The insider: How to stay stylish when you have little kids

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The Independent Online

Toddlers: can't live with them... well, not in a pimped pad. True? I know a couple with three littl'uns and a cool all-white domain. Their secret is Brilliant White Eggshell paint – touch-up friendly and wipeable. But what do other parents do?

Toy store-y

"I love's felt tubs," says Poppy Norton of swish shopping guide Expensive (£73), but chic. Cheaper options: tuck toys into a trio of Habitat's £7 hanging laundry bags or try Ikea's Näsum baskets (£15.31).

Make do and mend

"Use what's there: an old dresser or a Victorian cold cupboard make good toy storage," suggests Lucy Inskip of house "But don't keep all play-things in one space: it's overwhelming."

Colour me bad

"Don't fear going 'too dark'," says Norton. "My son's room is Farrow & Ball Charleston Gray – a great backdrop for bright art and a bold feature wallpaper."

Doodle do

Murals can be cool (just don't invest too much – they'll hate it next year). A friend painted her son a Super Mario; go ready-made at

Without walls

"Open-plan is great for families," says architect Krystyna Brooks of designyour "Add an island unit to cook while watching the children play."

Ditch the deep-pile

At least downstairs. Mop-able vinyl now comes in fashionable brights. Try

Hipsters' delight's A-Z print, £34.99, includes Stevie Wonder and Malcolm X. It also does Ibiza and hip-hop lullaby CDs. Who said having kids meant having to grow up?

Find Kate's blog on affordable interiors at