When My Toddler Took a Sharpie to the Sofa


Picture this… a beautifully designed room with a cozy white rug, a soft and luxurious light-coloured sofa, a velvet-upholstered ottoman, and stunning wood side tables to tie the look together. Now, continue thinking of this inviting room… but envision all of the furniture artfully “enhanced” by a toddler with a bold, black permanent Sharpie marker. Horrifying thought, am I right?

In honour of my son Spencer turning 4 this month (how is this possible!?), I thought it would be an appropriate time to re-share this delightfully hilarious yet horrifying story. I know what you’re thinking, “That sweet face cannot be capable of making such a mess!” and while it was an innocent mishap, I can assure you, he is capable of more than his perfectly angelic looks can behold…


Spencer Meets the Sharpie

It all started one morning while I was tidying up the kitchen. My partner, Chris (Spencer’s dad), was catching up on work in the dining room, and I suddenly realized that our dear 18 month-old Spencer had become mysteriously quiet. If you are a parent, you know that the silence of a toddler can be frighteningly suspicious.

As I peeked into the living room, I saw our sweet Spencer down on the ground fast at work, colouring what seemed to be a masterpiece. Good for him, embracing his creativity. But what is he colouring with? I knew I hadn’t given him anything… and that is when sheer panic set in. 

I quickly approached the living room to investigate the situation and realized it was sooo much worse than I could have imagined. Permanent. Black. Marker. Everywhere.

Spencer had found a black Sharpie in his dad’s bag and quickly went to work. White carpet, upholstered sofa and ottoman, wood side table… all redesigned by my toddler’s artistic touch within minutes. Can you imagine my feelings at that moment?

As the negative thoughts of having to replace all of our furniture raced through my mind, I took a few deep breaths and talked myself down. I looked around the room at my scribbled furniture and remembered an important tip I often share with my clients: Better quality items last. It was time to put my own advice to the test.

The Solution 

With A LOT of elbow grease and a combination of laundry soap, water, upholstery cleaner, and a white cloth, we were able to bring the rug, the sofa, and the ottoman back to their original state. Because we invested upfront and selected a quality wool rug and performance fabrics for our home, we were able to breathe a big sigh of relief when real life happened.

While the marker did not come off of our gorgeous wood side table, I was able to take it to a refinisher for him to sand and restain back to perfection. A significant problem was solved by one good decision… selecting high-quality furniture. This is the advantage of real wood products!

I cannot even begin to describe how grateful I was for performance fabric, and Chris was especially grateful knowing that he could continue to live a happy life. 😉

Selecting Family-Friendly Materials for Your Home

If you live in a home with children (or a messy husband), you might be wondering exactly what type of material can help you enjoy your home without worrying that a simple spill (or permanent marker) will ruin your furniture. If your space is beautiful but so precious that you can’t live your life without worry, what’s the point? 

When furnishing your home, I always recommend investing in high-quality materials like wool rugs, performance fabrics, and solid wood furniture. These choices will be the safest for a family-friendly and lived-in home. To read more in-depth about specific performance fabrics, head over to this past blog post.

Admittedly, these high-end materials are an upfront investment, but they come with long-term returns that save you time, money, and tears. It’s true what famous interior designer Miles Redd says, “Buy the best, and you’ll only cry once”! Had we not selected high-quality furnishings in our home, our Sharpie story would have cost us thousands to fix. Yep, thousands.

Need a voice of reason?

Whether you need assistance selecting stylish and functional furnishings for your home, or you have your very own budding toddler artist and need support finding the best furniture to hold up to daily life, I’m here for you. Let us help you create a beautiful and practical home that will weather the good times, regardless of who lives there. 


P.S. If you’re ready to hire an interior designer but don’t know where to start, be sure to download this helpful complimentary guide, 5 Things to Ask Yourself Before Hiring an Interior Designer. It’s a good one!

Staci Edwards and her team provide interior design and decorating services to help you create a home that you truly love. 

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