Updating my Kitchen/Dining Room To Be Kid Friendly

Yesterday we came to a crossroads in the battle of Henry vs. My Decor.  While most of my previous choices have been okay (and some changes made already, like my ottoman)- some have not. Namely the grasscloth in my dining area off the kitchen.  Last weekend I made Henry blueberry pancakes and blueberry juice ended up splattered on my paper.  After an incident with mashed beets and a close call with a crayon I’ve decided its best to replace it with vinyl grasscloth- which has gotten SO much better looking in recent years!  Sometimes its hard to tell the difference between the real deal and vinyl.

And while we’re at it, we decided we want more room in the dining area for Henry since he seems to love playing in there.  I loved our dining table set up and style since it’s our only dining area and currently provides some sense of formality- but we’re going to get a corner banquette instead so we can push the table into the corner and gain more floor space.  Since we NEVER have dinner parties there’s no point to having anything formal! So now basically I’m re-doing the whole room!

A reminder of what it looks like now (at 5:30 this morning- pardon the lack of light!).  We had to remove a window in order to make our garage big enough so I hung Ballard window-style mirrors there instead to make the room feel more open and reflect light.


The kitchen will stay as is (this photo is pre-mudroom addition but the best pic I have of it!) I am only going to change the pendants (yes- AGAIN- these only have down light and I’ll need ones that illuminate all over since I’m losing the big dining fixture)

Erin Gates Newton_378 copy

So here’s where I’m headed- a banquette in blue or a neutral strip- either way in a really durable outdoor fabric- a must for high-traffic, food-centric areas of the home!  If our round table doesn’t work, I’d do the trestle version of my Gates table from Huston & Company. A chest would give us another spot to hide Henry’s toys and allow for a small discreet TV in this area.  Our favorite family-friendly bar stools from S&l and wipeable Windsor chairs finish it off…. what do you think?


vinyl grasscloth // banquette // chest // tv // ceiling light 1 // ceiling light  2 // pendants // counter stools // side chairs // dining table // roman shade fabric // high chair (although I also LOVE the look of the new Skiphop one!)

I think the warmer neutral tones still work great with my kitchen materials.


(similar mug here- it’s my favorite // counters are White Macaubas quartzite- which have held up great! despite my fondness of red wine and not wiping them down as often as I should)

The floorplan showing the abundance of floor space we will gain!


I think this makes the most sense for our family as we never formally entertain and we need a little more room to move.  Other small changes to the house will be happening this year (and hopefully one big one- redoing the sunroom into a family room!)  I am actively looking for a local small builder to work on that project- the big guys don’t want to do just one small room even thought it’s a new build project).  If you know of any great ones pass them along!



  1. I had two of those high chairs(twins) of all my baby stuff nothing received more use! They could be pulled up to our island or used at our trestle table or our round formal table. They were used well into kindergarten and first grade. Our upholstered dining chairs didn’t sit them up quite high enough.
    “Price per use” was pennies on those chairs!

  2. Any chance your selling the mirrors? Ive been looking for ones similar but Ballard doesn’t make this shape anymore.

    Nik Monahan at Monahan Contracting is a great local builder!

  3. So looking forward to seeing how you change up this space. I agree that the neutral tones will work nicely in this space and will allow for more bold home decor accents!

  4. brillaint idea it will make the space so much warmer and inviting. and fun!! everyone loves a banquette(parfait)

  5. This is fun and I can’t wait to see the results. I have trouble loving Sunbrella or other supposed “stain proof” fabrics as they inevitably get stains on them anyway and then they can’t be laundered due to the coating or whatever is making them outdoor quality. What are your thoughts on this verses a washable slip-covered banquette? Am I missing a fabric that truly does resist stains from pets and kids?

  6. Your plan looks great. The only thing I would say is that I started entertaining more as a parent than as a single person. It is possible that your needs may change because your your expanding family opens up new social opportunities, one of which involves formal entertaining.

    Could you achieve a similar result using a bench instead of the large, upholstered piece of furniture? Then, you could still
    move your table to the middle of the room if you ever did want to entertain. Also, in my experience, upholstery with kids is tougher than chairs with a hard surface. Even protected fabrics take effort to wipe down and vacuum.

    Design-wise, yorbpkan is beautiful, but I wonder if you may be going to a lot of trouble and expense for a phase that may not last very long.

  7. I have a huge L-shaped banquette in my kitchen and LOVE it. We put it in when my kids were 7 and 9, and the seat cushions still took a beating. We are on our second recovering of the cushions in 6 years. Even the most durable fabric will take a beating with kids and food stains. Our banquette was spec’d by our architect to restaurant dimensions (including the angle of the seat back), and includes large drawers along the bottom, which I use for storage of large items like paper towels and dog food. We are using two 36 x 30 walnut tops (that match our island countertop) with chrome pedestal bases (from a restaurant supply house), which we can push together if we need a one longer table top. Normally we keep the two table tops spread apart and use one as homework base and the other for dinner for our family of 4. For chairs we are using the Emco Navy chairs with walnut seats, which are super durable and kid friendly and more comfy IMO than the Navy chairs with the metal seats. Glad to send you a pic if interested.

  8. I basically love everything you do! I’m in the midst of updating the new home I purchase, all on my own… between work and child-rearing, it should be done sometime in 2028 :P

    Question about the dining room – what size (apprx) is it?

  9. Hi! Love the idea of a banquette. My kids love the one that I installed at my moms and I am so bummed that I couldn’t make it work in our new house! She has a wooden seat and refuses to get cushions for fear that she will spend her life scrubbing them and I was surprised that no one seems to mind the hard seat. I just wanted to mention that I have the S&L café stools and they look so good, constant compliments, BUT the kids mash food into the seats and I can only get part of it with a sponge, the rest is scraped out with toothpicks/toothbrush/ my fingernails 😩 Really wish I could have found the same style with a solid seat.

Comments are closed.