Kids can be messy but your home doesn't have to be. Here at Utility we're always looking out for exciting Instagram accounts and blogs to follow and one thing we've noticed is the number of Mums who juggle parenting with maintaining an inspiring, successful blog. Whether it's a family/lifestyle blog, a parenting/Motherhood blog or an interior design blog by someone who has children, the showcase of beautiful homes is testament to the fact that you can make your house family friendly without compromising on style. As Mother's Day approaches, we thought we'd celebrate the influence and success of the Mum blogger community by lifting the lid on their design secrets.
We spoke to 5 Mums with inspiring blogs and gorgeous homes, asking them for their top tip on how to child-proof your home without compromising on style.
Karen Clough is the Manchester based writer behind the award-winning blog Well I guess This Is Growing Up. The blog documents her and her family's journey as they decorate and renovate their first home- a lovely house in South Manchester that, until bought by Karen in 2011, had been untouched since 1940!
An expert in creating a bold look on a budget, Karen's top tip for a child-friendly interior is to embrace colour and chaos:
"Children are messy, there is no getting around it! But that doesn’t mean your home has to look scruffy. For me, what’s worked is embracing the chaos. We have an incredibly colourful interior, particularly in our toddler’s bedroom, so the piles of toys don’t look so completely out of place!
And for kids of any age, I can’t stress the importance of storage enough. Not only is it key to hiding away the less aesthetically pleasing essentials such as nappies, but it is also a great way to relax into a kid-free zone once they’ve gone to bed."
Karen's colourful home is a great example of how you don't have to follow the Scandinavian principle of white living to create a stylish look in your own interior. For fans of bright living her blog is a great one to follow. Her toddler's bedroom (pictured above) is one of her most recent renovations, and you can read all about the bold & bright makeover here. For more style inspo from Karen, follow her on Twitter here and Instagram here.
Blog: Mum in Brum
Natalie Mudd is a freelance writer and communications consultant who balances her career and parenting with writing her award-winning blog Mum in Brum. Her blog covers everything from parenting & interiors to fashion & travel. Her West Midlands home simply oozes with style, so we were so grateful when she shared her wisdom with us.
For Natalie, the key to creating a modern yet child-friendly home is investing in wooden toys & furniture:
"If you want to keep your home looking stylish, it's worth investing in classic wooden toys and furniture for your kids. Especially for those timeless items that they'll probably have for years to come - such as desks, tables, chairs, train sets, dolls houses etc. Bright plastic alternatives can look out of place in your home and it can soon feel pretty chaotic."
As for maintaining her successful blog, it's all about timing:
"I started my blog at the same time as my daughter was born and in the main I've built it up during her nap times. I prefer not to blog whilst she's awake, so I'll instead complete my other tasks and household chores throughout the rest of the day, leaving nap times free for me to blog. You'll hardly ever find us out of the house during a 'nap time'!"
Feeling inspired to find some new wooden furniture that's also child friendly? Check out Natalie's recommendations on stylish home buys for kids. For more advice & inspiration you can follow her on Instagram here and Twitter here.
Julia Bryson is a freelance writer, lifestyle blogger and BBC Journalist who regularly contributes to outlets such as the Huffington Post & Mumsnet. Her blog Rainbeaubelle is an inspiring, wide-ranging blog where she speaks about family life, loss, fashion, food, travel and interiors.
Julia is currently decorating her new house in Yorkshire where she lives with her two young children. Her top tips for keeping her home looking fresh are:
"I like to keep my home looking stylish and fresh but child-friendly too - after all I am outnumbered at home by my kids! I am a big fan of freshly painted walls accessorised with colourful and modern framed prints. Most of the house is decorated in white or pale grey, apart from in my son's room where I have just decorated one wall in a strong duck egg blue and my daughter Flo's which is pale pink.
Making sure you have lots of storage to hide small toys away is a good idea, and I find having some cool storage baskets and bags in each room a help to throw toys in for a quick tidy."
When it comes to balancing her family life and career with keeping up with her blog, Julia says:
"I tend to write my blog in the little free time that I have - it can be on the train on the way to work or in bed at the end of the day! I don't get much time to write but try to make the most of the minutes I do get to myself.
I always take the photographs for my interiors posts on my days off or early on the weekends, when I've had chance to tidy up! It's essential to get lots of natural light, but I never stress if a tiny person creeps in, I love taking photos of them while they play. "
Julia has recently converted her garage into a playroom (featured above in the image). Check out the amazing end result of Project Playroom over on her blog. For more advice & inspo from Julia, follow her on Twitter here and Instagram here.
Amanda Watters is a Kansas City based blogger whose inspiring blog Homesong nurtures an appreciation for things done in the home simply. With three kids, Amanda knows a thing or two about managing and storing toys in a way that maintains the beautiful simplicity of her home (pictured above). Her top tip is:
“Invest in beautiful baskets of all sizes to store all the things you accumulate while raising little ones, from toys, to crafting supplies, to diapers. Natural materials make for beautiful decorations that are purposeful as well. We also have a saying in this house, “Everything has a home.” By giving the things we have and use a place “to live” we find that we're able to cut down on clutter and create a home that is more orderly and therefore feels more comforting and calm."
Homesong's philosophy is Simple things done with care and over on her blog you'll find informative posts about gardening, nature, cooking, crafts, wellness and, in Amanda's words 'what it means to truly make a house a home while riding the waves of motherhood'. For more simple-living inspiration follow her on Instagram here and Twitter here.
Blog: Word Up Mum
Luciana Markey is a Glasgow based blogger and freelance copywriter. In her blog Word Up Mum she writes about parenting, lifestyle and all that goes in between. When it comes to interiors having kids hasn't stopped her from braving the white living, minimalist look. Here's here's how she child-proofs her home without compromising on the Scandinavian style she loves.
"People often get scared when they start to think about styling their house especially when they have kids running around, who let’s face, are not known for their quiet, clean ways but there is no need to hold back on what you love.
When we bought our house in 2015, everyone called me mad: I have white floors, white walls, white kitchen counters and 2 toddler - you get the picture -but no matter the colour of your house, if kids are going to make a mess, they’re going to make a mess. Every few months I get the mini paint roller out and touch up any stubborn marks (read food stains, thanks 2 year old) or scrapes on the walls, redo any chipped skirting boards and my best friend is a magic sponge: it makes my white house whiter.
Apart from my magic sponge, the biggest tip I would offer anyone styling their house with kids is that less is more – especially if you have a toddler that stomps around pretending he is a dinosaur/spiderman/any sort of flying animal: less things to jump off, less things to run into and 100 times easier to keep tidy.
I don’t compromise on style, I pick up amazing mid century classics mixed with my love of all things Scandi, I add accessories from the likes of Hay Design, Fern Living and Muuto to create my personal home style.
My biggest tip of all is that you don’t need to match, buy what you love, a mish mash works, it creates a really fun space and shows your true style".
Looking to renovate or redecorate your family home? Check out our family friendly buys on Pinterest