Now that our daughter, Lina, is on the move, the pressure is on to make our home as safe and baby-friendly as possible. There are seemingly endless options for this, but most don’t fit our home’s beachy style.

I have had to get creative and look outside of traditional kid stores to find items that match. It turns out that making your home family-friendly does not mean limiting yourself to things labeled kid- or baby-friendly. Consider some of these tips for adding family-friendly items to your home without sacrificing style.


Think about what it is you need in terms of these items. Often this means durability, stain-resistance and soft materials.

A good place to start is to bring the outdoors in. Use outdoor rugs and pillows that can withstand high traffic and spills. You can clean these easily by hosing them off outside or even throwing them in the wash.

Add efficiency to the living room by pulling in double-duty items. In the family room, add poufs. Adults can use them as ottomans and kids can use them as seats.


Another simple tip that yields noticeable results is turning a bug (something bad) into a feature. This is one of my favorite pieces of advice from my dissertation adviser, and it translates well into the home.

Lina was constantly fidgeting with the digital media player and router on the bottom shelf of our media console. At the same time, I was searching for a kid-friendly bookshelf. Rather than purchasing an extra piece of furniture and struggling to place it, I stacked the electronics on the top shelf (where they are out of reach) and added her books on the bottom.

If you are in the market for a new table, whether it be a coffee table, end table, dining table, or even a new night stand, opt for circular or oval shapes. These don’t come with sharp edges and therefore cut down on the chances of injury to your little ones if they fall on one.


One of my biggest fears was that Lina would hurt herself on our tile floor. Instead of adding kid-themed rubber padding everywhere, I opted for some soft area rugs instead. These have the added bonus of providing a safe, non-slip surface for my dog to run and jump. Choose a rug with a busy pattern. This will help to disguise inevitable stains from accidental spills later on.

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