Tips for Avoiding Drawn-On Furniture

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Design loving Moms and Dads, here we are at the Bermuda Triangle of Madness: we have kids, we have great furniture, and for some unknown reason we also own pens. Drawn on furniture seems inevitable, right? Here are a couple of ideas for housing kids, great furniture, and pens happily together under one roof.

The image above is the living room of Jules of the blog Pancakes and French Fries. A few years ago her toddler son got his hands on a red Sharpie marker and...well, you can see what he did. Not only did Jules live to tell the tale, with a combination of products and strategies, she was able to remove most of the stains. It was a housekeeping triumph for sure, but if you want to avoid the heart attack and heroics, here's some advice: 

1. Think carefully about how a piece of furniture can be cleaned before buying it. My biggest furniture regret is our white Petrie sofa from Crate & Barrel. I love it, but the covers can't be removed. And it's white. And we have 2 tiny kids. That Eames rocker, on the other hand? I have never regretted that. No matter what, it can always be wiped clean.

2. Give your child a place where they are free to draw wherever they like. You might think that the solution to kids+drawing is to lock everything that could possibly ever write into a very high tower until the end of time. However, our kids draw because they love to create. If they are deprived of this too much, the instant they get their little mitts on a Sharpie they'll turn into Mr Hyde. So set up a safe space where they can draw all the time.

3. Draw and paint with your children and help them to understand boundaries. Kids aren't born with an innate sense of where it's okay to draw any more than they know not to talk loudly about bodily functions at the post office. Share with them about where they can draw. Demonstrate it.

4. Involve your child in the process of cleaning up his or her "artistic adventure". Mistakes happen. Our son has his own spray bottle filled with water, and when I am scrubbing crayon or ball-point pen - he is too. Sure, he's not very effective at cleaning anything, but it is a way to show consequences for actions, and a time to talk through what happened that was wrong.

5. Facing some serious stains around the house? Check out our other posts on how to remove crayon from almost anything, how one woman fought a red sharpie and won, and how to keep IKEA laminate furniture clean.

Got some tips of your own on how you keep your furniture clean from the contents of a pencil case? Share them below!

(Image: Pancakes and French Fries)

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