Child Friendly Interior Surfaces
If you are a parent with a small child, your house will definitely receive plenty of wear and tear. Some wall- and floor-coverings are more durable, easier to clean and more importantly, simply safer for our little ones.
While it may not be practical or affordable to do even a minor remodel of your home, here are a few relatively simple things you can do to make it a better environment for your child:
Choose wall coverings that are durable and easy to clean so that they will continue to look as good below the 3-foot level as they do above it.
• Paint: Nontoxic, water-based acrylic paint will give you a low-luster finish, washability, and chip resistance. For trim and areas that will get a lot of wear and tear, consider a non-toxic, water-based, semi-gloss enamel. Glossy finishes are easier to clean, but every nick or bump will be highlighted by the paint’s sheen. Buy high-quality paints and choose neutral instead of primary colors since they will show smudges the least.
• Wallpaper: As children discover crayons and paint, sometimes they can’t resist a little doodling on the wall. One of the easiest-to-wash wall coverings is fabric-backed vinyl wallpaper. Other relatively durable choices include solid vinyl and vinyl-coated wallpaper. Woven-fabric plastic coverings are also excellent choices for durability. All sponge off easily. A random or free-flowing pattern will help hide dirt and damage.
• Other wall materials: Some children’s room designers choose industrial carpeting on one or more walls. It’s rugged and easy to vacuum clean. It also cuts down on noise and provides a padded, soft surface.
When choosing new flooring with children in mind, decide whether the room or area will need a hard floor covering or soft carpeting.
• Carpeting. This is the friendliest choice for a nursery, family room, living room, hallway, or stairs—wherever comfort, safety, and sound absorption are important. 100 percent nylon carpeting is a good choice for kids because of its durability. Nylon carpets are usually more stain resistant than wool ones, and are less expensive to buy and keep clean. If treated with stain repellent, spills will be even easier to wipe up. Most nylon carpets have a built-in static guard. By law, all carpets are fire retardant.
Pick low cut-pile or short-loop, dense-weave carpets. Don’t choose deep shags, which can conceal dangerous small objects. Choose a mid-range color. A texture or pattern will camouflage stains.
Carpet tiles are another good choice for floors. While expensive, you can install them yourself and if one section gets stained or damaged, you can replace just that piece.
• Resilient flooring such as vinyl, rubber, or linoleum flooring is relatively soft underfoot, yet firm, durable, and easy to clean. A textured surface will guard against slipping.