{diy with style} How to Child-Proof Horizontal Railings

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

It seems like kids can find a way to make just about anything dangerous! Am I right?! Deciding what to child-proof, and what not to, in your house is challenging, but the ultimate goal is to strike a good balance for your family somewhere between "bubble wrap all the things" and "fingers crossed they survive."

Obviously baby-proofing is no substitution for good parental supervision, but there are some dangers that are just too great to overlook. In our house - that danger is the horizontal railing in our second floor hallway, right between our boys' bedrooms. 

Make horizontal railings safer

When we bought the house, this railing seemed innocent enough, but the moment we had kids, I realized it was really nothing more than a ladder begging little boys to climb it... and then fall to the first floor. 

Not only is this a serious danger, it's also one the kids won't outgrow quickly. I can see this railing being just as much a climbing temptation to an 8 year old as it is to a 2 year old. Which is why we knew that we HAD to find a way to child-proof this railing in a manner that we could easily live with for many years to come.

This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something that I recommend, you pay the same price, but I may receive a small commission.

One thing that I quickly learned about baby-proofing is that there are a lot of options to choose from, but find products that actually work for the configuration of your house can be a major challenge. 

Take baby gates for example. Putting a gate on the stairs is one of those baby-proofing staples, especially in a house with three sets of steep, 20 step staircases! But finding gates that actually working on our stairs proved a huge headache!

Baby proof stairs child proof railings

Most safety gates can't attach properly at an angle - but due to the height of our baseboards and the positioning of our hand rails, an angle was a must. I finally found super sturdy option that gave us the flexibility we needed and we installed these baby gates on all three sets of stairs in our house. Thanks to these gate clamps {which we painted black} we were even able to attach a gate to our black banister without damage.  Best of all, the latches on these gates are secure enough that the kids have never been able to crack them!

baby gates on stairs safety gate

Options also abound when it comes to ways to child-proof railings. One popular product is a railnet - basically a netting that your stretch around the inside of railing. While this probably works great for vertical railings {it would stop kids from putting their head between the rails or dropping toys through}, netting is stretchy and really wouldn't be able to stop a kid from putting their feet on the horizontal rails if they want to climb.

Child Proof a Horizontal Railing

Finally I found a better the perfect solution for our horizontal rails - a roll of thin, durable, shatterproof, clear plastic that creates a shield around the railing while maintaining an unobstructed view!

I measured our railings, and then bought on 15' roll of the banister shield.

You'll notice that the roll looks to short for our railings, but it's actually just the right height to cover the span from the top rail to the bottom, leaving just a small gap uncovered below the bottom rail.

easiest way to child proof horizontal railing impossible to climb

We used the following simple "tools" to install the banister guard...

Installation Tools
11" Black Zip Ties (or other color to match your railings)
Measuring Tape
Hole Punch
Yard Stick (not pictured)
Wrench or Pliers (not pictured)

We started by unrolling the banister guard and measuring the length of one side of our railing. We marked the length using a Sharpie and used a yard stick to mark a straight line. Be sure to draw your Sharpie line on the side of the plastic that is covered in a removable, protective film.

The plastic is very easy to cut through with just a basic pair of scissors.

The process of installing the banister guard is fairly simply - you just punch holes in the plastic and use zip ties to secure the plastic to the railing. Be sure to place the side of the plastic with the protective film on the outside, so that you can easily remove it after installation.

Installing the banister guard is a two person job {at least until you get the top corners secured in place}. You'll need one person to hold the plastic in place while the other person uses the Sharpie to mark the location for punching the first two holes for wrapping zip ties around the top rail and side rail {as illustrated in the photo above}.

Once you have the top corners secured, flatten out the banister guard, and mark the spots that you'll attach the banister guard along the sides and bottom of the railing. Once again, don't worry about leaving Sharpie marks, because you'll later remove the protective film.

Use a hole punch to create a whole in the spot you marked...

Then wrap a zip tie through the hole and around the side rail.

You'll want to make sure the zip tie is tightened as much as possible, so use a pair of pliers once you can't tighten it any more by hand.

Once the zip tie is secure, use your scissors to trim of the excess.

With both sides of our railing covered in the plastic banister guard, but before protective film was removed, here's what it looked like...

Finally we were ready to remove the film. Starting in one corner, we slowly peeled away the film to reveal the crystal clear plastic.

Make horizontal railings impossible to climb banister guard

With the film removed from the right side, but not yet the left, you can see the drastic difference. On the right side, the plastic banister guard is almost invisible, but for a few reflections here and there.

Now I don't have to worry at all about the boys climbing these railings! 

Of course you know that I love solutions that are both functional and stylish, so it's a great added bonus that the clear plastic banister guard isn't an eye sore. It is nearly invisible, and even the zip ties virtually disappear against our black metal railings.

