Furniture that Goes Well with Kids

Oct 11 2012

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Kids of all ages can be clumsy, reckless, curious, and any combination of the three. You can’t be there all the time to supervise them (with technology, this might go overboard real fast), but the least you can do is keep the living environment at home as safe as possible. This should be a paramount concern for all parents and guardians.

Here are a few guidelines when looking over your current home furniture’s and decorations, or when shopping around to buy new ones.

It Should Last
Nowadays, with just about every consumer product rigged to break, crumble or even explode after a couple of years or less of proper use (see planned obsolescence). There are hardly any “durable goods” that will last long enough to be passed on to the next generation. When your grandpa tells you that things aren’t built the way they used to be, he’s probably right.

Household furniture’s are not exempt to this “built not to last” paradigm. I might give electronics the benefit of the doubt for dying out early (we seem to have been convinced that we should always “upgrade” our gadgets, anyhow). Things like couches, cabinets, and tables should not be part of this rapid replacement cycle.

Good furniture should be able to take regular use, and since we’re talking about kid-friendly furniture, a bit of abuse as well. We’re not expecting something as resilient as ancient Chinese pottery that’ll last thousands of years, but it’s not a good thing when you realize that you’re replacing broken furniture way too often.

Avoid the Pointy, Sharp, and Jagged

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This is pretty self-explanatory. Some toddlers (and a few teenagers) have this tendency of butting their heads against things, so you should definitely take this tip seriously. If you have furniture that poses this kind of threat, find ways to remove the sharp edges, or put some foam paddings over the offending corners.

Watch Out for Corrosion and Flakiness

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Little children and pets will also test their teeth on the furnishings. A diet of paint chips, varnish scrapings and rust is not healthy. You may not be able to tell immediately when you buy a new piece of furniture, but keep a vigilant eye. Cheaper stuff tends to rust or have low quality paint/varnish, but even the pricier accouterments might suffer from this.

Do your research on the internet, read the reviews, and if you plan to do a little DIY-ing and painting your own furnishings (or you’re going to have some custom pieces made), find the right paints and varnishes that are the least toxic and harmful.

Stay Away from the Expensive Stuff

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Suspend your aspirations for crazy-expensive furniture, at least until the kids leave for college. The child is infinitely creative and impish, and will always find a way to deface or vandalize your treasured possessions. Most of them don’t do it out of malice, they’re just being the playful, curious beings that should be at their age.

Stick to cost-effective furniture that won’t hurt your budget. There are many creative ways to spruce up your interiors without having to buy overpriced designer furniture or priceless antiques. Don’t just snap up anything cheap from a swap meet or thrift store just because it’s cheap, however. Consult the tips above and see if these second-hand items are safe for your children.

Keep Them Clean

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Whatever kind of furnishings you have, it’s always a good idea to keep them clean. Use a cleaning agent with antibacterial properties, and especially for those items with upholstery, make certain that no bed bugs or other vermin are making their home in them. I know it’s hard work (you could hire a cleaning lady if you can afford it), but nobody ever said being a good parent was easy. If you need some help, you could get yourself one of those intelligent vacuum cleaners to help you get dust from those hard-to-reach places underneath heavy furniture.
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