Childproofing and Kid-Friendly Decorating

As the mother of three active children, Kathy Ireland knows something about childproofing a home. Here, she shares a few tips on keeping kids safe at home.
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Affix larger pieces of furniture to the walls. One way to do this is to attach brackets to the furniture and the wall and use zip cords to fasten them together.

kid friendly storage and seating colorful addition

kid friendly storage and seating colorful addition

Figure C

Photo by: Lucie Rowe

Lucie Rowe

Use cleats, available at most home-improvement stores, to keep excess window-covering cords out of the reach of children.

Invest in simple plastic covers to keep tiny fingers from poking into electrical outlets. Even if the kids are too big for such precautions, smaller friends or cousins can always come for a visit, and it would be a good idea to prevent accidents when they do.

Drill a few air holes in toy chests or any other container that a child might get locked in. Don’t necessarily tell the kids you’ve done this; there’s no need to encourage this type of behavior – kids can think of enough mischief without any help.

Design expert Jennifer Dion shares some of her own kid-friendly ideas:

Buy furniture in fabrics and colors that can withstand rough treatment.

Check to see what type of storage/seating is out there. Also look for multipurpose storage units such as cubes that can serve as tables and media storage.

Decorate furniture for kids’ rooms by painting it bright colors and decoupaging with designs cut from wrapping paper.

Create a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture by decoupaging the top of a standard toy box with photos of a child from infancy on. No one else will have one like it.

Finally, replace the child’s closet door with a curtain. Use a curtain that slides easily, then add a tie-back, and the kids can also use the closet for a puppet theater.

More on design with Kathy Ireland:

The overall design of her house: We had our architect build our home to look old, although it’s only two years old. When scrapes happen on the floor because the kids have been playing, it looks like it’s supposed to be there, and I like that. It’s got a Mediterranean feel to it, a lot of Italian influence, and a lot of Mexican influence.

Favorite designer: Of all the designers, my favorite is God! Living up here in Santa Monica, just looking at the color palettes and the mountains – it’s my greatest influence. Whenever I can bring elements of the outdoors in, I do it.

Where she finds inspiration: A lot of my inspiration comes from my travels. Our family spends a lot of time in the South Pacific, for example. I just love the lifestyle there. Very laid back, very tropical. I also do a lot of scuba diving, and I love just looking at the fish with their bright colors and vibrant patterns.

Decorating style: I want my home to be for the entire family. When I was growing up, there were certain homes I remember visiting where people would say, “Keep the kids out of the living room,” but I want my kids to feel comfortable in every room of our house.

Hints for beginning decorators: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is a lot of help out there if you just ask. Much of my house was a team effort. When you’re at a retail store, ask the salesperson’s opinion: “How does this color go with this pattern?” There are helpful people out there. Also, realize that your home will never be finished. It’s a work in progress.

Trick to decorating: Well, I’m not interested in just houses. I’m interested in homes. When someone walks through the door to your home, they should get an immediate impression of who you are.

Decorating with kids: Sure. They help in their rooms. As little ones, you want them to be comfortable in their room, so they see it as a retreat. Also, you don’t want them to be afraid of the decorating process when they grow up. Maybe pick out a few options that you like, and then let them pick. That way they aren’t overwhelmed by the choices.

First step when decorating a room: I like to start from the ground up. Will I have hardwood floors, throw rugs, or carpeting? Then I just go from there. For my kids’ rooms, for example, we put soft throw rugs down because little ones spend so much time on the floor. Then use the colors from the floor to help define the rest of the room.

Creating a feel for a room: I use color, because it evokes moods. For example, we used warm earth tones in our living room to evoke a relaxed, inviting feeling. In the kids rooms we used bright colors to evoke a playful, fun feel.

Favorite aspect of decorating: Definitely the process. I don’t think these rooms are ever fully done, so you have to enjoy the process. I just love to experiment.

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