen otherwise. Kids have totally complied and yell at us (parents) if we break the rule. Grandparents have to follow too !

Roberta Davis

Yay! Real life! You’re right- you can dress it up when company comes. Otherwise, it’s for family living. And I SO agree with you about ease of cleaning!

Jeanne

You mentioned sagging suchions. Here’s a link to what looks like comprehensive and usable info on that very subject … https://thistlewoodfarms.com/how-to-fix-sagging-couch-cushions/

Kylie

The pop up ads on your site are out of control.

Rusty

Ads mean we can continue to lather ourselves up in enjoying the great content despite Covid-19 ravaging any semblance of ‘normal’.
I enlarge the content so the ads are squashed off to one side and I don’t see them.
Hey … it’s a business and we don’t have to pay, so I’m really grateful.

Kara

Where is that blanket from??! It looks amazing!! I am all about comfort and practicality these days!!

Not related to this post, but I had to have a cast for two months in September. The dryer with a directed head nozzle set on cold aimed down my arm truly helped with the itchiness, and taking ice packs or baggies filled with ice and either putting them in a sling and then putting my arm in, or wrapping the ice to my cast with plastic wrap helped IMMENSELY when being outside. That cast gets so hot, it was a way to avoid the uncomfortableness of heat in the cast without getting it wet and still being able to enjoy the outside!

I also kept a thin sock / wrap wrapped around the outside a lot of the times to keep the cast material from catching on all the things, and to soften the ache that came from it rubbing against my own body when doing things! It took awhile for that to bug me, but the inner padding wore thin by the end and the cast material would scratch my super thin skin that it was against.

Sahaja

The blanket is from Target. It’s linked in the post Emily did called “everyday things we use” or something like that.

Kristen

I love this post 🙂 I was just this morning looking at the first year of Domino mag (omg so good) and remembering how real and attainable it all felt. This feels like that to me. Totally random but I wanted to comment on Ruggable…I don’t have them but I’ve used them for a few clients (and tested them out in my sister with her giant dog) they are really great! I was worried that it would be hard to get the two pieces together (it’s not) or that they would shrink in wash (they didn’t) or that they would look cheap (they don’t) it’s a few years in and going strong, plus they sell the toppers separately, so you can change out if you get tired of it or move or you k is whatever….they are not super thick, so in an area where more plushness is needed I’ve used eco felt rug pads. I’m really curious about their new shag option if anyone has tried it!

Melanie

We occasionally let our boys eat on the sofa (family movie night or sports on tv). We throw down a bedsheet first and sit on that. The sheet is solely for this purpose and I always keep it stashed in the tv credenza. My boys shake out the crumbs (outside) after using it. I throw it in the wash after several uses. Easy peasy!

Rusty

Yay! The video behaved itself!!! I love love love the pared back nature of the posts and the imperfection of photos. Mostly, I love how real you’re being about photo shoots vs IRL. Bravo! On my Samsung tablet, lately, the titles of the post (within the pic) do not display so all the words can be seen. Like they’ve been trimmed on one side or the other. This has happened for the last several…definitely for over a week now. Just thought you might like to know. Once I click and open the post, they’re fine. It’s on the overview page before I select the blog post I want to read first. Emily, I showed my partner the pic of you all wearing your face masks at the hospital (they reminded me immediately of your old bedhead!), because I want to get us some. Here in Australia, we don’t have to wear them and are actually told by the experts that (in our country’s case … soooo immensely grateful that we went early and hard and have flattened the curve hugely!) they may make us less vigilant about not touching faces, because people tluch faces more to adjust them and, that… Read more »

Margaret

I’m a CNA who has to wear a volunteer-made mask for 8 hour shifts (I’ll spare you the PPE-shortage rant. You’re welcome.)
Tie masks are much more comfortable for the long haul. They are fiddly to put on, and a nightmare to wash unless you use a lingerie bag.
Ear-loop masks are much easier to pop on and off, and they do not do the copulating-spider thing in the wash. They are much harder to get to fit correctly, and can make your ears raw with prolonged use. If the fabric isn’t pre-shrunk this will get worse over time.
Let the length of time you need to wear one make the choice for you. I wear ties at work and ear-loops for quick trips to the farmers’ market and food co-op.

