Durable Kid-Friendly Decor That Will Save Parents Money in the Long Run

When you shop for durable design, you don't have to replace it when your kid transitions from toddler to tween. And that's a parenting money hack we can all get behind.

Parents are faced with a decor dilemma: You can decide to invest in furniture you love, knowing that those beloved chairs and tables could become casualties to markers and crayons. Or you can stick to the (usually more affordable but less cute) indestructible child-proofed basics—but even that can seem like a waste of money.

An image of a bedroom on a colorful background.
Getty Images. Art: Jillian Sellers.

Instead, don't decide. Consider these durable design items ahead; they're the best of both worlds in that they're the perfect compromise between kid-friendly furniture and parent-chic decor. And guess what: When you shop for durable design, you don't have to replace it when your kid transitions from toddler to tween. And that's a mom money hack we can all get behind.

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Durable Kid-Friendly Decor
Courtesy of Amazon

Durable design is undoing the notion that parents have to forsake all the "nice" things in their home until the kids turn 18. Instead, the playful yet versatile Flexible Love Chairs are just the beginning of kid-friendly durable decor. Since 2005, when Stretch Design first came out with its innovative and sustainable accordion folding chairs and sofas, an entire series of cardboard couches have made their way onto the market.

The recycled wood and honeycomb design makes it easy to comfortably seat an entire soccer team or just a few extra dinner guests. The Lava Black is a perfect color to mask spills, and any of the color options offer the flexibility to store the seating whenever needed—all of which makes this couch perfect for an active family that wants to be both chic and practical.

Some folks swear by Flexible Love for cardboard furniture, but there are other (often more affordable) varieties from brands such as AlienTech, FlexYah, and Australia's Karton.

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Durable Kid-Friendly Decor
Courtesy of Amazon

Chalkboard paint has had its moment. Now, parents want their accent walls back. And—much like trying to wrestle a beloved toy from a toddler—this move may require some negotiating. Here's the trade: Roommates has over 270 washable peel-and-stick wallpaper designs that quickly transform the mood in any space. Even better, they are washable with just mild detergent and a sponge. Starting at $36.99 for a 28-square-foot roll of brilliant colors and shapes, upgrade wall designs to grow alongside your kid. Every four years or so, take down those hand-drawn art projects tacked up by scotch tape, and replace them with these completely removable wallpaper strips. In exchange, kids should be able to use wall space in their rooms more fully.

Another great wall investment? At $289, the George & Willy Wooden Pegboard is a worthwhile wall storage option that is upscale and utilitarian. Rather than buying hooks and shelves that are stuck in place, consider this versatile wooden board design to arrange toys when they're tots, accessories when they're tweens, and photos and awards before they're off to college. (Admittedly, it is the toddlers who might be most offended by removing their signature works from center stage. Appease them with the Studio Roller so that they can use their walls as both an easel and a display for works in progress.)

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Durable Kid-Friendly Decor
Courtesy of Amazon

Industrial-chic isn't just a fixture in overpriced coffee shops. Upcycled metal tableware should be a staple in any aesthetic conscious home—with kids or not. The yellow indoor-outdoor table from Flash Furniture is a must-have. Priced at $364, this little table is going to pay for itself. It can seat six people all around, making for a perfect dining room table with extra elbow room or a science-and-crafts work table in a maker's space.

Rather than letting the kids sprawl their experiments and projects on the kitchen table, give them this eye-catching alternative that won't crack or break under pressure. The rounded corners and rubber floor guides avoid bumps and scrapes, making moving it in and out of rooms a cinch. Even if this one lands in the yard or the basement, it's an attractive beacon to dump sewing supplies, LEGOs, puzzle pieces, paintbrushes, fidget toys, and all the other childhood accoutrements that normally litter floors and hallways.

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Wayfair wool rug
Wayfair wool rug. Wayfair.

And speaking of floors, while learning blankets and 3D play carpets are fun for a time, Marisa Molinaro (an interior designer who is competing on HGTV's Design Star Next Gen) says that a flat wool rug with a classic pattern is really the most durable and design-conscious option for long-term value. Kids can play with blocks and magnets right on the surface, and pet hair and other allergens have fewer places to hide.

"You must think ahead when designing anything for a child, because they just grow so quick," Molinaro tells Parents. "I know people like to put their toes in something that feels good, but those types of rugs (ones with a high pile) are just not practical... If you choose a rug that is patterned and on the darker side it will hide the stains and, hence, last a lot longer."

Prices vary by square footage, but mainstream brands such as Wayfair as well as noted ethical brands like Good Weave Certification offer a wide range of hues for all budgets.

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