How To Create a Room With Family-Friendly Style

Blogger Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom shares her tried-and-true tricks for a well-designed home that's kid-friendly, too.

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As a highly regarded blogger, professional designer and mother of six, Gabrielle Blair has made it her mission to live at the place where fashion meets family.

“From the minute [my first son] was born, I questioned the need for style in the midst of sleepless nights, baby blues, and lots of diapers, and made a decision to merge motherhood with smart design,” Blair has said. It’s this “merge” that is also the focus of her blog, Design Mom. The site’s mission? To explore “the intersection between design and motherhood.”

For example, while Blair’s home is still idol-worthy (that’s her living room, above), she admits that, these days, she is more likely to choose function over form, and the practical over the precious. “I like the people in my home to be the most prized things there, so I look for pieces that I love, but that I don’t treasure so much that I would be angry if something happened to them,” she says.

During a recent conversation with Blair, we got her to reveal three of her tried-and-true tips for building a space that the whole family will love. Here’s what she had to say.


Design-Mom--Living-room-ver1_circleOrganize the chaos.
“Adding a child to your family can bring a hefty amount of mental chaos to your life, so I like to counteract that chaos by simplifying my family’s living space,” Blair says. “With every child we’ve added, we’ve de-cluttered and minimized in response. This allows us to spend more time taking care of our kids, instead of taking care of our ‘stuff.’”
2_circleChoose pieces that age well. 
“One of my favorite recommendations for families with small kids it to choose pieces that already show some wear and tear,” Blair says. “Maybe it’s a bench made from reclaimed wood, or a vintage leather armchair that already has its fair share of scratches, or a dinner table with an industrial look. That way, when your kids add their inevitable smudges and stains, it just adds to the patina!”
3_circleAct like a kid.
“When the kids are little, consider the room from their vantage point,” suggests Blair. “Get down on the floor and see what they see. Is there art at their eye level? Can they reach the toys, the books, the child-friendly musical instruments? Is it easy for them to be creative and make healthy messes? Making a house easy for little ones to live in, makes the parents’ lives easier as well.” sign_off
 Shop the look: Gabrielle Blair’s  curated collection for Joss & Main launches Tuesday, April 29, 2014 at 9:00 p.m.
-Kaitlin Madden

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