In our Montessori home transformation, the family room stood out to me with a unique challenge. There was a tug and pull in trying to strike the right balance between cultivating a space for my husband and I without excluding our children, while in turn including our children in a way that didn’t totally dominate the space.
In their shared bedroom, playroom, and even the kitchen, the main focus was accessibility: How can I bring this space to their level so that they may do more for themselves? In the family room, however, this is a space primarily where my husband and I connect, as well as where we host when other loved ones visit us. It is where we gather around the TV, but also where we spend unplugged family time. So, instead of focusing on accessibility, the focus became inclusivity.
In the past, our living room had been easily taken over with toys, tipped too heavily to a space for the kids. I used to call it our “control center of chaos.” Montessori’s principle of structure and order was hands down the biggest saving grace for this gathering space.
Also important to note, you’ll notice this room is decorated with our own budding sense of style. I used to think that including my children meant shopping what the mainstream children’s aisles had to offer – bright, primary-colored, cartoonish items. Montessori’s principles for a prepared space of beauty, nature and reality, helped me treat our design choices more purposefully. What items bring calm and joy to our walls? We shouldn’t feel limited in how we design our homes because of having young children; Our young children are capable of appreciating beautiful items and learning to care for them, too! This isn’t a choice that overlooks them, but truly further supports them. Too many loud, busy decor choices typical to commercialized kid stuff can be overstimulating.
Have a look!
Similar to the console table, I utilized the low shelves on the other pieces of our furniture for the kids. I purposely placed our music player low so that they can access music when they would like. Music for us is a daily thing – both for burning energy and for calming down.
That’s it! By focusing on structure and order, beauty and natural materials, it has really brought a lot of joy and functionality to the sometimes-challenging task of sharing a space as a family. If you have incorporated a shared space with your children, I’d love to hear what tips have worked well for you!
If you’ve missed my room-by-room series thus far, here’s a recap of the spaces we’ve transformed from our Montessori journey at home. More to come!