Monday, September 26, 2011

Guest Post - Law Mama Liz

Good morning, friends! It's hubby's and my 5th anniversary week (actual day- Friday) and I've lined up some lovely guest posters to handle the week while I pack and get out of town! Today's featured blogger is Liz of Law Mama Liz and she's here to talk to you a little about kid-friend home decor!

Hi Little Bit Readers! My name is Liz and I blog about mama style and life with an almost two year old over at Law Mama Liz.

I'm really into reading home decor and DIY blogs (anyone else obsessed with Young House Love and Apartment Therapy? No? Just me?), but a lot of the time I don't see houses and decor ideas that are especially toddler friendly. So I thought I'd write about the evolution of our living room from a completely adult space to something that is very kid friendly but also has room for the adult things too (get ready for a photo heavy post!).

When we first moved into to our house (almost three years), we didn't have a TV in the main living room, and the cats quickly took over the couches. I couldn't figure how where to place everything, but I really liked the idea of making a "conversation space" -- hello, I watch way too much HGTV for my own good.

Here's what it looked like initially:

Living room, spring 2009

I'd hit up Ikea and gotten a bit creative with the mantel, but we were still working with the tiny dining table from our itty-bitty duplex and I hadn't figured out how to use the space yet.

And then after watching far too much HGTV I decided to paint the fireplace wall brown. It took so many coats to get coverage (seriously, primer was invented for a reason), but the hard work paid off with a big impact.

Brown wall, spring break 2009

Then something big happened that changed the way I looked at decor and home functionality: I got pregnant! We didn't do very much to change the space while I was pregnant other than create a "library" corner to the living room.

Cute baby + addition of bookshelves. Spring 2010

No, the big changes happened when Zeke started to get mobile and baby-proofing became something that was imminently important. And seriously, this kid went from laying on the floor playing with toys to turbo crawling all around the house in a week. I swear it was so fast!

So we needed more play space, and fast. The first thing I did was to move the coffee table in front of the fireplace to block access and to reallocate the shelving for his stuff.

Coffee table as fireplace blockade, late spring 2010

Then we realized that we needed more space, and I finally gave up on having the big tan couch in the middle of the space. Once that was out of the way, it was AMAZING how much more open the space was.

Couch moved so Zeke has room to crawl. Fall 2010.

So with that very long preamble, here is the finished current space (it's definitely still evolving and far from done).

a place for shoes

As soon as Zeke started crawling, we decided to have a shoe free house. There's nothing like spending all day on the floor to help you realize how dirty shoes are. Now that we've gotten into the habit, we aren't looking back. I usually don't push the rule when we have people over, and entirely give up when we have parties, but I figure the main people tracking in dirt are us, so if we keep our shoes off we're doing our bit to keep our floors cleaner!

a place for bags & coats

Having a designated spot for all the junk I carry around on outings has helped a lot with the clutter, and we keep the keys up high so Zeke doesn't set off our car alarms (of course, Jerm never manages to get his keys into the bowl and spends many mornings searching high and low for them. Is my husband the only guy that does that?).

open play space

Then, the biggest change help for making our living room kid friendly was to open it up and ensure that there's lots of room for playing. Now normally, this area is littered with toys, but I thought I'd clean it up before I put pictures of my living room up on the interwebs.

toy containment

Having a place for the toys to go has made it much easier for Zeke to learn about cleaning up and it makes it much faster for me to clean up in the evenings after he goes to bed. I'm still on the look out for a good toy chest to fit in the space, but for now this system is working well! The toys are easy for Zeke to access, and easy for him to put away also. 

chalkboard wall

A few months ago, we added the chair rail and chalkboard paint. We had a clear spot for the rail (there was a line where the chairs had bumped the wall repeated), and we thought chalkboard paint would be a fun thing to try. Zeke loves it, but sometimes this happens:

um, oops.

Um. Yeah. We're working on that (and for the most part he stays on the chalkboard part).

current mantel

So there you have it! A tour of my evolving, kid friendly space. It's definitely been an adjustment redesigning the space so that it's both stylish and toddler proof, but I think we've reached a happy medium! What do you think? How has your home changed to accommodate kids?

Thank you so much, Liz!

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