While glossy design magazines are filled with pages of pristine homes with nary a toy box or paw print in sight, in real life, rambunctious kids and mischievous pets often populate our homes. That means that surfaces, from floor to ceiling, need to be durable as well as beautiful. Here are our best tips for creating a stylish abode that stands up to reality.


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Set up your pet- and child-friendly home for success by creating entryways that cater to your lifestyle and local weather. A foyer or mudroom with washable flooring is ideal. Water-resistant cubbies for muddy boots and hooks for wet coats keep messes contained. And don't forget to stash plenty of old towels in a bin near the door to wipe down soggy doggies before they track mud through the house.

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Both pets and kids tend to spend tons of time on the floor, so it makes sense to choose flooring that is both durable and comfortable. Hardwood, stone and tile are durable; however, they're not very comfortable, and they can be slippery. Wall-to-wall carpeting has the opposite problem: comfortable, but not necessarily durable over the long haul. A solid solution is to choose a hard-surface flooring buffered by stylish rugs.

Megan editedAs Megan Traub, Dixon Projects Director points out, "A great way to counterbalance porcelain tile or concrete flooring is to use area rugs. This way, you won’t have to compromise on your ideal flooring material, but you can still provide a reliable grip for your pet's health."

Look for rugs that are washable and avoid deep shag or loop styles that can catch on paws and small toes. A high-quality rug pad underneath provides a cushy place for all-day play.