Five years ago, I posted about how I baby-proofed my living room with Emily Henderson as an attempt to make it safer for our (then) 1-year-old, Ruby. We've now gone through two babies who have learned how to walk and toddle around and play in that very living room. We've slowly swapped out art over the years and and now, five years later, I am ready to update our living room with a real coffee table again and replace the white couch (that has seen many milk and snack stains)! While a couple things are changing, much of it has endured and are still going strong several years later. Here's how I updated my baby-proofed living room back to one that is functional for older kids while keeping the style of the living room in tact…
No. 01 The Couch — That white couch that we got before having kids worked for a very long time thanks to the beautiful vintage fabric cover that Emily had made for us five years ago. It was the perfect solution to cover up old stains and to prevent new ones. And that cover actually lasted up until a few months ago. After that, we were left with the previous stains we were covering up, and I felt ready for a change. We've moved that couch into our home office so that we use it for guests to sleep on when visiting. And eventually, when we move into a bigger house, I want to get it reupholstered because the bones of the couch are still great.
For our new couch, we turned to Joybird for a custom sofa. I wanted something that looked a bit more structured and didn't have built-in pillows that would easily come on and off. While removable pillows are fun for the kids to play with, it also gets them dirty a lot quicker when they are being handled so much. I love the mix of mid-century and glam in this Chelsea style. This time, I chose a light grey color for the couch to hold up better to potential stains. Now, the living room feels more polished with this new sofa shape while still durable for the kids.
(2012 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. 2017 Sources: Wallpaper: Oh Joy for Hygge & West; Glass & Wood Side Table: vintage; bust planters from Floral Art LA, pale pink pillows from Ikea, painterly pillow from Arro Home, face pillow from Urban Outfitters, Floral Art LA planter busts.)
No. 02 The Coffee Table — The giant poufs we had were a fun surface for the kids to have around when they were learning to walk and still getting their bearings physically. But we often ended up pushing them to the side most of the time and simply had the living room open for toys and for playing. We would use the narrow table behind the couch when we had drinks to put down, but we have been missing a real coffee table. Now that our kids are 3 and 6 and (mostly) well-coordinated, I felt comfortable having a coffee table again! I chose this round one from West Elm to avoid sharp corners in a high traffic area. I also loved the weight of it making it hard to be moved around by a small child. The marble is treated so any water or liquid has wiped off super easily. Plus, the kids love having it as a surface to play with cars and other rolling toys that could use a smooth surface to play on.
No. 03 Decorative Objects — In my post five years ago, I had some comments that people thought that the objects we had left out would get destroyed. Whether you put out decorative objects or not completely depends on the kid(s) you have. Ruby never touched any of them, and Coco wanted to touch all of them. We kept out some that felt sturdy, and in five years, only one small brass animal got broken. But generally, our kids got use to those items being out and didn't move or touch them very often.
No. 04 The Rug — We have the same rug that we've had since we moved into our home 7 years ago that was part of Emily's original design for our living room (before kids!). It's held up against milk, water, juice, and even potty training accidents! The rug pad we have underneath made it stay put on top of carpet and has helped to make it more durable in my opinion.
No. 05 – New Artwork — What I love about a gallery wall is the ability to continually change it to keep it fresh. I'll often swap out just a couple pieces at a time and even those simple updates make it feel fresh. And then I'll take what I swapped out and move it to another room. Since five years ago, I have swapped a few pieces but left some the same!
(Art Sources 2012: 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; Art Sources 2017: Heart Print by Christopher David Ryan, You're Okay and Hey Hey Hey is old Oh Joy for Target, Glasses and Perfume Prints by Jen Gotch, House from Little Paper Planes, Female Portrait by Zoe Pawlak; Abstract Painting by Michelle Armas)
No. 06 – The Child Safe Bar Cart — Five years ago, we went from a traditional open bar cart to this West Elm cabinet which is secured to the wall with earthquake straps. It still works perfect for this use with the non-kid items up top and the kids items at the bottom. The only difference between then and now is we have a lot more toys and books to fill up our shelves with!
(Sources: Cabinet: West Elm (old); 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, OK Letter Vase set: Oh Joy for Target. Also, we mounted these safety straps behind all tall and heavy furniture.)
No. 07 – Art Table — We moved the trunk from the side of the couch and turned it into a side table between our two end chairs to make space for a kids art table. The positioning is great because it's still part of the living room so the kids can draw or play near by but it's also off to the side of the room and art supplies stay (mostly) in that area.
No. 08 – Additional Toy Storage — When you have kids, you think, "Oh, the toys won't take over my living room. We'll keep all the toys in the kids room!" Um, not correct at all. The toys go EVERYWHERE especially as they get older and then you have more kids…and new job involves toy maintenance every single day. I can't believe we only really ever allowed for two small bins originally, so a couple years ago, we added in this bigger toy storage area to the side of the TV. While toys still go everywhere, for me, the key has been to provide sectioned storage to keep them away when not in use and to divide (somewhat by category) for easier cleanup for the kids (musical instruments, puzzles, balls, cars, etc…each get their own bin). We recently added the mini chest of drawers for all the tiny toys that my kids seem to love. These have somewhat of a category for each, too, which increases my sanity when we need to pick up all those small, little toys off the ground every night!
Phew! That was a long post. If I've missed linking to anything, please ask in the comments below. It was fun looking back on what has changed and what hasn't in the last five years, and I hope this post was helpful to those of you prepping for this stage in the near future!