4 Ideas for Stylishly Keeping Your Books Out of Your Toddler's Reach

A few weeks ago when I reached out to readers to send me their design questions and dilemmas, my friend, Sarah, who is expecting a baby boy soon, sent this question in. 

How about using shelves on brackets as the primary shelves for books (instead of book cases...) I’m thinking about baby proofing and how to keep books out of reach without the top half of a wall getting to heavy looking

It is a great question because for Sarah, who recently finished her course work for her Ph.D., and her husband, who is working towards becoming a pediatrician, both the safety of their books and baby is an important concern. I gots me some smart friends, people. ;)

I came up with four solutions that I think could work well for keeping baby boy and mommy and daddy's books safe, intact, and free of a toddlers side notes in the margins while still looking pretty. Baby proofing doesn't mean you have to give up on your home looking pretty. You just might have to get a little more creative. ;)

1. Add seating in front of or under the shelves. 

Of course, the famous Emily Henderson has already tackled this issue with one of her clients, the popular blogger, Cup of Jo. They used container store shelving and placed the sofa in front of the shelves. It looks good, but a couple of downsides is that it does block the shelves making it not super convenient to just go grab whatever book you need and also, once the little man starts to climb, he will be able to get to the books and trinkets eventually.

To fix this problem, you could eliminate some of the lower shelves and place the sofa under the shelving similar to what this home owner did with their bed. You just want to make sure you're placing your shelves high enough up so that your head isn't bumping into them when you sit on the couch to watch a movie! The only thing is, the books would still not be easy to grab off the shelf in this scenario.

Or you can place a couple of arm chairs in front of your shelves, while still hanging your shelves higher up on the walls like these in the Magnolia House would be if they didn't have the storage underneath them

One more seating solution I have and the one I probably like the best is storing either poufs or a couple of stools like this one from A Beautiful Mess under the shelf. Not only does this option help balance out the wall, it provides additional seating when guests come over or gives grandma a soft place to sit when she wants to play with the kids but not sit directly on the floor and you can still reach the books easily. 

2. Create a desk area underneath.

I like this idea because it keeps your books easily accessible while you're studying or working and it generally looks really good. 

I know this space doesn't really show a lot of books, but I wanted to show how this idea could be incorporated in a tighter, more vertical space than the two images above.

3. Add toy storage or general storage underneath.

I love the idea of adding toy storage underneath because it keeps the family's play and work area connected. 

These shelves by Ana White are especially cute. 

via: Ana White

I love how Molly from Almost Makes Perfect incorporated a filing cabinet and basket under her shelves and she also has a tutorial on how she created this shelving system.

4. Create one large focal point area.

I love how the shelves frame the sofa in this image from Style Me Pretty. They've also incorporated our first idea of storing additional seating under the shelves. The mirror and art fill the void between the shelves. I love this space because not only does it make the books easy to get to, it's also a beautiful cozy place to read. It's functional and beautiful, two things I'm always striving for in home design.

What do you guys think? Do you have any other ideas for Sarah that I haven't thought about? Please share them in the comments. I love hearing from you guys!