Living with a Toddler in your Living Room

Michelle, from Peas Out Mama, shares her journey into toddler-dom and the unfortunate results on her home decor. But she's on a mission to find a way to bring life back into her living room. I'm looking forward to seeing what she comes up with! Thank you, Michelle!  

It wasn't going to happen to me. I wouldn't let it. Once a child entered my life, my space, I would retain it. My living room would be mine. Toys R Us would not explode in there and have its way with my furniture and accessories. Mostly that's been true. My son's toys are pretty much confined to his room, which is not to say they never make an appearance elsewhere throughout the house, but to his room they return at the end of good days. And at nearly two years old, he knows it.

Parents have different philosophies about designing their kids' rooms, where the toys should go, and how to use living room space. I say whatever works for you works. For me, I like my living room to be ours as a family, yes, but mostly it's a place for me and my husband to unwind -- a place where our son hangs out and plays sometimes too. But it's not his playroom. He doesn't have one of those.

As a child, I played in my room. That's where my toys were. And somehow, magically, they all fit in there. The same goes for my three older brothers. I suppose that upbringing translated in my philosophy, if you'd call it that. We don't have anything uber-fancy in the living room, so if an accident were to happen, I wouldn't bawl my eyes out. Much.

I love the series Kirsten Krasen featured on 6th Street Design School. Dubbed "Good Design Kids in Mind," the series featured kid-related design questions answered by none other than a team of talented designers. With posts like "Incorporating Kid's 'Tacky' Stuff in Your Home" and "Can Kids and Nice Things Coexist?", the series offers real-life, honest advice. I'm fortunate that I don't yet have to incorporate tacky, but the question of my toddler's coexisting with nice things looms large. And for now, my answer is Sort of, but not totally.

This little creature called toddler is actually quite good with furniture -- not a climber (yet) -- so I consider myself lucky there. But you know those beautiful things (um, accessories, I think they're called by the outside world) that usually go on coffee tables, end tables and whatnot? Yeah, those had to go. They'd all be toast at the hands of a toddler. 

See this stack here? That'd never fly around these parts. Or maybe I should say they would fly -- onto the floor in a chaotic mess. Kudos to this fam with two toddlers who don't wreck that stack! The stuffed animals on the chair, though? Very cute and seems to fit this room's style perfectly.

nursery eclectic kids

I also really like the toys on the floor in this pic. Very sweet and playful. Still, those books scare me a little.
playroom eclectic kids
eclectic kids design by media and blogs Aesthetic Outburst via Houzz

Back to my accessorizing dilemma. I recently put the question out to my blog "likers" on facebook, asking whether they have coffee tables or end tables in their living rooms, and if so, what's on them. Seems we're all in the same boat more or less. Some of my favorite responses:

from KS: "I do! With bumpers on the edges. lol It's quite the decorating statement.  Um, crumbs from lunch and a Little People truck on top. A preschool laptop and Magnadoodle underneath. Do those things count? ;-)"

from JF: "Just put mine back in. I had one of those upholstered microsuede large ottomans that functioned as a coffee table too. [On it]: At the moment, a truck, a sippy cup, and a 2 year old. Usually, nothing. Pre kids, I liked to think I was stylin with accessories. Now? Not so much. They'd just be used as weapons or something to bang on the table."

from HB: "I also have the leather ottoman coffee table, and it currently houses two sippy cups, one pair of shoes, a snowsuit, and a rather grumpy dog."

from KK: "Yes...however it doesn't hold cups/ hold cars trucks and cute little tushies!!"

from EL: "Yes we have a coffee table in both our living room and family room. Our living room is gated off from the toddler, family room is not. Neither coffee table has any decor on it. Toddler uses family room coffee table as a diving board for jumping onto the couches."

I think it's pretty obvious we moms are rockin' the design world!

So...(sigh) tables are bare. And sad. And boring. Which makes me sad. And which got me thinking... What if I could figure out a way to use my son's stuff as accessories? Yup, accessorize with toys. On purpose. For real. You know, so if he touched stuff, it'd be cool. The idea came to me one day after noticing a stack of my son's books on our end table. They looked pretty cute. And now I'm on a mission to accessorize. Wanna see what I come up with? Check out my next guest post!

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