The living room is the life of the home. Adults and children alike spend majority of their time in this one room throughout the day. The question is, how do we find a balance between their two spaces? Living in an apartment, there is no option of a separate play area in a different room. I've laid out some ideas in this blog post.
Here's a look at the entire living room. Not too much of an open space but it's very functional!
This is the sitting area:
I just use a small ottoman with a tray on for guests. Both from Target.
Since my toddler loves to climb on the side of the sofa and play with the light switch, I kept a large sitting cushion on the bottom in case he falls off the edge.
On the other side of the sofa, kept in a corner, are all of his toys.
Although there are quite a few items here, they are not too much of an eyesore because they are all stored in one small corner of the room. I have stored my son's smaller toys in his infant co-sleeper, and a few larger toys around it. A large basket would have the same function.
Most people opt for using an ottoman to store their kids toys in. Sure, it looks less cluttered if you pack everything away, but here are my thoughts on why it's better not to:
1) Less convenient for the child. The child also lives in that space all day long and needs his or her own little area to play in!
2) There's always the fear of the child hurting his or her finger while taking the lid off or putting it on when they are young.
3) Less toys fit in ottomans.
4) When cleaning up, all I have to do is pick up toys from around the living room and throw them in the bin from anywhere close! No need to go and open the lid or anything. Just pick up and aim!
5) When guests come over they understand that I have a toddler and he needs his own area. Sometimes when I'm busy in the kitchen, he's busy playing with his toys, which lets me work. If all of his toys were packed away he would probably be giving me a tough time!
6) Other children who come over love this little area.
The key is not to overdo it. More toys than this amount would make the area look too cluttered. If I get more larger toys, I will store some older ones away. 4 large toys at a time seem to be working to keep him busy.
Now for the other side of the room:
We have my son's jumperoo here. Notice how the color chosen is kind of muted compared to most baby toys. This allows it to blend into the decor a little better. He has loved it dearly for 1 and a half years now, but has grown out of it. I need to store it and replace it with something more age appropriate for him (2 years), but I'm not sure what. Do you have any ideas? A chalk board easel or teepee perhaps?
We also have the computer area in this room. We don't own a TV, so no need to worry about space for that. Finally, we have my son's old changing table at the end of the room.
I repurpose this changing table into a beverage cart if I'm hosting a party, but regularly it looks like this. On the top shelf are the hot beverage station supplies. On the bottom two are diaper changing supplies that I just pull out and use on the floor as needed. And the cute little chair on the side? His time-out area to sit in for one minute if he's throwing too many tantrums. :( Such are the ways of parenting.
Overall this is a very child friendly room and working out for our toddler! Do you have any other ideas I haven't thought of?
If you'd like links for any specific items shown in this post please leave a comment below and I'd be glad to assist.
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