Baby-proofing is something that I have always dreaded doing. I love home decor and styling the interior of our house, so asking me to get rid of my perfectly-placed coffee table was not an easy request for me to handle. However, I love my kids’ heads way more than having a convenient place to put my glass candle holder (that would have gotten broken anyway) or a drink (that would get spilled anyway), so baby-proofing won. But I was determined to find a way to make our home safe for our children and make it work stylistically as well. Here are a few tips that came in handy for us:
- If you’re trying too hard to make it work, it probably doesn’t work. I’ll use our coffee table here as a good example. When Marleigh was first learning to pull herself up on furniture, we tried just about everything to keep our glass-top coffee table in our living room. We removed the decorative items from the top, tried placing pillows around it, and corrected her every time she tried to touch it or crawl underneath it. It was exhausting and stressful and eventually, we realized that a much better method would be to remove it altogether. We haven’t had a coffee table in almost three years now; and although it would be nice to have an extra spot to place things when we’re entertaining or even just a spot to put my glass of wine when Luke and I are watching TV at night, I don’t miss the hassle of it at all.
- Find alternate places for your knick-knacks. I am all for collecting random items to use as decoration in our house. A rustic lantern? Gotta have it. Old books? Give me 10 of them. And don’t even get me started on candles, mason jars, and vintage vases. Before our parenting days, I used to adorn our two side tables (which we also ditched…) with picture frames, candles, and flowers. Then little hands came along and, again, the risk outweighed the reward for keeping them. Instead, I asked Luke to build a mantle above our TV and now I arrange things there instead – well out of reach of grabby fingers! We also followed suit in our bedroom and built shadow boxes to hold candles, picture frames, and miscellaneous decor items.
- Add character, not caution. Do you love those industrial-style coffee tables on cast iron wheels as much as I do? How about wire baskets for holding blankets in the living room? Or even better, the ever-so-trendy bar cart? If I had it my way, all of these items would find their place in our house, unicorns would exist in real life, and my money tree out back would always be in full bloom. But these items are not baby friendly. Odds are, that industrial coffee table will leave an industrial-sized bruise on your kid’s head after a trip and fall into the corner, the wire basket will be lifted up and dropped on little toes (not to mention pushed around and probably scratch the $h!t out of your hardwood floors), and the bar cart will be rolled down the step in your dining room and smashed to pieces before you even get to properly style it.If you want to build character in your home, try researching alternate methods. Choose wicker instead of wire, a plush ottoman instead of a coffee table (choose one with additional hidden storage inside for baby-proofing bonus points), and a wall-mounted drink station instead. (Or, better yet… ditch the drink station altogether. We all know a box of Franzia in the fridge is all that really matters anyway, right?)
So… there you have it. And now you know why we don’t have a coffee table or side tables and why almost everything in our house is placed or hung 3+ feet off the ground! Maybe four years from now I’ll finally be able to get my hands on one of those industrial tables. For now, I don’t mind having a reason to keep my head up!