Interior designer Bria Hammel shares her strategies for creating rooms that can stand up to a family.
1. Mix it up. When choosing upholstered pieces, mix patterns and colors. “It hides more,” Hammel said. “It doesn’t have to be so perfect.”
2. White done right. If you love the look of white or light-colored sofas and chairs, don’t be afraid to embrace that palette, but do choose tough, easy-to-clean fabrics.
3. Distressed is best. When choosing wood furniture, “make sure there’s some distressing, so if it gets nicked, it looks like the character of the table,” Hammel said. Textured matte finishes are generally more “life-friendly” than smooth, shiny surfaces.
4. Catchall. Use decorative containers to hold kids’ toys, pets’ toys and other small items that create visual clutter. Hammel likes storage baskets. “It’s a great way to have the house stay tidy but still cute.”
5. Rug rules. When choosing a rug, make sure it will be easy to spot-clean. “Ours you can clean with Woolite,” she said of her Brooke & Lou rug collection ($285 to $2,325).
6. Consider wallpaper. “People are so afraid of it,” Hammel said, but it’s more forgiving than paint, especially in high-traffic areas such as mudrooms. “It hides fingerprints on walls,” she said of patterned wallcoverings. “We had to paint our staircase twice, because of fingerprints.”