Kid-Proofing Your HDB – How To Design Your Home For Kids Without Ruining The Aesthetic

17 November 2023 | BY

There’s no need to sacrifice that wabi-sabi aesthetic when kids come along with these nifty kid-proofing design tricks.

Kid-Proofing Your HDB - How To Design Your Home For Kids Without Ruining The Aesthetic

Having children is not just about readying yourself to parent a tiny human, but making sure your home is a safe enough space for their everyday life. For many, this conjures up painful images of ugly safety bumpers and child locks on your furniture or replacing your expensive glass coffee table with a cheaper, safer option.

While most believe that having kids is the end of your gorgeously-styled open shelves and glass coffee tables, here are 10 ways to kid-proof your HDB flat without sacrificing the aesthetics. 

Plan for adequate storage

ShelvingImage credit: LifeCreator-Design

A home for your kids will inevitably accumulate plenty of toys, books and other trinkets over the years. That’s why planning for adequate storage is such a critical step to making sure that no matter what theme you go for, you won’t ruin the look with all that clutter.

What you’ll want to do is mark out some potential “kid zones” in your home – be it a portion of the living room or in a particular bedroom – and plan for extra storage. Open shelves and cubby holes nearer to the ground allow you to eventually apply the Montessori method to raising your child, which is giving them safe access to their early development toys.

Go for curved corners and fixtures

Curved wallsCurved walls around the home can prevent accidents at home.
Image credit:

Keeping your kids safe from being jabbed or hurt by sharp corners doesn’t have to mean having to use those ugly safety foam bumpers. Instead, consider eliminating sharp corners altogether by incorporating rounded corners and curves into your home’s fundamental design. 

Kid-proofing 4Image credit: Litfad, Rejuvenation

When it comes to furnishing, you’ll want to go for furniture with soft, rounded edges or padded surfaces. Examples include round or free-form coffee tables, and ottomans instead of armchairs.

Choose highly durable, non-toxic flooring for play areas

Kid-proofing 5Brands like Evorich offer vinyl flooring options that are waterproof, scratch-resistant, and slip-resistant with low formaldehyde off-gassing.
Image credit: acesdesign_sg

Flooring might be the least of your concerns, but woke parents will point you in the direction of vinyl options that are highly durable and will withstand any high-impact drops, spills and scratches. Some options out there are also slip-resistant and are formulated with low formaldehyde content so you need not worry about your child getting into accidents around the home or developing any respiratory issues in their formative years.

Beyond that, some flooring options also come with sound dampening qualities so you won’t have to worry about burning bridges with your neighbours when they start to run around the house.

Install soft-close cabinet hinges or tic tac doors

Kid-proofing 6Tic tac doors are not only good for keeping items safely away from kids, they look sleek as well.
Image credit: Mok Hong

While planning for your built-in storage, you’ll want to ensure that you minimise the use of cabinet handles and pulls that will be within your child’s reach for obvious safety reasons. The last thing you want is to have your toddler opening kitchen cupboards and rummaging through pesticides and cleaning supplies. Sleek, handless tic tac doors will help solve those problems.

Another unspoken benefit of the tic tac door mechanism is that it won’t slam shut on unsuspecting fingers that might be in the way.

Use non-toxic paints or washable wallpaper

Kid-proofing 7Image credit: @Gush.USA, @studioging

Similar to flooring, the choice of wall decoration should also be both safe for your kids and easy to maintain. If you plan to use paints, you should look out for non-toxic paints as solvent- or oil-based paints can pose a threat to your little one. 

Alternatively, wallpapers are an easy way to add a heavy dose of whimsy to any nursery or kid’s bedroom and are highly durable too, with most brands touting to last more than a decade. It also helps to go for ones that are  designed to accept sponging or in some cases even scrubbing to remove stains because any surface is a canvas when you have children.

Child-accessible light switches in the kids bedroom

Kid-proofing 8Image credit: Anthropologie

Teaching children to be independent is vital to their upbringing. One really good way to go about it would be to install the light switches in their bedrooms at a height that they could reach. For kids between the ages of 3-12, that would be at the height of about 76cm.

Plan for safety covers for electrical sockets

Kid-proofing 9Image credit: Ballingslöv

That said, you definitely do not want to have electrical outlets accessible to your children, especially when they’re not old enough to understand how dangerous it can be. Aesthetic safety covers would be a good consideration so as to physically block the sockets from tempering.

Go for synthetic fibres & faux leather for sofas & soft furnishings

Kid-proofing 10Image credit: Yellowtrace

Making mistakes and messes are a part of your children’s growth, and you will want to ensure that it is not only safe for your kids to make those mistakes, but also make sure that it is easy to clean them up as well.

Although unintuitive, rugs can still have a place in your home, even if you have children. The key is to look for synthetic fibres like nylon or polyester. Another option is to look for rugs which are designed to withstand frequent washing.

Fabrics and upholstery should be similarly easy to clean. Keep an eye out for “pet-friendly” fabrics for sofas, if not faux leather – these materials are able to withstand a good amount of spills, scratches and manhandling before they are destroyed.

Design your child’s nursery with the long term in mind

Built-insImage credit: Conticert

Those tempted to go down the maximalist path and fill your children’s rooms with images from cartoons and other cutesy items might wish to reconsider. Your kids will grow faster than you think, and so will their tastes; something that would bring plenty of joy when they were just toddlers might not be quite as enjoyable when they grow up. 

Instead, it is wiser to plan for the long term and create spaces and bedrooms that children would be comfortable living in over the years. Similarly, you should avoid too many bedroom built-ins precisely because kids grow up fast; a built-in bed or table that is the right size for your 4-year-old will likely be too large in a couple years’ time.

Kid-proofing design tricks for HDB homes

Creating homes as a new family is a daunting task, and the natural inclination is understandably to pad out all the corners of your home and fill spaces with things that you imagine your kids would love.

But one does not need to convert your entire HDB into a giant playground for the little ones. In fact, by making sure to keep to the principles outlined here, you’ll find that keeping your homes minimalist and aesthetically pleasing goes hand-in-hand with creating a calming, nurturing environment for your kids to play and grow in.

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Cover image adapted from:  LifeCreator-Design, Ballingslöv


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