Family-Friendly Home Design with Sims Hilditch |
Revealed: How to Create a Family-Friendly Home That Actually Looks Good

Revealed: How to Create a Family-Friendly Home That Actually Looks Good

According to designer Emma Sims-Hilditch

Written by –
Jess Ng
on February 7th 2019
Born and raised in the UK, Jess is NONAGON’s resident historian turned marketer turned writer, drawn to Hong Kong by the lure of dim sum breakfasts and bustling city life. A foodie who loves to cook, food occupies 70% of her brain 90% of the time. When not eating, Jess can typically be found buried in a book or obsessing over making NONAGON’s Instagram #feedgoals.

There’s no two ways about it, creating a beautiful family-friendly home is a bona fide challenge. The art of balancing style and durability takes more than a good eye for design. It requires practical savvy, versatility, and the ability to think outside of the box. A tall order indeed! That’s why I decided to reach out to an expert for help.


Enter Emma Sims-Hilditch, Founder and Creative Director of design studio Sims Hilditch. The British designer is well-versed in adapting her modern country luxe aesthetic to child-friendly client briefs. Here’s what she had to say about designing a stylish home that works for the whole family.

Neutral Ground

In the age of minimalism, the idea of decorating with neutral tones is hardly groundbreaking. Nevertheless, according to Sims-Hilditch, neutral hues should be at the heart of any family-friendly home aesthetic.

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“When it comes to color, start with a soft neutral shade and bring in personality with textures and soft furnishings,” advises the designer. With a neutral base, it’ll be much easier to redecorate and change your furnishings as and when the needs of your family change.

Durability Rules

The golden rule of a family-friendly home? Durability. “Consider how a family would like to use the home, and then choose fabrics and furniture that will be durable and stand the test of time,” recommends Sims-Hilditch.

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“We tend to stick to materials that can stand more wear and are easily cleaned. Stay away from delicate or textured options, like silk, which could pull and aren’t as forgiving when it comes to stains,” notes the designer.

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Regarding materials for durability, a practical work surface, such as black honed granite, should be chosen. Materials must be hard wearing and allow for a family’s busy lifestyle. Heavy linen fabrics in particular are a great choice for sofas and armchairs.

Open Plan Living

“If space permits, consider an open plan living space,” declares Sims-Hilditch. Speaking from her own experience, the designer explains, “we quite often design kitchen, dining and living areas so that the family can enjoy spending time together.”

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“The majority of the rooms we work on feature the kitchen with an island and stools to allow for a more social kitchen area. A sitting area is also sought after within this space to provide a more relaxed feel. Different areas within the space can be defined by furniture placement, but also consider lighting to create different moods.”

Storage Wars

Whether you’re investing in a custom cupboard unit or going full DIY with boxes and baskets, Sims-Hilditch is a huge advocate of having plenty of storage. “The more storage the better!”

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“Invest in a solid chest of drawers which can be hand painted to fit a color scheme,” suggests Sims-Hilditch. Or how about mixing open shelves with rattan baskets for a country chic approach to organization?

For more family-friendly home inspiration, check out our round up of stylish children’s closet and wardrobe ideas. Don’t forget to also follow us on social media. You can find us on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.


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