Rusty

Oh, thank you sommuch for your feedback! 🙂 It makes sense.
I totally get the shortage of PPE scenario. In fact, Aussies are gobsmacked and dismayed at what you guys are going through. We also had a shortage here, but now have plenty, thank goodness.
Stay safe and stay healthy. xx

The copulating spiders cracked me up!!!

stacey

My hair is fine and curly and my tie mask was slipping something awful til I started using hair clips to fasten it to my hair. Not high fashion but comfortable.

Beth Cote

Yes, we also are a lay down the towel under and sometimes over the chair couch etc. I like to have our grandchildren eat with us all and this allows for no major mishaps. Because you know” it is never a party until someone spills something”. I also have pictures of all the cousins who where 1 at the time eating spaghetti in the bathtub with their diapers on, on one vacation with an air b and b rental. Because, spaghetti, toddlers and a white rug. It was one of the best photos ever.

Paula

Where is the white coffee table from????

Paula

She said it was vintage Saarinen.

Bridget Geiger

Okay so this comment has nothing to do with your family room…I just wanted to say thanks for your previous ‘favorite things’ post…I purchased the Brooklinen sheets and I’m so very happy with them. They are exactly what I’ve been looking for for years!

Suzanne

I wanted to be an “only eat at the table” family, but my daughter and husband outnumber me. A lot of vacuuming cushions and Folex cleaner are needed.

I love seeing you cleaned off your surfaces, because styling coffee tables and credenzas with kids is difficult. I finally realized that now that my daughter is 16, I don’t need clear surfaces anymore, and I’ve tried on my styling hat. And I still use baskets to collect blankets and family games, so they can be stylish and nearby. I still use trays to corral things to make it easier to clear off for a game or puzzle, but with a 16 year old, those days are less common. Finally, that LEGO bin is brilliant! We always used trays or very large rimmed cookie sheets to do a set at a time, but that worked less well for the freestyle LEGO building.

Jessica

This is just the post I needed! We moved into a new house a few months ago, and my husband and I have been so stumped as to how we should set up our living room since we are home 24/7 now. Two kids (5 and 2) make it quite a challenge. Great tips!

Amy

This was a fun read. I love how you write, and I love these uber-practical posts highlighting which things worked/held up over time and which did not.

We don’t let our kids eat on the couch because I feel like my whole house is already one big, inexplicable crumb bomb. I remember in my pre-child days going over to the houses of people with kids and wondering why every surface was oddly sticky…fast forward a decade and I totally get it. We occasionally make exceptions for pizza and movie night, but I often try to convince them it’s more fun to eat picnic-style on the floor.

Elizabeth H.

This is my first time to comment on the website… but I have been an avid follower for a while now and try to convince my friends that you are the best blog to follow 🙂

Thanks for this post. I have two littles (1 yr old and 3 yr old), and as much as I LOVE seeing your content about beautiful styling and furniture, I know it’s not the most practical use of my family’s time/budget right now. I’m more of a minimalist at this point in my life just because it makes clean up a little easier in the daily chaos of hot wheels and uncapped markers.

At the same time, I love beautiful aesthetics and you have done a great job of making both beauty and practicality happen! You are inspirational… thanks for the daily “pick me ups” I get to enjoy on your blog!

Kira Mead

I love a gorgeous, perfectly styled space but it’s also really fun (and helpful) to see real shots of how you live now and what is working. Especially like seeing smart storage solutions (like that Lego bin) that are about keeping a house that feels good for kid and adults. Always such good ideas and content.

AmyT

Also, highly recommend SWOOP bags for legos too- no attached bin, but same functionality. BEAUTIFUL, design-y colors and US-made: https://www.swoopbags.com/ Would be great for any playroom or kids room, plus there are smaller ones too for other toys.

Lisa N

We transitioned our 4 year old to eating on the floor with a blanket under him once we got a nicer (lighter) sofa, but we still don’t allow pasta or anything that would immediately stain should it spill. We call it a carpet picnic and he loves it.

