Alicia sent us an email with the above photo: Any ideas on how to create a fun and safe space for my 7 month old without converting my living room into a giant play-pen? He is standing up and needs a soft area to land when he tumbles over so putting up gates does not seem all that wise of an idea. I would like something we don't have to take down when guests come over to our home.
Wow. It looks like the little guy has his own fort there.
The first thing you'll want to do if you haven't already is safety proof the room (and the house while you're at it!) Make sure there are no immediate dangers, sharp objects, tall furniture not secured to the wall, open outlets, or long blind cords.
It's hard to see what's under that blanket, but how about a nice soft rug? Many people put down foam mats like the Skip Hop Play Spot, but a soft rug would do just as well. You could add a pretty, modern blanket or quilt on top for extra padding.
As for the sides of the space- while you can't cover every hard surface, you could throw some bean bag style pillows or cushions around the perimeter. Fatboy makes some colorful cushions available in Dwell or Marimekko designs. Zid Zid Kids also makes some fun poofs you could toss around. Floor pillows from Ikea might add some more cushion.
Unless he's being left in the room alone, it doesn't seem like you need a whole lot more than that. As he learns to walk and explore, there are bound to be a few falls! Readers- ideas?