Hey Loves! I hope you are having a great week. I love any opportunity to combine my two passions- medicine and decor. Over the past few months, I have had a lot of coffee table related injuries come through the Emergency Room. Unfortunately, coffee tables can be extremely unsafe as they have sharp edges and are low to the ground. It is particularly dangerous for infants just learning to walk. So today we are going to discuss chic solutions to kid friendly coffee tables.
When Alison and I were decorating her family room, she had this beautiful, rectangular, drift wood coffee table in mind. I will give it to her, it was stunning! However, I gently explained to her that although beautiful, it would almost guarantee her a Emergency Room visit with her son to get stitches in his forehead (which is one of the most common coffee table related injuries). Well thank G-d we went with a safer option because to say that my nephew has an adventurous soul would be an understatement. There are so many beautiful, chic, and safe options for coffee tables. So let’s get started!
The Ottoman. This is by far my favorite and easiest way to accomplish a stylish look while ensuring a safe environment for your little one. If you have created a relatively neutral family room, this is a great opportunity to add color and pattern. Ballard designs has so many fabrics to choose from. Just make sure to reference the colors in your ottoman with other elements in the room such as throw pillows and accent pieces to pull the look together. If you have a bold patterned rug, go with a neutral color. I had a camel tufted leather ottoman made for our family room. The nice thing about leather is that is extremely easy to clean, which is important with small children. When using an ottoman it is important to keep in mind that the top of the ottoman should be about one or two inches lower than your sofa seat. This makes it easy for guests to set down their dessert plate or cut a piece of cheese.
The Shape Matters. Although round and oval shaped coffee tables don’t eliminate all risk, they significantly decrease the chance of injury. The sharp edges of the rectangular tables cause many of the facial and extremity lacerations that I treat in the ER. When buying a circular coffee table make sure you keep scale in mind. If you have a large L-shaped couch, tape out the diameter of the table to visualize how it will look with the large couch. Remember, the ideal distance from the edge of the sofa to the edge of the table is 18 inches, which is close enough to reach for your drink or put down a magazine, but far enough to stretch out your legs.
Spacial planning is important! It is not only the material and shape of the coffee table that is important but also the space between the different pieces of furniture in your room. A good rule to follow is to allow for at least 30 inches from the outer edge of the coffee table to the TV stand or media cabinet. This will not only create a spacial appealing room but also help to prevent tripping and running into the coffee table. A great solution to a narrow space is to do a pairing. Instead of doing one large coffee table use two smaller ottomans, tables, or garden stools. This will allow for more movement in the room.
Safety is the most important element of decor when dealing with young children. If you aren’t looking to redecorate or you are married to an oversized rectangular table, make sure to cover the edges of the table. Although it might not look perfect, it will keep your child safe and that is truly all that matters. See you next Wednesday!