Model homes can be so beautiful with their large expanses of pure white
carpet. You love the look, but know that white is not the most practical choice
for a household full of children and pets. You want a beautiful home, but one
that makes residents and guests alike feel – well, at home.
You can have it both ways: comfortable and easy to care for. Start
with upholstered pieces that you can curl up in. Choose soft fabrics with lots
of texture and pattern that will do double-duty, providing a cozy retreat while
hiding soil and stains. Everyday soiling is much more evident with plain cotton
or solid color fabrics. And, as always, darker colors are more forgiving than
Chenille has become a popular choice as an upholstery fabric or as a warm
throw to drape over a sofa – its highly textured, nubbly surface can camouflage
imperfections, plus it's available in a wide variety of colors and patterns.
Also, be sure to choose upholstery weight fabrics, that is, durable textiles
created especially for furniture. Avoid thinner fabrics like cotton chintz if
you are looking for products that will hold up to everyday use.
Carpet is easy to maintain if you select a type that suits your lifestyle.
If you currently have wall-to-wall carpet, study the areas that are showing wear
and soiling. Think like a facilities manager of a commercial property. When they
replace carpet, they look at what was installed and how it performed. Think
about color and how it could disguise those soiled areas.
Like fabric, a carpet with pattern or texture will hide soil and stains
better than a solid color. Medium tones are better than light colors for hiding
everyday dirt. Give dark colors a chance - they may show lint and dust, but
vacuuming easily takes care it. (And it goes without saying that regular
vacuuming is the most important thing you can do to keep your home looking
Don't shy away from paint or wallpaper – both can work in an
easy-to-care-for home. Just avoid flat finish paints since they are
difficult to wash. Use an eggshell or satin finish and always buy good quality
paint. Choose wall coverings that are washable. Once again, pattern, texture and
color play a roll in disguising wear and tear, and less than perfect walls.
Minimize clutter. "Less is more" and will make clean up easier if you
have less to dust around. Many people find that simplifying their lives and
homes keeps everyday stress in check. Keep some areas of your home as "no
dumping" zones: no book bags in the dining room. Gym bags go to the laundry room
Lastly, enjoy your home. You've made it a comfortable retreat for your
family – take the time to enjoy your efforts! Reward yourself by entertaining at
home more often. Throw easy potluck dinners, host a wine tasting or organize a