It's so great having piece of mind that these two little men can safely run and play in this hallway and without the temptation of climbing the horizontal railing.

I used to look at that railing and see nothing but a dangerous ladder, but now I can rest easy knowing it's impossible to climb! 

How to child proof or baby proof a horizontal railing banister guard

Baby Proof Child Proof Horizontal Railing

{five minute friday} Stylish Storage with an Anthropologie Inspired Gold Basket

Friday, June 24, 2016

As you may recall, a few months ago I turned an old printer stand into a rolling bar cart - it was one of four furniture flips I did for my Drab to Fab feature at the Denver Home Show. I installed several wine glass racks below the painted "counter top," but still had space to fill on the shallow shelf next to the glasses. 

Dollar Tree plastic basket makeover spray paint

The goal was to complete my furniture makeovers on a tight budget, so I wanted to accessorize on the cheap as well.  I immediately envisioned a gold wire basket on the bar cart shelf, like this one from Anthropolgie (affiliate link), but obviously the price wasn't right. Fortunately I was able to get the look for less with a quick and easy DIY. 

{diy with style} How to Make a Reusable Chalkboard Pennant Banner

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A while back, my mom made me a set of chalkboard fabric pennants that I string together create banners for lots of holidays and celebrations.  If you've been following my blog for a while, then you've probably seen my chalkboard banner show up in quite a few different posts - from my 4th of July backyard, to my Halloween and Christmas home tours.

For all of the artsy and craftsy things that I’m pretty good at, my sewing skills are very basic! But when my mom showed me how easy it is to make chalkboard fabric pennants, I thought, “now that’s a sewing project simple enough that even I could do it!” And if I can do it, then anyone can!

Easy DIY Chalkboard Pennant Banner

I love these chalkboard fabric pennants for many reasons - because they are reusable and versatile, because I can string together as many or as few as I want, and most of all, because it takes just a few minutes to write on them and hang them up to create a banner for any celebration!

So today I'm excited to show you just how easy it is to make your own reusable chalkboard pennants that you can write on and wipe off over and over to decorate for any special occasion or season!

{diy with style} The No-Sew Way to Reupholster Outdoor Cushions

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

'Out of sight, out of mind' is a real thing! Last fall, I had good intentions to get our outdoor cushions reupholstered so they'd be ready for this spring. But then we packed everything away, covered the furniture for the winter. I totally forgot about the cushions right up to the moment we uncovered them last month and I remembered that we couldn't use them in their current condition.

I made a few phone calls and quickly learned that getting the cushions professionally reupholstered would require dropping them off and waiting months {basically until the end of summer}, and it would cost much more than I wanted to spend! 

But I also knew that my basic sewing skills weren't going to cut it when it came to making completely new cushion covers. Instead I came up with a no-sew alternative that cost me less than $30 and took only an hour or so of time.

How to recover outdoor cushions

{gifts with style} Dad, I Wanted to Tell You...

Sunday, June 12, 2016

"I need to call Dad to tell him something!" are words I hear many times each day. At ages 3 and 4.5, both of my sons are daddy's boys, and are eager to share with him every interesting tidbit of their days. We do call Dad at work from time to time so they can share a funny story or something they've just learned, but often times I have to disappoint the boys with a, "Daddy's really busy, maybe we can call him later."

And when Dad is doing a show {he's also a professional actor} it's hard to explain to the boys that Dad can't answer the phone when he's at rehearsal. Especially when rehearsals and shows sometimes keep him away until after bedtime.

But the boys and I have come up with a brilliant solution just in time for Father's Day!  

Notes for Dad

{Denver style} Mid Century Modern Architecture for a New Century

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Like many cities, Denver has well preserved pockets of mid century modern homes built between 1935 and the mid-1950s, including Arapahoe Acres, the first mid-mod neighborhood to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. But if you think mid-mod is just a thing of the past, think again! A brand new Denver neighborhood is bringing an updated version of mid century modern to a new generation.

Last month I shared a photo from one of these homes on Instagram.  You guys loved it and requested to see more! So that's just what I'm bringing you today...

{five minute friday} 14 Everyday Items That Can Be Repurposed as Flower Vases

Friday, June 3, 2016

Adding flowers to any room immediately brightens up the space {fresh or fake, I don't discriminate}. For even more interest, get creative with your vases. Rather than grabbing that clear glass vase from the top shelf of the cabinet, why not look around the house for some other items that can be repurposed to create unique and colorful vases to add an unexpected touch to your decor?!

San Pellegrino Bottles Upcycled as Flower Vases

I like to add a lot of cheerful color to our home for spring and summer, and this year I created a simple centerpiece with a line of San Pellegrino bottles filled with faux cherry blossom stems.

