Lifestyling: achieving child-friendly interior design
“Your house looks like Pinterest.”
A few years ago, we hosted a fall-themed party for friends and family. Naturally, I loved planning the party and the décor, down to the last white mini pumpkin and buffalo checked table cloth. Everything from pumpkins and sunflowers, to hay bales and mums, to leaves and lanterns, to burlap garlands and candles in mason jars, all mixed and mingled to create the perfect Octoberfest oasis as a colorful backdrop to our festivities of crockpot chili and a toasty bonfire.
“Your home is so beautiful! It’s because you don’t have kids.”
Since my husband had never had a traditional housewarming party, after I had moved in and we started to slowly tackle renovations and redecorating room by room, this party was our first “reveal” of the home we started to create together. While far from being completed, I was proud of the transformations so far and the effort I had put in to make it “ours.” When I received the compliment from a friend at our gathering, my first thought was “Well, thank you!” I was beaming with pride that my efforts did not go unnoticed. My second thought was, “My house will always look like this, even once our kids are in the picture.” Right?
Well, fast-forward two years, a major bathroom renovation, the birth of our daughter, and countless more design updates, I finally understand the reality of that compliment. Having our daughter has been the most unbelievable blessing. While being a parent completely changes your perspective on every possible level, it has started to change my design perspective as well. Once my daughter started to crawl, reach, and grab, I had to approach interior styling from a safety standpoint. That warm and welcoming coffee table vignette with the bleached wood tray, gorgeous glossy coffee table books, delicious-scented candle, and vase of freshly picked flowers? As beautiful as it looked, it had to go. As I looked around my living room to find new places where these items could be stored out of reach, I started to make peace with the realization that my child’s safety is more important than a family room that appears to be ready for a magazine shoot. With that in mind, here are a few tips and tricks I have found to maintain style while still balancing little ones:
Be a minimalist: If it could get knocked over or broken, edit it out. Find a higher shelf space, scout out a place for it in another room, or put it in storage. It’s gone, but not forever. It will be back someday.
Get crafty with storage: If your child’s closet does not have designated shelves or spaces for keeping toys in addition to clothes, invest in a few bins, baskets, or even a closet storage system. It still amazes me how such a little person can have so many toys, but having closet space to store ones not currently in rotation will help with overflow and keep them from taking over other rooms of your house. I love natural rattan or jute baskets, since they match with any décor and are child-friendly. This wooden farmers' market box, a Marshalls find, also houses stuffed animals!
Explore your options: There are so many choices these days when it comes to baby gear – different patterns and color schemes for high chairs and pack n plays, countless styles and options for baby gates. After doing a lot of research and reading reviews, this baby gate has excellent ratings, but also looks amazing and blends in seamlessly with our home décor.
This canvas gate is the one we chose for the base of the stairs. Again, I was on a hunt for a product that was safe for our daughter but also stylish, and that would fit a wall to banister set up with our craftsman-style railing. This gate from The Stair Barrier comes in multiple patterns (ours is beige geo), and you can even get it personalized! We chose this design, as it also welcomes our guests as they come through the door!
Sneak in style: While my daughter loves Puffs and it’s convenient to have them within reach, rather than storing the entire bottle on the counter, I portioned a week’s worth into a farmhouse-style canning jar for a more stylish display. This milk glass bottle, peony and succulent floral arrangement next to the bottle drying rack dresses up the designated “baby area” of our kitchen, and infuses more farmhouse style. (Editor's Note: I wanted to share this photo as proof of what #reallife looks like, and how you can mix in decor with your everyday essentials.)
The goal of interior design is to create a space that is perfect for you, your family and your lifestyle. There may be times when I miss my perfectly curated décor accents, but when I look over and see my daughter smiling, thriving, happy, and safe in our home, I am reminded of what is the higher priority in my life right now. Remember to cherish and appreciate the season you’re in, and design your space to fit that, whatever that looks like for you.
See more of our daughter's nursery here.
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