Moms know that with every exciting milestone comes an oh crap! moment. Like when your kid starts to crawl and explore the world. It’s amazing to see this former blob move and groove around the living room floor. What’s far less fun, however, is the inevitable tumbles that occur because of that new-found mobility. Another baby bummer? How much it hurts your knees when you have to get down to your little nugget’s level to play (or, in my case, do diaper changes—once my wriggly son could sit up on his own, the changing table was no longer an option).
Happily, there is a solution to this particular dilemma: Investing in a soft, child-friendly playmat. And there are plenty of great options out there but most of them are…not in line with my aesthetic. OK, I’ll be honest, a lot of them are total eyesores. But is it possible to toddler-proof your living room, without making it look like a daycare center? Turns out it is, with the House of Noa play mat. I came across this sleek mat at a friend’s house, when I was admiring her new gray, heirloom-style carpet, only to realize that it was a soft, puzzle-piece play mat.
That’s because the puzzle pieces are cleverly hidden and House of Noa made sure to design each 0.47-inch thick mat to look like regular carpeting with elegant, muted colors and pretty, faded prints. And with multiple size options available (from 4 by 7 feet up to 10 by 12 feet), it’ll fit nicely in almost any space. In fact, thanks to the 2 feet by 2 feet individual tile pieces (which include edging bonders for a natural rug-like look) and the option to combine packs together, it truly is an ultra adaptable mat for your home. While it admittedly took a little finagling to figure out how the pieces of the mat fit together, it was easily accomplished over the course of one evening, with the assist of my partner and a glass of wine.
In fact, nothing about the way this mat looks screams baby. But that doesn’t mean it lacks baby-friendly features. It’s soft and squishy and, importantly, it’s so easy to clean. Whether you’re dealing with mushy peas or, uh, bodily fluids, the family-friendly EVA foam can handle any amount of mess—sans stains. Simply wipe it with a paper towel or washcloth and it’ll look as good as new. And when you want to deep clean your House of Noa mat, simply use a little mild soap and water then dry with a cloth and you’re good to go.
If you asked me a couple of months ago, I wouldn’t have a single complaint about this mat (and would’ve bought one for every room in the house). But I recently discovered a mega downside: The sticker overlay peels up from the base. After having my feather-patterned mat for six months, I’m beginning to see the start of some peelage on one or two of the squares. And I’m not the only one. A colleague with the same mat told me that she too had this problem. In fact, her mat started peeling so much that she had to ask House of Noa for a replacement. Luckily, the brand was more than happy to send her another mat (for free) and she raves about their customer service. But considering the peelage could be a choking hazard for little ones—and the fact that this mat isn’t exactly cheap—it’s certainly something to be aware of.
Bottom line: You’d be hard-pressed to find a chicer play mat than this but the potential for peeling is a serious flaw that buyers should be aware of.