Boy have we come a long way since our childhood, riddled with blue plastic Fisher-Price table and chairs sets and red Flintstones cars to an inventory of realistic, design-friendly child products (that don’t skimp on the developmental or functionality factor.) A lot of it has to do with a more educated consumer parental base and the industry distancing itself from plastics and bright colors that overwhelm with anxiety ridden designs while moving towards organic, wooden and health-conscious material.
I’ve learned there is a way to achieve balance with the eye of an editor and mindset of a teacher, putting your child’s interest first and keeping your sanity at a close second.
Here are 9 tot furnishings and products that are design-friendly, will look as good in your nursery as they will in your living room and can serve different purposes later on (hello, fellow commitment-phobes!):
- Casper Kids Chair by LexMod, $63.00.
I realize I’m saying this again, but boy have we come a long way since those blue Fisher-Price chairs of yesteryear. I’m so happy companies like LexMod have created mini versions of the designer chairs that are peppered through trendy interior magazines. Ghost chairs will work in any room without adding visual clutter. They’re perfect for nurseries, work stations and playrooms. This brand also makes mid-century modern designs if that’s more your thing. Once your little has outgrown it, they’d be perfect to keep around for kids tables at parties or even staged in a corner that needs some design love with a plant propped on top. During Christmas, add it to your holiday display next to the tree covered in presents. It could also be an unexpected, whimsical addition to those odd spaces like architectural nooks and shelves.
2. Boon Stash Organizer from Amazon, $19.99.
Caddies like this fun Boon Organizer add an unexpected detail to your little’s desk. In white, the circles become outlined by the objects in them instead of being the star of the show (what would happen if you picked a prominent color.) What I love about these organizers in particular is that they are outfitted with holes in the bottom so you can attach them to the wall if you want to save some surface area. How neat! I love products that are flexible to change with my needs and designs. It just ups the value instantly. These organizers would also be fantastic for makeup brushes, in an adult craft/sewing space or even a tool shed.
3. Belle Upholstered Crib by Restoration Hardware, $1349-1399.
Okay, I admit this was a splurge and I had no business purchasing it (stop judging, FA’s) but I have no regrets about getting this gorgeous crib that I plan to pass on to the next generation. There might be less-expensive options, but it’s tough to find something that adheres to the following: the rounded posts look soft and less institutional than the bulk of what is out there, with a conversion kit you can lengthen the term of use as a toddler bed, quality construction that will last generations, it already looks antique, the details are fit for royalty and it just feels magical. I don’t plan on taking a hacksaw to it anytime soon, but if you are as handy as I’d like to be the ends would make gorgeous desk backings.
4. Kinney Glider by Dwell Studio, from $799.
Two years ago, before my first was born there weren’t a whole lot of design friendly gliders and rocking chairs to choose from. Kudos to the retailers who have upped the inventory since then. I swear it has quadrupled since I was in the market. Now, it’s not hard to find something unlike what our parents had (God-bless you mustard colored, sandpaper-esque, stain-ridden thang.) Even with better designs to choose from I stand by the Dwell Studio Kinney Glider. This is why – the curves of the chair work with any style in any room (it’ll last beyond your ‘experimental’ phases). I wanted something I could use long after the kids were grown up that didn’t scream “rocker.” The micro suede is a cinch to clean up – you just spot treat with a damp cloth and it’s back to brand new. Neutral tones and silhouette allow for other furnishings or objects to be the star of the room.
5. Clarissa Crystal Drop Chandelier (small) by Pottery Barn, $239.
I noticed PBK added a bunch of new chandeliers and lighting to their repertoire that were of course juvenile. This Clarissa Chandelier (in small) I scored on Craigslist. I adore it and would still pick it today. The small scale is dainty enough for a nursery and the design is mature enough to transfer to other spaces in the house when we move. I love that it adds the perfect amount of glitz without looking too bling’d out. In comparison to the other sparkly picks out there, the patina that covers the rim not only outlines it against a white ceiling which makes it noticeable in it its small stature, but it looks regal enough to have in a grown up reading nook, entry-way or floating over a living room side table. It doesn’t scream princess and you won’t get tired of it.
5. KidKraft Vintage Kitchen from Wayfair, from $146.
My daughter loves imitating my husband and I with this vintage kitchen. And visitors can’t keep their hands off it. I appreciate that it is functional, developmental and looks like an actual kitchen. It isn’t an eyesore next to our kitchen and it costs just a third of the price of some of the others on the market. It’s also fun to have if you’re like me – love the retro look of it but are too chicken to make the plunge for our own kitchen. It comes it sweet pastels as well.
6. Rugby Stripe Bin by The Container Store, $16.99.
Bins like this Rugby Stripe one from The Container Store work in every space and are easy to spot without a whole lot of visual clutter. I have 3 of them that I move back and forth between our living room and nursery and they look great all the time. They add more style than the sisal baskets yet aren’t juvenile to where you won’t be able to use them once your little is grown. They would make the perfect entry way, under console table storage or linen closet storage bins.
7. Straight & Narrow Book Ledge from Land of Nod, $24.95.
These forward-facing book ledges are a great way to showcase some of your child’s favorite books up and center, and allow for easy access. You just need a few for his/her top picks and can contain the rest in a book shelf, bin or closet to reduce the clutter. What I love about this idea is that the ledges make for excellent gallery wall additions later on.
8. Heritage Kids Tee Pee from Wayfair.com, $69.99.
It’s safe to say children and adults love this tee pee equally. It acts as a secret sanctuary for your little and screams “fun” in any space. I have it in our living room and use it to hide toys when not in use. It’s a quick way to reduce clutter. I’d recycle the fabric into outdoor pillows once my daughters are through using it as a tee pee.
9. Emily & Meritt Activity Gym from Pottery Barn Kids, $99.00.
Can we say gorge-town? This Emily and Meritt design for PBK is the perfect balance of sweet and functional. It won’t raise your blood pressure like some of the louder options, yet it isn’t as blah as the monotone wooden organic gyms out there. I can imagine the mat being re-purposed into a floor pillow or wall hanging once it has served its first function.
I’d love to hear about your tot furnishing gems. Email me all about it.