Lovely post as always Emily! Thanks for the update! Can you remind us what your favorite sectional is? I believe you discussed it in another post but I can’t seem to put my finger on it! Thank you!

Isla

Yes, we do the towel on the sofa thing too!! 🥰 Some of my favourite childhood memories are when the grown ups let us do ordinary things upside down for fun x

?

I always see you posting pics with shoes on in the house. Doesn’t that gross you out? I mean, like why bother putting a sheet on the couch when probably have feces on the carpet?

Paula

I hate loose cushion backs on a sofa. You’re constantly adjusting them, and they drive me crazy. Last sofa we bought I insisted on a tight back. I’m not fond of a deep sofa either. I have short legs so there’s no way for me to sit on it and be comfortable without several throw pillows to prop up my back. Or else I have to have my legs up, and I take up the space of 2 or 3 people. I hate my legs dangling, too. Sigh.

I always thought the dark-on-dark was nice. Glad you like it, too!

I grew up hearing the phrase “put a towel down!” My brother or I would go grab one, lay it out on the floor and then get our dinner or bowl of ice cream or whatever we were eating in front of the TV that evening. I say the same thing to my kids. They can eat on the couch, but as much as I can remember, I give them a kitchen towel or remind them to put a towel down to catch spills and crumbs. Eating in the living room is just fun!

Karyn

Where the kids eat should depend on how messy they are. I let my son and his friends eat stuff on the sofa that was not spill-able…like pasta with red sauce and things of that nature. I suppose that stuff could be cleaned up but…why?? Plus, if they were allowed to eat things like that at our house, they might expect to do the same at their friends.

Lynn W

Love this and thanks for some real life stories. It’s ok to sit on the coffee table and eat most things on the couch. Def spread out a beach towel or even cover with sheet!
Take care up there and hope Birdie’s arm is doing ok 😊

JJNCC

Have you ever mentioned where the art on the wall between the kitchen and dining room is from?

Nicole

I also have small children. Throw pillows=hahaha. *But* I have used Museum Putty to secure breakables to bookshelves and lamps to tables, and it has worked beautifully.

priscilla

Way back when you created this lovely room, I had to chuckle at the two seats by the fireplace. No one will actually sit there, I smugly mused to myself. Live and learn, eh? Still, it looks like you all are having a fab confinement! xo

Thanks for posting this REALNESS. I’m a designer and mom and know that what looks good for a photo and what is actually practical for a family. It’s really nice to see this post and be assured that it’s the furniture and lighting choices that really matter and the more decorative stuff is kinda an added bonus.

Maki

Hi Emily,
We don’t let our daughter eat on our fabric couch. We are replacing it soon with a leather couch and have divergent views on the food question. I’m cool with food near leather but my wife worries about risk to the rug.

Btw some site tech feedback:
My wife and love your site and visit it often. We find it difficult and sometimes impossible to play the videos on an iPad. We have a new and a 5 y/o iPad, and we set it so ads are always visible. However the videos are very glitchy or uncontrollable, or sometimes don’t render.
If all the video content were also available on your YouTube channel that would really help. The one today kept taking us to an Adobe site when tapped, with no success. We finally got it to play after switching to the Chrome app instead of Safari.

ps- thanks also for the list of family movies.

TeraB

I love this. My kids are the same age (and gender) as yours. I have also ditched all throw pillows and the coffee table is completely unstyled (and ready for Legos builds!). BTW, don’t know if you have watched Lego Masters, but it has been a great family show for us during quarantine!

Omg! I am so happy I read this! Was beginning to think my children (8,6,3) were the only ones who are literally allergic to throw cushions anywhere but the floor. I think I counted 12 times I lovingly placed the cushions back in their places, and the constant fort making 😳 it’s out of control! I might try a cushion removal for the day, out for adult time policy, this could be a game changer! So simple 🤦🏼‍♀️ And of course my children eat on couch, and of course we use towels for pasta (and ps, if you wait 15-20 min to sweep/vacuum, rice and peas are sooooo much easier to clean up 💁🏼‍♀️)

Oh and who makes that cute crop sweatshirt you’re wearing in the video Emily?

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