As a first-time mum with a baby on the precipice of mobility, I can personally attest that childproofing the home is a daunting proposition. Of course, my first priority is to make everything as safe as possible for my son (bye bye, beloved vintage brass and glass coffee table), but I would be lying if I didn't admit that the idea of giving up my carefully curated selection of home decor makes me sad.
The design of my home is a reflection of my identity, and I want my child to enhance that, not usurp it. Sure, my husband and I quickly abandoned our vow to maintain a toy-free living room and, after numerous spit-ups, our precious new sectional is not so precious anymore – but that doesn't mean I want my home to become one giant, padded playroom.
Enter: Jennifer Wundrow and Heather Kendall Brock, owners of Nest Design Co., Inc. These ladies have given me hope that I can make my home baby-friendly without sacrificing my personal style. They've applied their super stylish interior design skills to many a kid-filled home, and they say it is absolutely possible to have a gorgeous, stylish home avec bébé – if you follow their 10 commandments of childproof interior design. Check out what they had to say below.
- Thou shalt not wait to decorate your dream house. "We think being afraid to do it while your kids are young is the biggest mistake. Make your home your retreat and enjoy your time living there with your family. Set rules but don't wait."
- Thou shalt design in a way that makes sense given the age of the children. "If we are designing for a family expecting a baby or with young children, it's different than designing for a family with older children," explain Jennifer and Heather.
- Thou shalt use indoor/outdoor fabrics. "Its easier to clean and more durable for sticky fingers."
- Thou shalt swap an ottoman in for a coffee table while children are young. "They have soft edges that won't hurt precious heads and are super functional for the family in general — add a tray when you are entertaining, purchase an ottoman with storage so you can hide away toys and blankets, etc."
- Thou shalt stay away from microfibre. "We actually feel that microfibre is one of the worst materials for stain and spill camouflaging. We much prefer a natural fibre (linen, cotton, wool) or an indoor/outdoor material that looks like linen. They are easier to clean because they are made up of natural fibres, a misconception by most."
- Thou shalt keep fragile, expensive, or important piece out of reach. "These pieces are much better off at a higher location so you don't have to feel precious or nervous about them. For example, since the coffee table is a play zone for most children, keep a tray, books, and other objects that aren't fragile on the table."
- Thou shalt not let children's toys takeover the house. "Designate spaces for your children's toys. It's not realistic to think the kids' toys aren't going to spill out of their rooms, but if you have special organization for these items, it won't feel like they are taking over. Make it easy for them to help clean up, like baskets where they can put their things.
- Thou shalt have plenty of baskets. "They are pretty and they help hide toys. They also make it easy for the kids to help with the clean up."
- Thou shalt have a beautiful but unfussy kitchen counters. "Quartz or porcelain countertops have come a long way and now emulate the veining that a natural marble has. We love using this type of material for kitchen countertops because they don't stain or etch and are much more durable than the alternatives."
- Thou shalt teach children the importance of nice things early on. "Never say never [to any home item]! Teach your children the importance of certain things at an early age so they know the rules."
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