Embracing the clutter of a home with children

For this installment of Design Inspiration, I want to talk about displaying your child’s artwork. Let’s face it- we all love the idea of living in a magazine house with no clutter. That’s why the decluttering KonMari method, created by Marie Kondo, has taken off lately (in large part thanks to her new Netflix show). But guess what? We ALL live in houses with clutter – even designers! (Sorry Marie Kondo). And the clutter is almost always compounded when there are children living in the house.

So when people ask me how they should display their child’s artwork, I let them know that my refrigerator looks pretty much like theirs. And then I remind them that a house isn’t beautiful unless it’s pretty when it’s messy.

 

A house isn’t beautiful unless it’s pretty when it’s messy.

displaying child's artwork french and french

displaying child's artwork french and french

Your home should still “spark joy” even when decluttering seems impossible. But luckily there are some ways to organize your children’s artwork. For those of you who have prolific artists in your home as we do, we’ve created a downloadable reference for some of the creative ways you can more fully incorporate your child’s artwork into the design of your home.

 

Design Inspiration: Create a Memory Book

Before the artwork corners curl on the fridge, or get splattered with grease or water, scan the picture, or if the art is bigger than 8 ½ x 11, take a picture. Here are a few things to keep in mind so you get the best shot of your child’s artwork:

  • Make sure the piece is in a well lit area with no shadows, and preferably in indirect light. Remember – no flashes or direct sunlight- it distorts the color.
  • Make sure your camera lens is directly opposite the artwork. Either stand over the art (being careful not to cast a shadow), or tape the art to the wall with washi tape. When the camera is not directly opposite the art, the picture’s perspective is distorted.
  • Make sure the edges of the artwork are parallel to the vision field of the camera.

Once you have a collection of pictures, maybe from the year, there are websites where you can upload the pictures and create a coffee table book of art. This can even be a collaborative project with your child. Ask your child to make a brief write up (or tell you about) of each piece, and include that in the book. Download our pdf for websites that create memory books, and other ideas along these lines.

We’re pretty sure even Marie Kondo would approve of this kind of sentimental “clutter” 😉 .

 

Displaying Your Child’s Artwork: Turn Artwork into Pillows

Yes, you can do this! Remember our Pillow Post? The company 19 Queensgate will take your artwork and create a beautiful pillow for you. What better way to use a keystone fabric than with your child’s artwork?displaying child's artwork queensgate

If you want more than a handcrafted pillow, say you want a swatch of fabric to do your own sewing, we’ve also discovered a few websites that will print your design on any length of fabric. See our PDF for more details.

 

Design Inspiration: Create a Salon Style or Gallery Style Wall

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What’s that? This post by Remodelista offers several creative examples. A Salon Style Wall is basically a large area where you can group pictures of different sizes, colors and shapes.

It adds a very boho-eclectic vibe to a room that’s uniquely suited for children’s artwork.

If you prefer more order in your space, consider a Gallery Style Wall, where you are displaying the artwork an equal distance apart. If framed, artwork would be in the same color and size frame, with the same matte.

Too many pieces to choose from or not enough funds to frame every piece you’d like to display? Consider a rotating Salon Style or Gallery Style Wall using washi tape. Washi tape doesn’t damage painted walls and comes in a myriad of colors and patterns. Ask your children to decide which washi tape goes best with their artwork and how the piece should be displayed.

 

Displaying Your Child’s Artwork: Create 3-D Art from 2-D Art

We absolutely love this company that takes your child’s drawing and turns it into a stuffie.


displaying child's artwork french and frenchdisplaying child's artwork french and french

This is a perfect way to capture those exuberant drawings that every child creates in early life.

Embrace the Mess

A well-designed home can handle the mess of daily life.

This is a big one for all of us. Life with humans living together is messy- emotionally and physically. Embrace it, revel in it, and accept that it’s part of our human experience. A well-designed home can handle the mess of daily life, and there are quite frankly some things that can’t be tidied and folded away using the famous KonMari method. Yes, pick up the toys and put away the shoes and the laundry. But remember- there’s no shame in a cluttered fridge, or muddy shoes by the back door. Those things also make up the fabric and artwork of life. And make it uniquely yours. And if that doesn’t “spark joy”, I’m not sure what does.

Until next time…

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