Hello Jennifer Rizzo Readers! This is Alice W. from Thoughts from Alice, and I am thrilled to be here today sharing some tips for bookshelf styling while keeping young children in mind. I have two preschool age children, fifteen months apart, so my decorating has changed a lot in the past few years. I still love to decorate, but have found the need to make compromises to keep my home well-styled, yet safe and fun for my children. I actually enjoy the challenge of combining both elements!
Before we had children, my husband and I bought a rustic shelf from an antique store in our area. I loved decorating it with vintage touches and various tchotchkes. Once our first child was able to move around on her own and began climbing up on everything, all of that changed. In fact, I eventually took this shelf out of the living room entirely for awhile.
We had a second child fairly quickly, and soon our house was overrun with toys and baby gear. I lived in decorating woe for a couple of years, thinking I could never have the best of both worlds: a stylish home that was safe for small children.
Now that my children are no longer babies, life is a bit easier, as is decorating. I have found the spaces and places to decorate for me and the ones to decorate for them. This shelf has become one of those compromising places. I currently decorate the top few shelves with my own style in mind, and keep the lower shelves kid friendly (but still cute).
My style is a mixture of vintage, rustic, industrial and bohemian elements, which you can find throughout this shelf. I love adding natural elements, like the bundle of wheat. The color matches with the glass of the lantern, and the woven basket is a good balancing piece for this top shelf vignette.
For the top two inside shelves, I combined industrial finds with old books. I like to think of what my kids would enjoy seeing, so I always throw in some elements of interest for them, like the globe ornament and little owl peeking through the books.
I know that my kids will play with whatever is on the middle shelf, so I purposefully put things that aren’t too precious. I don’t mind if they play with certain vintage finds. I want it to be our home, not my collection of untouchables. And sometimes things do get broken, but since most of my decor is thrift store finds, the loss is usually not too great.
The bottom two shelves are reserved for my kids. We have a playroom for most of their toys, but I don’t mind having some in the living room. They end up playing in here anyways, so I might as well make the most of it. I try to keep it cohesive with the rest of the look, so in this arrangement, I have an old wooden box filled with blocks for easy access.
The bottom shelf has a basket filled with books, a maraca, and off to the side, a macrame purse is filled with more kid’s books. All of these elements keep with the boho chic vibe that I love.
The decorative storage basket on the other side is filled with stuffed animals hidden under a stylish throw.
This is real life, and I know that my kids won’t keep these shelves “styled” as I would all of the time. They play with things, move them, do their own rearranging and it’s all good with me. I have gotten used to it and love seeing these signs of life in our home. Some day I might even miss the challenge of incorporating toys into my decor…