A growing child makes you swiftly realise that many of your interior design choices are somewhat flawed when it comes to little, wobbly, roly-poly family members.
I started out convinced I would keep all my furniture and just ‘deal’, much like I was convinced all the toys in the house would be pastel and neutrally painted wood. But after one too many bumps, bonks and spills whilst I sped across rooms with arms outstretched I decided it was probably best for my anxiety and Sylvie’s head that we made some adjustments. On the replacement/rethink list went the glass coffee table, wool rug, a couple of wobbly side tables and pretty much anything lower than 3 ft.
I did cling onto the hope that I could find a happy medium between baby friendly and adult eye friendly and spent a good deal of time thinking about alternatives that would please both causes- a happy medium of softness and durability. My much researched list is below. If you have anything to add do feel free to put your thoughts and finds in the comments below, I always love to hear!
- Swap that sharp edged coffee table in for a large Ottoman.
I particularly like the idea of having an ottoman to add to storage space in any given room. It’s great to just fling all those toys in at the end of the day and pretend your living space hasn’t turned full on play room! Of course ottomans also provide lots of soft edges and padding, all you need to watch for is sticky fingers on fabric but this can be solved in a number of ways with ‘no snacks in the living room’ policies or many of the brilliant stain resistant fabrics on the market, patterns will also hide a multitude of smudges.
2. Don’t go for the gaudy play-matt, go for the washable rug
I hesitated spending a large amount of money on a play matt long enough to realise I didn’t actually need one. You can find them with nice prints for kiddies but a geometric pale green pattern or black and white dots are cute but don’t match in with many adult colour schemes. A washable rug made me feel my money was being a little better invested and I found a brand that had the kind of patterns that fitted right in. These are a great new find for me in general given that I have a toddler AND a dog AND a cat AND a husband that’s prone to spillages, they go straight clever finds list. Just as good as a play matt (in my opinion) and just as squidgy if not more if you add an under lay carpet pad. Currently, the best and favourite option I’ve found is Ruggable.
3. Drinks and side tables can be replaced with the ottoman’s shorter friend, the pouffe.
When unoccupied by a drink or magazine they can be clambered on by little people no probs, providing an entertaining assault course as well as a place to pop that well deserved coffee (or wine!). If you want something higher, think about stacking pouffes temporarily and if your chosen pouffe has a little squidge to it, pop a tray on top for when you need that drink close to hand! This is the great thing about these items, they are multi-functional and easily moveable, they can be popped anywhere and into any room with ease and at a moments notice making temporary seats or tables any time you need that extra resting spot.
Wonderful stuff. Spray all fabric items within reach of fingers and you’ll have a first defence barrier against dribble, jam, paints and whatever else they get their mitts on.
5. Custom, wooden or painted stair gates
Stair gates are essential there’s no getting away from that. I can’t tell you how many nightmares I’ve had involving Sylvie falling down the stairs. But there’s no denying they are an ugly home accessory. However, you can start by opting for a wooden or painted wood stair gate that matches your banisters, if nothing else this will at least mean you notice it less. If you have a bit more budget to put towards this or have a tricky area to fit, you can custom make a stair gate either by drafting in a carpenter or by getting your DIY on. There are so many ideas across Pinterest and Instagram. Abi over on her instagram The White Thistle created a great DIY gate for her garden balcony. The below is also a great one from ‘Chris Loves Julia’.
6. The walls
The walls, especially in hallways are always a bit of an issue in our house, with the aforementioned husband who doesn’t sit well with the theory of ‘carry it carefully’, my 8 year old step son who likes to use the wall rather than the banister and the ‘touch, smear and poke everything’ toddler our hallways never stay un-marked for long. For problem areas we’re considering a low panel of tongue and groove finished with a wipe down paint. Alternatively a natural seagrass wallpaper wouldn’t be picking up those scuffs in the same way a wall would.
7. Your Shelfie is about to change
Shelves need a little bit of thought these days as little hands like to pick off anything within reach to give it a good inspection and then no doubt fling it at the floor, or possibly the dog. So stick to ‘safe’ items on lower shelves, books, wooden bowls, baskets with throws – put enough on these reachable levels so the minis think they’re getting something great and hopefully they won’t go reaching further up!
If you’re welcoming a new life into the house or finding the transition from baby to toddler hard on the home get in touch, Lu’s always on hand for advice on design-led or bespoke, baby friendly interiors.