Decorating with Toddlers and Pets

This is our den/playroom. It’s the most used room in our house. 

I was sitting in the living room when suddenly I heard a crash and the unmistakable shatter of glass. I was in the next room and I thought my girls were sitting on the sofa watching the movie Tangled, but it turns out that they wanted to make it more of an interactive experience. My oldest had decided to hold onto the drapes and then swing on them like they were Rapunzel’s hair. The drapery rod was of course not up for the challenge and by the time I ran into the room it was dangling from one bracket and the pretty mercury glass finial was in a million tiny pieces on the floor. I made sure everyone was safe and then reached for the broom and vacuum to clean up the mess. Then after my girls were in bed and had a little talking to, I went to work repairing the wall and drapery rod.

As a general rule these things only happen when your husband is gone and you are really tired and not feeling like cleaning and re-decorating the house. A few months ago we were taking with a neighbor whose three year old son had caused all kinds of damage while they were trying to sell their home and the discussion amongst several couples at the gathering was can you really decorate and have anything nice with young children? Even though we have had our fair share of messes and misadventures, I still don’t want to resign myself to living in a house that looks like a daycare. I believe that living in a home that you love and feel good about is important. I have put a few things up but I really have tried to be smart about the fabrics and accessories I choose. I have also learned some lessons along the way. So I thought I would share a few of those things today.

Slipcovers and Sofa Blankets Will Keep Your Sofa Clean

I love slipcovers because no matter what mess my girls and dog have made, my slipcovers have washed clean. My mom sent me a picture she had gotten from a friend that showed a two year old little girl who was standing in front of her mom’s white sofa. Her hands and face were covered in chocolate and the Hershey’s syrup bottle was next to her on the couch where she had been creating her masterpiece. The little girl was crying and it was clear that she understood that she was in big trouble. The mom was desperate for help and had sent the picture out wanting cleaning advice. I completely understood that mom’s pain because I have had lots of Jackson Pollock inspired chocolate milk artworks on my sofa and chair.

My girls got into cookie sprinkles a few weeks ago and emptied 5 bottles on the rug.

The thing that has saved me has been slipcovers. I Scotch Guarded them when I first got them which has helped repel some of the stains and made them easier to wash. I also pretreat the stains with Clorox color safe bleach. That stuff is amazing. The other thing I have is a blanket that covers the seat of the sofa which also helps protect it from muddy feet.

Indoor/Outdoor Rugs and Plastic Sheeting Can Save Your Rugs and Floor

My adorable dog Emmy has taught me a lot about rugs. The a hard earned lesson about dogs and rugs is get a good quality rug pad and underneath that pad put down a piece of thick plastic sheeting. Before I discovered this trick we had to repair a part of our dining room’s hardwood floor. Residual moisture from cleaning up doggy accidents caused issues with the hardwood below. The thick plastic can be found at Home Depot or Lowes and it is the best way to protect your floor from moisture damage.

My dog, Emmy, has such a cute face that you can’t help but forgive any messes she makes.

The other thing I like to do is to use outdoor grade rugs in high traffic areas. Outdoor rugs are easy to vacuum and can even be taken outside to scrub and spray with a hose. There are lots of great options so style doesn’t have to take a backseat to durability and function.

Choose Pretty but If Necessary Replaceable Accessories

I love the show Fixer Upper but I always have to laugh when they style a kid friendly space with a bowl or bucket of crayons on the table. It may make for a good picture but crayons in a bowl are just an open invitation for tiny muralists to create new works of art in your home. When decorating with kids in mind I think there are better options. Stores like Home Goods, Target and Hobby Lobby have some great accessories that are reasonable priced. I have a large bowl on my coffee table filled with seasonal items like faux green apples, pinecones or small pumpkins depending on the season. My girls may pull things out of the bowl to count them or play with them but they haven’t done any major damage, and it adds a much needed punch of color to my room.

I also have some blue and white pottery pieces up on a console table, but they are a twenty dollar finds from Home Goods that can be replaced if the worst happens. If you really like something or fear future damage then buy a second one. This is what saved me with the Rapunzel curtain rod incident. I bought an extra rod to have parts on hand when needed. I had extra brackets and a finial to replace the broken one. It’s a lot less stressful when you know you can fix the problem.

I believe that kids and pets don’t mean a beautiful and comfortable home is out. It may take a little research but there are fabrics and slipcovers that can handle chocolate, spaghetti and potty training accidents. Its important to live in a place that you love and a place that brings you happiness. Life has its crazy and stressful moments, but your home shouldn’t add to that. It should be a place filled with wonderful memories, and kids and pets are an important part of that.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *