As I pondered what to share with you this week, my mind drifted to a time when i visited a friend who was a mother to a toddler and boy, was her house in a state!
I am talking about baby wipes, powder, Vaseline and rattles on the carpet, bed sheets on the chair, baby bottles on the coffee table and cartoons programme running on the television. There was no corner of that room that did not have some kind of bright coloured object. Needless to say, when I sat on the sofa there was a loud squeak that caused me to spring right back up...it was one of those rabbit toys that squeak when pressed.
It was evident that one of the occupants of that home was a baby (toddler). Just because you are in the child ‘rearing’ stages of life does not mean you cannot have a well designed living space where age groups can co-exist without infringing on the other.
Divide the living room into three quarters. One quarter will be turned into a play pen while the other two will be adult space.
For the play pen employ a partition preferably one through which the mother can steal looks at her baby while watching her favourite soap or entertain a friend.
The best options for constructing a play pen are wood and metal poles. Should you chose wood, avoid the mobile partitions (screens) because while they provide separation and visibility, they are not stable enough for a crawling baby who might be able to push it over.
With the metal option, select 4cm diameter chrome poles and have them drilled through the floor. They do not have to go all the way to the ceiling (cut costs) a height of 5 ft would suffice.
Have the tips of the poles at alternating heights of 5ft and 4ft when finally put together they will create a wave (which in itself will become a design feature).
If your living decor theme is rustic/African the chrome poles can be replaced with bamboo poles, which is an inexpensive option.
improvise. Your living room does not have to be disorderly just because you have a toddler. Get a play pen and organise.
Play area options
If you cannot afford to construct a play pen, move your set of sofas in such a way that the longest (three-seater) becomes the partition for the one quarter. Considering that visibility will be limited, you will have to be stationed in that particular chair in order to be able to peep over the back rest and monitor activity. With this arrangement your darling baby can move around with less supervision and also ‘mess’ up the space without you having to fidget around trying to tidy up every time you hear a knock at your door.
Gloria Kawuma is an interior designer