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How to Manage Your Living Room When You Have an Open Floor Plan and Little Kiddies

This week we are going to chat about the living room. As I have mentioned in previous posts, our house has an open floor plan so our living room, kitchen & dining area is all one big space. While I love that concept when it comes to entertaining, it has it's down sides, too.

When we moved into our house, I was thrilled to have an open floor plan. We had two little kiddies, one was just over a year and the other not quite three! Yes, one of those crazies who had children nineteen months apart (and am still here to talk about it?!). We moved from a house that was 163 years old to a house that was seven years old when we purchased it. A house that had five distinct rooms downstairs to a house with essentially two rooms downstairs. It was a drastic change for sure.

It didn't seem to matter that the playroom was right off our kitchen in our old house, at their ages, they couldn't really be left alone without causing mischief. In our new house, I could suddenly make lunch and dinner and see what the kids were up to while I did. A HUGE difference from our previous house where the kitchen was separate from the other rooms.

However, with the open floor plan, that meant that the majority of their toys were divided between the living room and bonus room. As for the living room, that meant creatively storing toys so that it did not appear as though our house had been invaded by two little kiddies and every toy and gadget known to man kind. The solution for us was an armoire that housed our television and the bottom which was great for storage of their dvds, books and a basket with some toys. In addition, we an antique dresser that we stored craft supplies in, as well as puzzles. And... last but not least, a small chest that we used as a "coffee table" that doubled as a toy box.

Here we are eleven years later and things have changed a bit. We no longer need space for toys, books, puzzles and dvds which has allowed us to switch out furniture in our living room. It's suddenly not about being super functional and multi-purpose, although in some ways we still are. Now it's a little more about being comfortable and making certain that there is a place for everything so we can easily enjoy our space.

We have switched out the armoire for a piece that Ben's uncle picked up along side the road (yep... I am one of those that likes old treasures) and painted it to work for our space. The dresser has been moved to our back entry and now holds our winter essentials (hats, mittens, scarves, etc.) and has been replaced by a shelf that I found online at Pottery Barn years ago. And.... that make shift coffee table/toy box has been replaced with an ottoman and tray (part comfort/part function).

I know it's hard to have little kids and not feel like your house is trashed 23.5 hours a day. We all seem to have that half hour that we get things back in order before the whirlwind starts all over again. It's OK... we are all human. And... I can tell you that although the first five years of those little kiddies' lives felt like twenty, the subsequent years have weirdly blurred together and flown by in what feels like two years (when in reality it's been seven and nine). It's crazy! Hang in there. The key to making it all work is for it to be functional and comfortable. Be sure to utilize furniture that can serve multi-purposes to allow your space to work for the grown ups & the kiddies.

Still not sure how to make it all come together and work for you? I can come to you OR if you are out of the area, I offer a virtual service! Contact me via my website ( or by email at I would love to work with you to find the perfect solution!

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