Healthy, Green Design: Kid-Friendly Furniture, Fabrics and Flooring

| 1/6/2011 10:40:49 AM

Stephanie Nickolson headshotStephanie Nickolson has designed residential, commercial and eco-conscious environments for more than 24 years. Her firm, Stephanie Nickolson Design, promotes the use of sustainable, non-toxic, recyclable and environmentally-friendly products and services. The firm works largely with clients who have allergies, chemical sensitivies or who have children with special needs.  

Kids and furniture don’t always mix, especially if you happen to be a fan of light colors and dainty, lightweight fabrics and upholstery. One accident with a nerf ball hitting a floor lamp and that fixture is history. Kids don’t always understand (mine never did) that a sofa isn’t a trampoline and that they can’t sink into a chair by diving off the sofa (said trampoline) and not ruin it, or themselves. A sticky, brownie-covered hand doesn’t hide-so-easily on that newly expensive papered wall. So, what’s a parent to do? How can a home look nice and well-decorated without looking like a man cave or institution-like? Well, parents and care-givers, you can take heart. There are kid-friendly furnishings available that wear well and will last more than a week in your home.

kids painting a sofa 
Fine furniture isn't always durable enough to stand up to children. Photo Courtesy Lee Industries. 

The good news is that the distressed, unpolished, textured look is in. The look in my own home is seamless; all of the dents, scratches and nicks blend well together with the overall distressed, casual look.

Furniture: A very high-end furniture manufacturer actually manufacturers a line that requires a 16-step finishing process to create the illusion of age and use. The end result? A product that looks great but that you’re going to pay for. You can achieve that same look without the high price by opting for products that will, within time, withstand abuse. One company that offers sustainable upholstered furniture is Lee Industries. Its product naturalLEE features soy-based cushions, recycled fiber filling for pillows, organic and natural fabrics, FSC- and SFC-certified wood frames and uses water-based finishes. Lee's products are also made in the USA. In addition, the company also offers slipcovers, which are a great option, as they can be taken off and washed when needed. They may also be temporary until the children get older or when you’re ready for a new look. You can also change it seasonally. You can view their products at

Flooring: The hand-scraped wood flooring option is a very popular look that (I hope) is here to stay. This particular product is bamboo, an extremely hard species of wood. Unlike other species of wood that take 30-50 years to be reforested, bamboo is actually a grass which is reharvested every three to four years. It’s an extremely hard species, even stronger than red oak. A great option for children and/or dog owners.

Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds