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Blending Child Safety and Style III

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8. Have you decorated any homes that have kids?


What did you suggest?

My expertise and service lay in arrangement design, using what the client already owned.  So I looked to create conversation arrangements that did not allow traffic to cross in the middle. This infringes on enjoyment, say of watching TV, but it also would reduce the chances of accidents.

I would look to arrange the room so that the parent still had good visuals of the play area from the kitchen.

I would look to arrange rooms so that the traffic lanes were a little wider to accommodate toddlers.

I would take out area rugs that would migrate or bunch or that were slippery.

I placed breakables up high or removed them altogether.

I would recommend gates at the top AND bottom of any stairs.

I recommended latches on the inside of all cupboards and drawers, especially in the kitchen, bath and garage.

Eliminate all weapons. That's a given.

Put built-ins in the child's bedroom, if possible.

Baby rooms should always have a working one-way sound intercom so that you can tell immediately when your baby or small child awakes from other parts of the house. This is especially important if you have a two-story home.

I recommended high door knobs, latches and bolts for added protection that are out of reach of small hands. I once found a toddler out in the middle of the street in my neighborhood, completely unattended. I was mortified. Since I did not know which home she belonged to, I took her home and called the police.  Someone did not do a good job of ensuring that the child was safely LOCKED in the home.  My children were NEVER allowed to play in the front yard and I walked them to school and picked them up afterwards, even though the school was only 2 blocks away.

If I'm going to err, it's going to be on the side of too much safety and not on the flip side.

As for sheer decor, I geared my kid's rooms to the kinds of activities and hobbies they had at the time. Both of mine were athletes, so their rooms included trophies, ribbons, photos, posters and such that were associated with their sports, their heros and/or musical taste.  Both of mine were also artists, so I took pains to make sure their art was matted and framed and displayed appropriately. (Fortunately for me they were pretty good.)  Try to get away with leaving all this kind of stuff OFF your refrigerator.

Colors chosen for their rooms did not HAVE to go with the rest of the home, but I tried to find tints and shades that achieved their goals and hopefully did not offend the eye compared to the rest of the home. Unity and flow are important concepts in decor, but not always that harmonious with all members of the family.

Bedspreads, window treatments, wallcoverings were chosen with their age in mind (plus a few years).

All crayons and art materials were closely monitored and controlled.

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(2004-05 Copyright Barbara Jennings)

Barbara Jennings
is the West Coast Pioneer in Redesign, author of 7 decorating books, a published artist, corporate art consultant, and furniture arrangement consultant. For training in professional furniture and accessory arrangement, or to start your own redesign or art consulting business, please visit: