Family Friendly Design: It CAN Happen!

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Happy Monday everyone, and a special welcome any new visitors from the Philly Home Show!  As I was putting together the slides for today’s presentation about family friendly decorating, I was overcome by how much I’ve learned about my own personal style at home the past few years. It’s been an adventure tweaking my home to reflect not only the needs of my young kids but also merging it with our style.  I’ve made lots of mistakes along the way, but what are mistakes if not learning experiences?

But look at how far we’ve come!  Here’s what our kitchen looked like three years ago (chosen by the previous homeowner, and we lived with it for 7 years before changing it): green laminate countertops, white tile floors, counter-height table, oak cabinets:

Kitchen: BEFORE

And today? After 2.5 years of tweaking and renovating on a budget, here’s what it looked like on Friday– happy little girl included. :-)


I can’t tell you how much JOY I now feel in our kitchen. There’s still a few more tweaks to be had (a backsplash, non-upholstered chairs, and a cool hutch/ shelving update I’m working on) , but it’s the room I feel most reflects my style.  Plus, it works beautifully for my family, which of course takes priority.

Except those upholstered chairs. I adore them, but it’s like my kids purposely stick their hands in their peanut butter sandwiches and then WIPE THEM ON THE UPHOLSTERED CHAIR SEATS.  I’m thinking of these tall wooden beauties from IKEA, but I’m afraid to shellshock my husband with that orange.  Nothing a little paint can’t handle if he hates the color, right? Maybe?

Modern Budget Kitchen Renovation

Which leads me to this… I’ve narrowed down family friendly design dilemmas into TEN common problems.  From flooring to walls to storage, what are the 10 biggest challenges we face when decorating our homes when we have young kids?  Because trust me, I’ve seen them all.

Family Friendly Decorating

Your STYLE. Your NEEDS.  Your HOME.  Sounds like a great idea for a series, right?

Oh good, because that’s what it’s going to be.

New series! 10 Family Friendly Design Problems Solved!

10 common design problems, with TONS of solutions.  It’s gonna be fun, y’all!  I’m excited to embark on this journey, and share ideas to create a home you love.  Now who’s with me?! If you are, then click here to subscribe to get Making Lemonade via email every time there’s a new post so you don’t miss a drop!

As always, I’ll be sharing tons of design inspiration and family friendly ideas on Pinterest and would love if you’d follow along.

Have a wonderful day, and I’ll let you know how the speaking engagement at the Home Show goes! Fingers crossed I don’t fall off the stage or saying anything embarrassing.  Chances are good both those things will happen friends, chances are GOOD.  XO!

Meet Carrie Higgins

Dreamer, thinker, + lemon squeezer; you'll usually find me clutching a mug of coffee, glue gun, fandeck of paint colors, and a child at any given time. This mom of two (and wife to one) loves to share freshly squeezed ideas for home and family. Join the adventure as we learn most lemons can indeed become lemonade-- with generous amounts of sweetness, perspective, and love.

previous post: On Taking Leaps (Visit Me at the Philly Home Show!)
next post: 20 Easy and Delicious Slow Cooker Recipes!


  1. Man, your kitchen looks AMAZING!!!!!

  2. We have lived in our home for 7 years. I’ve consistently hated our kitchen & dining area during that time. Just last night, my husband & I discussed how to fix it (especially on our budget!), so I was so happy to see your before & after this morning. Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to your series.

  3. You have to have the orange chairs! They will look amazing in your space and be the perfect pop of color. Throw a bowl of oranges on the counter and they will be awesome. I love what you’ve done with the kitchen.

  4. Good luck speaking! I love your kitchen! It is so bright, cheery and classic. The orange chairs would really add a pop to the kitchen. Can’t wait for the series to start :)

  5. I have the same brown cabinets (with a hideous soffet on top and have been trying to convince my husband to let me paint them….I am going to be creepy now and stalk/search your blog trying to find the how to for making the cabinets come out clean like yours and not “painted looking”….

    • Heather, can you believe I haven’t done a post on it yet? Truthfully, we hired out the job because it would have taken us a month to do it (at least) whereas the painter did it in 3 days. We used a REALLY good paint– top of the line Sherwin Williams, and I think that really helped. He also did three thin coats which made it feel more like a finish than a paint job, if that makes sense. Hope that helps!

      • I might hire someone too…if I can ever convince hubs to go along with the vision :) Thanks for sharing about the paint, that is really helpful info. I would love to hear what color white you went with when you are ready to share!

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