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Change of Plans: Family-Friendly Home Decorating

When baby made three, this couple made a few smart adjustments so their pretty (and practical) home would be up for whatever life dishes up.

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    • Balance in Pairs

      Like the couple's life, the house flexed to meet the needs of the new baby. In the living room, treated fabrics take the worry out of messy fingers and muddy paws -- not to mention the occasional wine spill. "To make a room feel balanced, I like to do things in pairs," says designer Kelly Keiser. Damask wing chairs flank the fireplace, and twin ottomans serve as both seating and pull-up tables.

    • Splash of Color

      Early on, Keiser suggested a palette of pale blue and wheat. But when the homeowners craved more color, Keiser added bright orange lamps and pillows to the living room, then repeated the cheerful accents throughout the house. Pale walls, neutral upholstery, bright orange accents, and see-through surfaces such as glass end tables keep the living room light and inviting.

    • Wall Art: Think Big

      To achieve the impact of a large piece of art, the couple hung multiple small frames close together. In keeping with the light look of the space, small prints were used in the art display to give impact without being overbearing. The small butterfly prints don't fill the frames, leaving plenty of space within the frames for crisp white mats that give the wall art display a sense of airiness. Black frames add just the right amount of drama.

    • Grab and Go

      A narrow trestle table serves as a landing spot for keys, mail, and grocery lists. The table fits neatly inside the front door, and its slender profile doesn't block traffic. Because the tabletop surface is minimal, it can only hold so much, which helps prevent a pileup of clutter.

    • Wall of Memories

      Family photographs and mementos that had been gathering dust were turned into a meaningful wall display. The display tells the family's story so far and is flexible enough to allow for whatever changes life brings.

    • Comfortable Dining

      Upholstered high-back chairs offer guests a comfortable place to linger for another glass of wine or coffee and desserts. If you fall in love with a fabric that isn't kid-friendly, send the entire bolt to be sprayed with a stain-resisting treatment such as Nano-Tex. To minimize wear and tear, Keiser had matching covers sewn to protect the parts of upholstery that get the most use, such as the top of an ottoman or the headrests of dining room chairs. These extra covers slip over the furniture and can be easily removed for laundering.

    • Convenient and Cute

      In the kitchen, plans for a wet bar were scrapped in favor of an antique school bench. Located by the back door, it's a handy place to drop the diaper bag or groceries.

    • Outside Influences

      A glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge through the bedroom window suggested the reddish-orange color for bedding and draperies. The bay windows let in plenty of natural light, but layers of window treatments offer options for controlling the flow of light. Roman shades can be lowered to diffuse some of the light coming in from the outside, and drapery panels can be drawn to block the light even more.

    • Matching Patterns

      Unified patterns of different scales create an elegant, tailored look. In this bedroom, a small-scale circle pattern dots the window draperies, and a medium pattern does the same on the Roman shades. Bedding with a large-scale circular pattern completes a harmonizing trio of patterns. For serenity's sake, the walls were kept neutral, and for design's sake, they were given a subtle, yet special treatment. Cream colors the walls above the molding, and taupe colors the walls below the molding. The slight shift in color adds dimension and character to the space.

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      Flexible Furniture

      In the nursery, which multitasks as a den and occasional guest room, a versatile palette of pale teal and beige is pretty without being babyish. Because nursery furniture is in commission for only so long, invest in a beautiful dresser and changing pad instead of a changing table. You┬┐ll enjoy the piece long after the baby is out of diapers.

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      Next Slideshow House Tour: Tudor-Style Home Renovation

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