Welcome to the next post in my series of summer guest blogs. Today’s piece is from a newer blogger, Laura at Only Teethin, who showcases how to have a toddler AND a lovely home. Do show her some love. Enjoy!
“Life is never the same once a baby arrives, you know.” No, really?! When I was pregnant with our son Ted, I heard this sort of thing often.
“You can’t have nice things when you have a toddler running around,” and “you’ll have to get rid of THAT when baby comes.” Thanks for the input, doom-mongers.
We moved into our house just over two years ago. Graham and I are both from Hull and met in 2013 when I moved back home after living in Australia for a few years. Graham’s a musician, and a lot of our prints and knick-knacks in our home are linked to travel and music.
Our son Ted is now 14 months, and I think we’ve managed to find some toddler-friendly décor solutions that don’t make the house look like a below-par soft play centre. Yet.
(I realise though that Ted’s currently in the stage between baby and toddler, and in six months our nice house might no longer be…nice. And the doom-mongers can rub their hands with glee. So let me enjoy it for now. And if anyone’s got any tips for stylish toddler-proofing – or just to tell me I need to surrender to a life lived under a sea of LEGO – please get in touch!)
This is where we spend the majority of our time at home with Ted, so it’s where we’ve made the most adjustments.
When we first moved in, we didn’t have to do too much to the house, but there were a few things that we wouldn’t necessarily have chosen ourselves. I’m not a huge fan of the wood surround on the fireplace, for example, but it works well as a focal point for this room.
Ted started making a beeline for the fireplace as soon as he could crawl, so we’ve put a few Primark and ASDA blankets and oversized H&M cushions on the floor to cover the marble hearth and create a makeshift Ted-proofed floor area.
Before Ted arrived, we had a lovely big palm plant in the window of this room, which was replaced with a Fisher-Price Jumperoo when Ted was about six months old. Not quite my ideal statement piece, but he loved it.
Once he’d outgrown the Jumperoo, we bought a big basket from TK Maxx for his toys, which now lives by the window next to his MegaBloks table. I’m under no illusion that the basket won’t be overflowing by next Christmas but it keeps things tidy for now.
This Wayfair cabinet was a recent purchase to keep electricals and wires out of Ted’s reach. It’s a small space so it was tricky to find something to fit, but this one is the perfect size and was less than £100.
Our rounded coffee table from Made was one of our first purchases when we moved in. I’m a bit of a décor dictator and am in charge of most things but Graham picked this. It was a great choice (don’t tell him!) and the fact it hasn’t got sharp corners means it’s not too much of a hazard for Ted.
The poster on top of the table – of one of our favourite bands, The Charlatans – was from Etsy, in an ASDA frame. I love the colours of this print.
At the moment, Ted doesn’t seem to be drawn to the IKEA shelving unit or the monstera plant – which is slowly taking over the room – but that might change as he gets older and we’ll move things around again.
The big lightbox on the shelves used to live on the fireplace before we Ted-proofed it; I really wanted one when we first moved in and ended up getting ours from Typo, an Australian shop that recently started selling here. It cost quite a bit for it to be shipped, and then all of a sudden those lightboxes were everywhere! Drat. I still like our A3 version though.
This room is dominated by our gallery wall, which I love, although I’m already thinking we might have to swap the black and white print before much longer. It’s got the 60s band The Small Faces on it, and they’re sat around smoking – I don’t want Ted to think smoking is cool! In the same vein, I don’t suppose our ‘Wasted’ sign – bought a few years ago from a local market for about £5 – is too child-friendly either, but it looks good.
We’ve got the white IKEA cabinet that everyone seems to have – which is actually great for locking things away in – and I love the print of Farrah Fawcett bought from Rockett St George; she’s overlooking everything and generally being awesome.
We picked up most things in here quite cheaply: the table was a hand-me-down from my parents, and the Tolix-style chairs were from ASDA. Our rug was from H&M and the curtains from Maison Du Monde.
HALLWAY AND OFFICE
I’ve got a theory that if we can keep our hallway looking nice, then visitors might not realise if the rest of the house is a mess! We’ve got more prints and photographs in the hall, plus a runner version of the ‘Insta-famous’ La Redoute rug in there (a bargain at around £45 during one of their sales) which hopefully detracts a little bit from the chaos elsewhere.
We’ll have to get stairgates fitted too before much longer; not quite in keeping with the overall ‘look’ but obviously a necessity now Ted is walking.
My office is one room that Ted doesn’t usually go in, but admittedly it’s not always that tidy as I’m usually trying to do several things at once. The wall decal from Etsy cost about £25 and keeps me in the right frame of mind to stay productive.
Photography: Anete Sooda
Laura O’Donnell is a features writer and columnist, and provides copywriting and PR support to brands. You can find her new parenting + lifestyle website at www.onlyteethin.com. She lives in Hull, East Yorkshire with her partner Graham and 14 month old son, Ted. Twitter @TheLauraOD / Instagram @onlyteethin