Early last year, our home was featured on Emily Henderson's show, Secrets from a Stylist, on HGTV. (If you didn't get to see it, here's the full episode online and my recap of the entire process.) We loved how Emily designed our living room for the show.
When we filmed the episode back in November 2010, we weren't yet pregnant and therefore had no concerns about having a baby-proof living room. Fast-forward a year and change: We got pregnant, had a baby…and then this baby of ours became mobile. At first, I was in denial about having to change anything in our living room and thought we could just teach our baby not to touch anything. Um, yeah right…
Once Ruby started crawling, we needed to make some updates to ensure our living room was safe for her and give us a bit more peace of mind knowing that we could let her roam around without endangering her with some of our furniture and decor choices. So, Emily and I thought it would be fun to do a "Before & After" showing how she's updated our living room to be safe for Ruby while still retaining the style and attention to design we had pre-baby. For this series, we've partnered together with The Honest Company, to bring you three parts (one on each of our blogs), which will show you different aspects of what we did and provide tips on how to marry safety and style.
We didn't have the budget to just go out and buy all new furniture. While we were okay with buying a couple new pieces that would last us through our next baby, almost everything else was about easy and creative solutions to make what we already had a little safer and more baby-proof…
No. 01: The White Couch. I can count on my fingers and toes the number of people who said to me, "You're never going to be able to have a white couch with a kid!" Well, that's partly true. My friend Kelley does an amazing job of keeping her white couches spic-and-span (with a combo of a "no-eating-on-the-couch" rule and really amazing washable slipcovers). For us, the couch held up pretty well, but the bottom seat was taking a beating…and, let's face it, looking pretty gross after the early days of baby spit-up and leaky diapers. So Emily came up with a solution: Buy a beautiful piece of fabric and have it made into a fitted-sheet to slip over the bottom cushion for easy washing when needed.
No. 02: The Coffee Table. We had a babyproofer come and install plexiglass on our balcony and make other little safety improvements around the house, and one thing he said was that we had to get rid of our coffee table. Say what? We loved that coffee table. He said it's the No. 1 reason behind ER visits for children of that newly mobile age because coffee tables are just the right height that if toddlers trip and fall, they'll hit their heads on the edge. He also told us that foam corners protect littles one from the corners of furniture, but it's the edges and the hard wood that are really dangerous as well. We tried not having a coffee table at all for a couple months, but we missed having something to put our feet on that also grounded the space.
So Emily found these amazing giant poufs. They're like giant sweet buns…and clearly, Ruby loves them. Even though we miss having a real coffee table, we like having a softer ottoman instead of nothing at all because they've also been so helpful in helping Ruby to walk (and they're easy to wipe clean!).
Emily also placed a long console behind our couch, which we use for drinks and other things that need to rest on a hard, flat surface. (I'll tell you more about the change in artwork at the very end of this post!)
(Sources: Wallpaper: Oh Joy for Hygge & West; Glass & Wood Side Table: vintage; Knitted Basket: Ferm Living; Striped Pillow: Dash & Albert; Silver Pillow: West Elm; Large Morrocan Poufs: special order from Room Service (call for info); Vintage Slipcover Fabric: Rose Bowl Flea Market (or similar non-vintage fabric) find sewed into a slipcover by Gypsy Palace; Gold & White Paper Bowl: Up in the Air Somewhere; White Sofa: Room & Board; Brass Dome Standing Lamp: vintage; Brass Arm Lamp: vintage from Rose Bowl; Globes: vintage; White Rubber Bowl: A+R; Brass & Wood Console: vintage, Gold Elephant: DIY'ed by Jenny Batt.)
No 03: Decorative Objects. You know I love decorative objects, especially the ones Emily chose for us in the initial makeover. But we had to remove all the glass vases and any breakable objects that could poke an eye out, as well as things we simply didn't want in a Ruby's hands or mouth. So, Emily replaced some of the heavy or more fragile decor elements with things that were light, safe, and even playful. Lots of them were made with natural, safe materials like paper and wood. We also added a couple foam corners to the amazing vintage rocking chair in the corner.
(Sources: Vintage Credenza: similar from Organic Modernism; Chrome Rocking Chair: Milo Baughman vintage from Rose Bowl; Love Pillow: originally from Urban Outfitters; Striped Throw: Serena & Lily; Chrome Midcentury Chair: vintage from Danish Modern; Navy Velvet Pillow: Ikea; Horse Throw: Loopy Mango; White Side Table: West Elm; Brass Deer: vintage from Rose Bowl; Standing Lamp: vintage from Rose Bowl; Gold Radio Globe: vintage from Pasadena Antique Center; Paper Globe: Canoe; Wooden Horse: Poketo.)
No. 04 Blocking Off Areas. We had to switch out some of the decorative objects on this side table/trunk, but turning it in a different orientation, it prevents Ruby from getting behind the sofa and into the cords and wires attached to the lamps behind the couch.
(Sources: Wooden Mid-Century Chair: vintage off Ebay; Silver & Gold Trunk: vintage from Rose Bowl; Panda Pillow: Fauna.)
No. 05: A Rug Pad. Because we have carpet, the rug we previously had didn't stay put very well, even with a normal rug pad underneath. But Emily found an amazing, thick rug pad made exactly for rugs on carpet, and the rug is so sturdy and still now. No more tripping and little feet getting stuck on the corners.
No. 06: The Bar Cart. I was so sad to see our bar cart go, but as soon as Ruby started crawling she was all over that thing. It pretty much had everything on it a baby shouldn't touch—glass, metal, sharp corners, and booze. To take its place, Emily found this awesome cabinet which we can also use to house a mini-bar up top (it can't be opened unless you press the doors at the very top corners), with open shelving at the bottom. The storage area has been so great for allowing us to keep some of Ruby's toys out in the living room but also have a place to store them for quick clean-up.
(Sources: Cabinet: West Elm; Wooden House Frame: Ferm Living; Gold Canisters: Seletti; Gnome: Imm Living; Chrome Hand: vintage; Calendar Blocks: vintage; Striped baskets: Container Store; Gold Lion: DIY'ed by Jenny Batt. Also, we mounted these safety straps behind all tall and heavy furniture.)
07: The Dining Table. While it's not technically part of the living room, we did have to switch out our vintage glass dining table for a more sturdy wood one. Not as glamorous as before, but much better for the future marker and crayons in her future-drawing-at-the-kitchen-table years.
No. 08: New Artwork. While this is the one part of the makeover that has nothing to do with baby-proofing, the beauty of the gallery wall that Emily designed originally, is that it's meant to be swapped out as your mood and style changes. Emily wanted to unify the art a bit more with all-white frames and some updated pieces that reflects how my style has changed a bit since the first makeover. So the new gallery wall is a mixture of original paintings, photographic prints, and a couple pieces from our previous gallery wall.
(Sources: Brooklyn Print by Jim Datz; Summer's End Print by Aeropagita; Polaroid Prints by Jen Gotch, "Static" and "Lucky 13"; Before Print by Leah Giberson; Female Portrait by Zoe Pawlak; Abstract Painting by Michelle Armas; ceramic hanging woman is vintage;Heart Print by Christopher David Ryan.)
We love all the updates that Emily made because she listened to what we needed functionally but it still looks and feels like us. Baby-proofing does not mean you have to stick foam corners on everything or get rid of every single decorative object you have; it's about choosing things that won't hurt your baby and things that you'd feel okay with them handling should they get their cute little fingers on them. Had I known what I know now, I would have incorporated some of these tips and decorating elements into our space beforehand. So, hopefully some of these tips will come in handy for those of you with a baby or prepping for a baby in the near future!
For more fun tips and suggestions from Emily, check out her post right here (which is hilarious, by the way!). I've also put together a round-up of some more baby-safe, yet stylish, items over on Honest's blog and a Pinterest board of all items sourced.
P.S. The Honest Company has kindly offered a discount to all Oh Joy readers on their wonderful and eco-friendly baby and household products (they have the cutest diapers!). Simply enter JOY10OFF40 at checkout. Only first-time buyers can redeem the coupon for $10 off a minimum purchase of $40. The coupon is limited to one user/account and can only be put toward one purchase/transaction. It expires 11/21/12 at 11:59 PST.