Saturday, July 31, 2010

Family Friendly Furniture: Coffee Table 411

The coffee table. So much is expected of it. Look good. Be sturdy. Hold my coffee cup. And the remotes. Let me rest my feet on you. Oh, and some girlfriends are coming over for movie night so we'll need you to watch over our wineglasses (pre preggo, of course).

And when you have little ones the coffee table has to do even more! And take a bigger beating. Wanna know what to look for in a coffee table? Okay, we'll tell you.

1. Avoid Glass
It can break. And that can be dangerous. Don't think little Timmy is NEVER going to try to climb on top of it. Or that Sally and friends aren't going to use it for their baby dolls one day. Glass scratches easily. Yes, cleaning it is a snap, but replacing it is a pain in the you know what. If at all possible, try to avoid glass for the coffee table in your main living space. This one is cute, but not a good idea.
2. Scale it down
When you have kids, you need room for them to crawl around and later play. Having a coffee table the size of Texas eats away at precious space. You don't want something so small it looks disproportionate to your furniture, but you do want something that gives a little breathing room. And you don't want the lack of space between the table and couch to be a safety hazard either. Some designers suggest grouping a few smaller tables together or a few smaller storage cubes that can function as a coffee table. They give you versatility and can be moved out of the way if it is play time and you need more room. And when kiddies are asleep or you have friends over, you can put them right back where you want them and party on Mom & Dad!
3. Distressed Look
I am not sure who started this trend, but my money is on some parent who also happened to be a furniture designer. The distressed look is every parents secret weapon. The paint is purposefully worn off in places and the table is beat to he_ _ . No one has to know that baby Tommy is the one that caused THAT little spot there with his Tonka truck. It looks like it was part of the design. Thanks!!

4. Storage
This should be your new mantra as a Mom. Storage Storage Storage... A table that you can add some cute baskets underneath is perfect for tucking away things like the remotes you don't want baby eating. Or a diaper/wipe stash. Or some toys and an extra blanket. Your living room/den will be so much more enjoyable for both Mommy and Baby if everything has a place. Baskets are a great way to keep your coffee table organized and stylish, too.

5. Knick Knacks
Banish them. At least early on until baby can understand what is okay to touch and what is just for decoration. Like this picture above, for example. Love the cute tray with candles and the vase with real flowers. But the candles are unsafe. And even unlit, have you ever tried getting wax out of carpet or fabric? What about seen a toddler eat a candle? Have you seen that? We have. Bring them out when you are entertaining, but not for everyday use. Until later.
This room is cool because the decorative items are up high. It is still stylish and modern. And that table behind the couch is prime for storing toys or other kiddie stuff if need be. Can't guarantee that the vases on top of this table would make it, but they can be put away until they are safe.

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