How to Create a Sophisticated & Family Friendly Home

Rebecca Hays
credit-Rebecca Hays Design

Creating a sophisticated home aesthetic when you have children, especially younger children, might seem like an impossible task. But, it can be done!

Rebecca Hay of Rebecca Hay Designs shares with Carpet One how to marry the idea of quality design with a family-friendly environment.

Ask yourself: What is the purpose of the room?

Rebecca Hays
credit-Rebeca Hays Designs

Start by rethinking the purpose of the rooms in your house, and change them up to suit your everyday living. Planning the space in your home can be a struggle. Start by considering how you actually, rather than should, use the space. These two perceptions can be vastly different. With careful observation and a little thinking outside the box, you can redo a layout so that it fits your modern lifestyle. I continually remind my clients that how they think a room should function is not always the most efficient way for it to function.

Change the purpose of a room

Rebecca Hays
credit-Rebecca Hays Designs

The longer you live in a space, the less you see its flaws and how it may not be functioning as well as it could for your family. As a designer, I often consider changing out the purpose of a room to suit my clients’ lifestyle. That’s exactly what we did for this bright and airy home. The community is north of the city in the heart of green trees about a stone’s throw from modern conveniences, a perfect place for a young professional family to put down roots. It provides an easy commute to the big city but with loads of space to grow. The home needed to function for the modern-day couple with kids.

In this house, we swapped out the traditional living room at the front of the house for a home office with custom built-in shelves. Many modern families no longer have the need for a formal sitting area, and, although it’s nice to look at, it’s not practical. We added some extra personality by cladding the backs of the shelves in a rich navy grasscloth wallpaper to add depth. The cabinets below can hide toys or board games for occasional playtimes as well. This small, sunny zone is now a convenient place to sit back and read a book or squeeze in a conference call to the office. Another great example of repurposing a room is the area that was intended to be the formal dining area. We converted into an open space for entertaining instead. A great eating nook already existed, adjacent to the kitchen, where the family enjoyed all their meals together, as well as island stools. So the dining room felt redundant for a young modern family. The grand piano steals the show. Just because the room isn’t being used the way the builder intended it to be used doesn’t make it wrong. It makes it yours!

Blend traditional and contemporary designs

Rebecca Hays
credit-Rebecca Hays Design

It’s a modern age, and family homes need to adapt to the times, not only with open-concept layouts but also with style and furnishings. This is why I favor a mix of old and new. Get rid of your old stained college futon! Nobody wants to sleep on it anyway. But it doesn’t all have to be new and modern. Traditional and contemporary design elements when blended together create a friendly and inviting atmosphere without feeling like you robbed a big-box store. As a designer, my goal is always to create spaces that feel both modern and classic and are comfortable. In this home, we achieved that feel using contemporary fabrics and traditional architectural details, such as the crown molding. Family life calls for a home that is both fun and functional for social gatherings while offering quiet areas, such as the fireplace, to enjoy curling up with a book.

Sophisticated design is easy, but high-end design that is also practical can seem impossible. Just remember that family-friendly homes require flexibility. I always recommend going with a wipeable, washable, neutral paint, like Benjamin Moore’s AURA line. It has a lux matte finish that is also easy to wipe dirty fingerprints off of.  Artwork also adds loads of personality to your home. It should evoke a mood but, more important, is how it makes you feel. Select art that speaks to your soul. We chose some playful pieces for this home, such as the Campbell’s Soup artwork.

Add personality to your space

credti-Rebecca Hays Design

Bedrooms are a great opportunity to add personality and have a little fun. The nursery is playful with adorable fox-patterned wallpaper and modern furnishings with cute little accents. Also sporting fun wallpaper, the kids’ room has a unique “secret” closet/den where homework can be done and clothes can hang in the custom wall closet. Adding a sliding barn door to separate the two areas allows you to hide any teenage mess! Built-ins are a great way to improve functionality by creating dedicated storage. We design built-in cabinets and closets every chance we get. They elevate the look of the home while adding much-needed functional storage.

Get more tips here.


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