Childproofing your home is a tedious process — one that, historically, hasn't favored interior design. Fortunately, modern designers are changing the game with sleeker forms and sturdier materials that are functional and chic. Do-it-yourselfers are also up for the challenge, crafting projects to make life easier and safer on a budget. Whether you're a new parent or updating your already-childproofed home, don't sacrifice your aesthetic. Safety never goes out of fashion, and thanks to some practical design, neither will your decor.
Outside fabrics aren't just for patio furniture anymore. Indoor-outdoor upholstery comes in a variety of colors and patterns that hold up very well to everyday life. Say goodbye to ill-fitting sofa covers and busy patterns on your dining room chairs. Most outdoor fabrics have a stain-repellent finish, making accidents easy to clean with soap and water. Streamline the cleanup process with removable pillowcases and cushion slipcovers you can toss in the wash.
Coffee tables pose an obvious risk with sharp corners and hard edges. Corner bumpers and edge cushions are a quick fix, but they won't always match your design aesthetic. Consider ditching your traditional living room coffee table for a contemporary style ottoman — bonus points if you can find one with hidden storage (great for hiding all the toys when friends pop by unexpectedly). Or, give an old coffee table new life by adding an upholstered cushion and shortening the legs. Clean lines and durable fabrics add personality to your family space, while soft edges provide peace of mind.
The lowest, most accessible items on end tables and bottom shelves are prime targets for little ones' busy fingers. Prevent costly accidents by switching out fragile, decorative items for softer pieces made from natural materials or, at least, things that won't break. Stack the coffee table with softcover picture books and hand-knit dolls. Decorate a low shelf with woven or wooden bowls, and stay consistent by adding wicker baskets elsewhere in the room. Display a selection of valuable and fragile belongings high on a gallery wall, rotating items out periodically for visual interest.
Childproofing your television usually means anchoring it to the wall with straps. Go one step further by attaching your TV to the wall with an adjustable wall mount. Not only are they sleek and sturdy, but they also give you an excuse to throw out that old dresser you were using as an entertainment center — two fewer sharp corners to worry about. Use a section of plastic conduit to organize cords on the wall and add a small shelf for remotes and a gaming system, above the reach of tiny hands.
If hardwood and tile floors make you nervous, why not invest in a selection of rugs in various textures and patterns? Area rugs soften the look of any room while cushioning the falls of your little one, so feel free to layer them in your child's favorite play areas. Don't worry about straight lines or perfect placement, have fun with unconventional pairings and unique patterns. Natural fiber mats are easy to clean, and non-slip rug pads prevent carpets from bunching or sliding.
Childproofing cabinets is not a perfect science. Some locking mechanisms are frustrating to master, while others are bulky and alter your kitchen's design aesthetic. Magnetic locks, however, are a game-changer. They install inside your cupboard doors and unlock only when you press a magnetic key against the cabinet face. Hide the key in a hanging plant or on a high shelf, and enjoy the seamless look of your kitchen cabinetry.
Dresser knobs are a hazard if your child can use them to climb on top of the furniture. Handles that have hoops or that can double as a footrest are not safe. The same goes for knobs with moving or dangling parts, which could eventually come loose and pose choking hazards. Update your dresser style by installing low-profile drawer pulls or forego the hardware altogether for a clean look.
Fireplaces are a cozy feature in the home. A stone hearth, however? Not so comfortable when you have little ones running amok. Curious toddlers can easily remove the padded edge bumpers, so browse online and invest in a fireplace cushion. A custom-made bench seat sits on top of your hearth, providing additional seating with a more trustworthy surface. Make sure you order from manufacturers who use fire-retardant fabrics and fillers.
When was the last time you browsed through plastic dinnerware? Melamine plates and acrylic glasses are redefining functional style with contemporary and luxurious designs. Use these shatter-resistant dishes and drinking glasses for daily meals, and display your good china in a clear-door cabinet. If you have space, create a focal point on the dining room wall with your wedding china or your great-grandmother's crystal serving platters. Mounting these cherished heirlooms in a wall display gives them the attention they deserve
Bar carts are back, but if you've got kids in the house, you should rethink your cocktail hour strategy. Swap out the metal frame and glass shelf for a small credenza instead. Organize your stemware, shot glasses, and spirits inside, using magnetic cabinet locks to keep everything out of your children's hands. Find an antique credenza at the flea market or repurpose an old cabinet in your unique style.