You have seen the home decorating shows that feature perfectly placed knick knacks and throw blankets folded to within an inch of their life and draped carefully over the back of the sofa. Your first thought: They obviously don't have toddlers!
The good news is that toddlers and a beautifully decorated home CAN coexist. You will just have to be more careful in your decorating choices to be sure that both home and child are safe. Here are some tips to help you get started on the road to a well decorated, toddler-friendly home.
1. Safety First
While you may want to have crystal pieces resting on your end tables, it's just not a good idea with toddlers in the house. The first priority must be safety, so no glass or sharp object should be within the reach of curious little hands.
2. Keep it High
Concentrate your decorating efforts in spots that are not affected by the children. For example, choose fabulous prints for the wall or display your grandmother's china on the top shelves of a tall enclosed cabinet. Also, you can still display your prized crystal pieces on mantles or in cabinets where the little ones can't reach.
3. Heavy Metal
For decorative items at floor level, consider metal pieces. Metal cannot be chewed, stabbed or otherwise easily destroyed. It can generally be sat on, drooled upon and written on with little – if any – lasting effects. There are wonderful decorative metal items available at many home decorating stores and online retailers. To up the safety factory, choose metal pieces that are fairly heavy. Your toddler will be unable to move the item. This eliminates any potential dangerous misuse of the item, such as heaving it down the stairs at a sibling or family pet.
4. If You Can't Beat 'Em …
Kids live in your house, and they aren't going away! Instead of fighting this fact with your decorating choices, why not make the most of it? Paint one wall (or a portion of one wall) with chalkboard paint. This will allow your little Picasso an area where he can freely practice his art. On the same note, cover your coffee table with butcher block paper. When it's filled up with colorful drawings, roll out some more! Take some of your kid's brightest and best artwork and have it professionally framed. You will be surprised at how much these little masterpieces can add to your room in terms of décor. One way to get some art that will work with your room is to give your little guy or gal an array of crayons or markers in colors that will complement your décor. When they are finished, you will have artwork that is a perfect color fit for your room! Also, you can say that you know the artist personally! While perhaps not appropriate in every room, these are great decorating ideas for kid's rooms and the family room. You may like these ideas so much that you incorporate them in other rooms as well.
5. Be Realistic, and Be Happy
You live in a home, not a museum. Your sofa will, at some point be covered in crumbs and boast a bright red (and totally permanent) Kool-Aid stain. You will find magic marker art on your newly painted walls and your fabulous throw pillows will find their way into many "forts" made with your best sheets. The good news is this: you have a toddler, or more than one. Sadly, they won't be there forever, and someday – much too soon – you will be free to decorate any way you please. When that time comes, you just might wish you had the option of trading the fine china and crystal for a little more time with a crumb covered toddler!
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