We went with a theme of "easy to clean" and "not likely to break" with a colour palette of "doesn't show dirt".
The furniture is classic "hand me downs from the parents" with Ikea accents, professionally distressed by pets and children. Window treatments in the "came with the house" style and flooring in "we can redo it when the kids are older".
Family room decor is mainly "children's arts and crafts" with accents of "put it on a high shelf" and vintage heirloom "OMG if you go near that I will take away your iPad for a month".
The children's bedrooms, are of course, individually decorated with a carpeting of Lego, naked dolls, broken toys and food scraps, with the TVs we swore (before we had kids) that we would never put in our child's room. Loose clothing and unidentified smears and stains add a lively joie de vivre to the walls and furniture.
The master bedroom is carefully arranged to give a restful "I will fold the goddam laundry tomorrow" vibe, and scattered books, half empty cups and cat vomit give a bit of casual personality to the room.
The bathrooms are equipped with modern fixtures in the "chipped, stained, and cheap contractor installed" motif, with mildew accents and "WTF is that smell?" throughout. Toothpaste, wet towels, dirty clothes, handprints in "please don't let that be what I think it is" on the doorknobs and walls liberally scattered to give it that homey, "whose turn is it to clean" feel.
The kitchen is beautifully outfitted with crusty counters and slightly damaged appliances, "not too breakable" and "cheap to replace" kitchenware and "bought it on sale" accouterments. Whimsical "last holiday's theme" linens add to the playful atmosphere, as do the paper, half eaten art supplies and half finished projects.
In all, a "shabby not so chic" style unifies the whole house with a large amount of pet hair, scratches and bite marks (cat, dog and child), random bits of paper and food wrappers throughout.
We are design savvy.