Disclaimer – This post is sponsored by Crate & Barrel. All opinions are 100% my own.
Many years ago, I was one of those parents. One of those gals with one child that didn’t completely understand the concept of baby-proofing. We never had to change our decor. We never had to have cabinet locks. We never had to question whether our furniture would be damaged by a hulk-ish toddler or covered in yogurt or fingerprints. And all the toys fit in one medium sized basket. My house was shiny and delicate and I could literally buy whatever I liked. It was so worry free and ignorant and breakable. And then we had three boys in three years.
Somewhere in the last three years I have realized that you have to shop strategically when you have toddlers and babies in the mix. Especially if you want to maintain a home that has an ounce of style. I know some of you understand. You have this sweet soft cuddly baby and then get buried alive in brightly colored toys and baby gear and then when you finally can retire the exersaucer, the kids are big enough and curious enough to see what is buried under your favorite fiddle leaf fig. So that is what I wanted to talk about today….creating a toddler friendly home that still has style.
This topic is obviously near and dear to my decor-loving heart and I was really excited that Crate & Barrel decided to partner with me on this post. I actually really love Crate & Barrel’s aesthetic and have had over 38 posts where I shared items I loved from their store. Shameless super fan here! When they said yes, I may have geeked out in my living room for a solid 17 minutes before getting tired from robot dancing. #sleepismycardio
That being said – I headed to my local store so that I could check out some of their newest stuff in person and see if I could find some toddler-friendly items that still oozed style.
Come to mama!
Speaking of bedding…I also love this one. The white and blue pattern makes me happy.
Ok and that chair in the lower corner of this mirror photo….it’s a luxurious leather that SWIVELS ALL THE WAY AROUND. I loved it so much that I sent Jeremy a creepy video of me going round and round.
The all-wood look was definitely toddler friendly. Basically my kids would be able to break nothing in this photo. At least not in the first five minutes anyway 🙂
And of course, something I really appreciate about the store is their clearance area is constantly filled with new things. I’m regretting not picking up some of those wooden candleholders or those pretty plates on the far right.
They have so many great things that it was hard to narrow the options down! Also shopping without kids is like a vacation you never want to end 🙂
So here are my best tips…..things to keep in mind when shopping for your home if you share it with a little one….and ways you can still add decor to your spaces without sacrificing style.
Picking tough and wipeable surfaces are important. Steer clear of glass table tops (matchbox cars can scratch them!) and soft wood (distressed furnishings are great but if that’s not your style – try to find furnishings in metal or harder wood species to avoid dings and scratches) or wax finishes (which would ruin easily with spills). Just remember that sippy cups often have fails, drool is part of teething and sticky fingers always require a scrubbing and the last thing you want to do is ruin your expensive pieces! I loved this Cymbal Storage Drum Table….it’s got loads of texture and sheen and style but can still hold up to rough and tough boys.
I always pick ceramics over glass. Things break. That is part of life with a toddler. And also part of life with Jeremy Bower 🙂 I swear that man breaks more stuff than the kids! And when things break, the last thing you want is tiny little glass shards that explode far and wide. Those babes are crawling around and its virtually impossible to get all the pieces. So I just hedge my bets and pick ceramics. These ones are amazing huh?! That is the Fleur Hurricane Candle Holder and Rati Vase.
With a toddler in the mix, it’s important to pick your textiles wisely. Especially pillows! These get used as cushions, American Ninja Warrior obstacle courses, forts and well, like pillows 🙂 I always choose patterned pillows and this one from Crate & Barrel is my newest obsession. It’s dark enough to hide tears from temper tantrums but looks like a million bucks for unexpected company.
This is a tip that everyone should know if you have kids around….use wood, use metal and use affordable. When I said stuff gets broken, I wasn’t exaggerating. STUFF GETS BROKE. And if great great grandmas porcelain doll collection is priceless and hand painted….it’s probably going to have a red bullseye for flying objects. It’s always the rare and irreplaceable stuff that cracks first! So go ahead put that away and break out the wood, metal and affordable decor options.
