Keeping your home stylish while raising a family

When we moved two years ago, it felt like we had made a transition.
The kids were 5,8 and 11 at the time and while they still played with toys, it wasn't like the days when they were toddlers when I transformed our formal dining room into a play room.

We no longer had plastic kitchens and bins of toys lining the shelves in our dining room.
Probably because we now had a bonus room with a HUGE walk in closet that stored all of the kids toys.
Our kids had gotten to the point that they weren't home all day every day, and they didn't need toys to entertain them while I got work done around the house.
They had school to occupy their time, friends to play with outside, and big kid things that were more fun to them than toys.

However, we can't limit every evidence of kids living in our house to our bonus room.
I have always wanted our home to be kid friendly, but still feel homey and stylish at the same time.

I'm sure it's not the best kept secret around, but I am a door junkie.
I love to have a mess of toys, crafts, or whatever on one side and be able to close it off with a door so that no one is the wiser!
I don't like visual clutter.

Case in point, my now 7 year old, still has lots of kid stuff.
Toys and collections that his older siblings have traded in for books, musical instruments and shoes {yes, my daughter is a shoe horse!}.
This is Owen's closet in his room.
I love being able to close the doors and not think about what is behind the doors.

 When the doors are open, built in shelves that my husband made help Owen store his legos, robots and science kits.

We haven't banned toys downstairs, but the only place that we have kid toys is in our entertainment center.

Again, I have doors that I can easily close to contain the mess.
The kids can find puzzles, books, drawing paper, Lincoln logs and leapsters in the cabinets.

I have never wanted our kids growing up in a house where I cared more about the furniture and decorations than I cared about their well being or their development.  Most of our furniture and decor is second hand and has been bought at garage sales or on craigslist.  If a vase gets knocked over and broken because they are having a nerf war, so what, I paid a dollar for it.  

Drawers in my buffet may be filled with crayons and coloring books instead of the latest home decor magazines, but my kids know that this is their home, not a magazine photo shoot.  

We may not have the nicest furniture from the most upscale stores or the latest trends in home decorating, but my family lives here.  I have three kids who tromp through the house in muddy shoes, kids friends who break things and a house that we live in.  My kids and their childhood experience mean more to me than the upholstery on my couch.

So remember, the time that your kids live with you is short.
You will one day have your house back and you will be able to keep it clean for longer than 20 minutes.
Just not today.

If you are anything like me, in life, sometimes we all wish that we could close the doors to our messy selves and only let our pretty exterior show, but that isn't always the case.

How to you keep your home stylish while still raising your family?

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