{organizing with style} Squeeze Extra Storage Out of a Small Bathroom

Thursday, June 2, 2016

It feels like too long since we've talked organizing around here. But that's about to change, starting today! You know by now that I'm all about balancing function and style. I love to make my spaces pretty, but they also need to be practical! 

This is why I've never been a big fan of pedestal sinks. They look pretty, but I find them to be so impractical. Where are you supposed to store anything? 

Squeeze extra storage space out of a small bathroom

For years, this has been my dilemma in our basement bathroom. Where do I keep the extra toilet paper so that it's readily accessible? Where do I keep the extra towels? Where can I stash a few diapers and wipes so that I don't have to run up two flights of stairs to the nursery every. single. time?

{outdoor style} Early Summer Backyard Tour

Monday, May 30, 2016

Happy Memorial Day! I hope that you are enjoying the day with family and friends, and taking time to remember and reflect on those who have served our country. 

I was invited to join a fab group of bloggers who are opening our doors {or gates} this week for summer home tours. A couple of months ago I showed you how I decorate indoors for spring and summer, so I thought that this was a perfect opportunity to show you some summer updates in our backyard. {You'll find links to all of the other summer home tours at the end of the post!}

Outdoor living room

{mood board monday} Drawing Backyard Inspiration from a Favorite Vacation Photo

Monday, May 23, 2016

What's the weather been like in your neck of the woods? I know in some parts of the country it's felt like summer for months already, but here in Denver it was snowing at the end April, and was rainy and chilly for the first half of May. But it's I'm finally feeling like we can start getting outside and enjoying the backyard... perfect timing since I'll be sharing some updated backyard photos as part of a summer home tour next week.

Our backyard is already pretty colorful {as you can see in last year's backyard tour}, but I've had my eye on a few new accessories to make the space even more inviting this year. We may be landlocked here in Colorado, but I'm drawing my inspiration from one of my favorite photos from our honeymoon in Greek islands...

Greek Island Backyard Color Palette

{five minute friday} An Easy Trick to Hide Lamp Cords

Friday, May 20, 2016

Yesterday I came across a photo slide show of the gorgeous DC home that the Obama's will be renting when the leave the White House. I was just sitting down to write this post when I got sidetracked looking at the photos of the stunning mansion in its glorious shades of white and gray, and I had to laugh when I got to the photo of the home's basement family room. For all its high-end style, my eye was immediately drawn to a bunch of cords under one of the tables. It truly is a universal problem!

How to hide cords and wires

If I've piqued your interest about the Obama's future home, you'll find a link to the slide show of more than 30 photos linked from my Facebook page. But first, let's talk about that pesky cord problem that we all have, and a quick trick to fix it!

{diy with style} Faux Marble Shelves: An IKEA EKBY Hack

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Thank you guys so much for all of the love and sweet comments on our graphic glam master bathroom makeover last week! Everyone seemed to especially love my faux marble shelves, so today I'm excited to show you how simple and inexpensive they are to make! Each of the marble shelves in my water closet cost me just about $20 to create, but they look so high end! Even our friends and family who have seen them in person thought they were the real thing until I spilled my DIY secret.

DIY Faux Marble Shelf

{five minute friday} Indoor Flower Boxes

Friday, May 13, 2016

I'm jealous of those with green thumbs because mine are most definitely black! Even with drip lines and automatic timers that water my potted flowers outside, I can still hardly keep anything alive. So when it comes to the indoors, I love having a vase of fresh blooms on the counter, but other than that, faux is how I roll!

Indoor Flower Boxes

I wanted to add some more color to the kitchen for spring and summer, and I envisioned some bright pink blooms {fake of course}, but unlike the tall bottles of cherry blossoms lining my kitchen table, for the sideboard I needed to come up with a display that was long and low. 

{one room challenge} Graphic Glam Master Bathroom Reveal

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

I recently read a quote from interior designer Ken Fulk that said, "Design should inspire and make you smile, and should never be a bore." Just six short weeks ago our master bathroom was definitely a bore, but now it's so graphic, and glam, and just plain pretty, that I can't stop smiling from ear to ear.

Graphic Glam Master Bathroom

During the course of the One Room Challenge, our bathroom has gone from the most ignored room in the house, to my very favorite room! I'm so excited to finally be able to share it with you, so get comfortable and maybe grab a cup of coffee {or a glass of wine} because I have a lot of photos!

{one room challenge} Week 5: Ready to Add the Glam

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

We're in the home stretch of the One Room Challenge now! One week from today you will no doubt find me soaking in a hot bubble bath while watching TV reruns in my gorgeous new graphic glam master bathroom, but today the scene is much less relaxing. Paint shirts, dust, art leaning against the walls, and a mountain of shopping bags. In other words, the fun stuff!

Graphic Glam Master Bathroom - One Room Challenge

The past week has not been without a little drama and a few set backs, and I'm still waiting on the UPS man for a few key deliveries, but little by little it's all coming together.