When it comes to kiddos, it’s their home too! They want to see pictures of themselves in there! GET THE PHOTO OFF YOUR PHONE AND INTO A FRAME MAMA! Isn’t this bronze frame the cutest?! I love the circle mat and the finish. It’s been floating around the house because I love it in every single spot.
Remember my creepy chair video where I was treating that leather chair like my own personal carousel? Well…it’s because we really need some good leather chairs. And the ones at Crate & Barrel were beautiful! Leather is one of the few upholstery materials that holds up to Hurricane Weston, Tropical Storm LJ and Tornado Max. I also recommend slipcovered items. We have had our couch for 8 years and it cleans up really nicely because we bleach it. It’s stress free with leather and slipcovers!
Trays and baskets are EVERYTHING when it comes to having a toddler. I think THAT is what you should get at baby showers….a big fat basket. They hold toys, small objects and even extra diapers! With baskets you can store pretty much anything and if it isn’t lidded, toss a pretty throw on top and it looks beautiful and nobody has to know there is a toy explosion inside. Trays are amazing for gathering smaller things together and make childproofing easy.
Speaking of baskets – storage is everything to toddler parents. Not only do you have the toys and clothes and diaper gear but you will also be gathering more overall paperwork, memory items and odds and ends. Organizing all your stuff will be vital, having closed cabinets will be helpful and having hidden storage in other furniture will be your best friend. I loved fawning over this credenza for storage.
It was so hard for me to not whip out my good dishes for special events….and YES EVERY DAY HAS SPECIAL EVENTS. That is part of momming, right? Making simple things special? But then things kept getting damaged or breaking and I was frustrated. I wanted the kids to understand how to use the ‘big boy’ glasses but they just weren’t ready yet. And I hated the look of the Spiderman plastic cups and Paw Patrol dishware. And then I discovered the melamine and acrylic. It looks so good! It still has style! And it’s virtually unbreakable! I even picked up a set of these acrylic glasses and Jeremy swore they were glass….that’s how real they look.
Corral small objects together. This may seem like it doesn’t need to be said but it’s actually really important for your decorating style to look like it’s still put together and polished. I know with kids, your brain might have taken a semi-permanent vacation (mine is still in the Bahamas sipping on a frozen margarita) but it will help you find things faster and be a better parent. I find that when I have a place for all the pacifiers (even if it is a pretty box in the living room), that I can be better organized. All those bows can be thrown into a chic vase and nobody has to know that the crayons are in the white ceramic bowl on top of the fridge. These small objects appear to be clutter when you see them strewn across the house but when corralled in decorative bowls, vases and boxes – it gives your home style.
There used to be a day when fakes really never looked anything but fake. Now fake botanicals are the easiest and lowest maintenance way to use greenery and flowers in a room. Plus they don’t require dirt….which is basically cat nip to toddlers. I use fake flowers in every single space. None of the flowers in my house are real. One day I will get there….but why would I want to spend time watering, trimming, and spending money on the expensive real thing that will need replaced in five days when that money and time can go toward ice cream with my toddlers?! That sounds way more fun! And I’m actually loving the new peach blossom flower spray. I’ll take five please!
One thing that I like to preach to my mom (love you!) is that all the stuff within reach needs to be easy to remove. Obviously my mom doesn’t have any toddlers of her own right now….but she does HOST a lot of toddlers and babies and kiddos in her beautifully decorated home. And sometimes we have to plain avoid going into the living room because her coffee table decor is a shiny and breakable death trap. We run in beforehand and remove everything before the wrecking crew comes in. OF COURSE we are trying to train our kids to not touch all the things but at home, it’s better to just make the decor easy to remove. Don’t have a million individual items that you can’t protect if you are elbow deep in a diaper change. Making things easy to protect doesn’t just prevent your items from breaking…it also prevents injury….and nobody wants those sweet fingers and toes to get pinched, squashed or bumped. We have had this basket on our coffee table for a couple weeks now and it is slowly becoming less interesting to our boys. If we know it’s time for dinner prep and we can’t run that far that fast, we just slide it up on a higher shelf and relinquish all worries.
So that my friends are my best tips on still having nice things and infusing your style in your home while making it toddler friendly. What are some ways you make your spaces cute with little ones in the mix? I’d love to hear them!