It’s Playtime: Chic Spaces Kids Can Grow With

Wooden rock climbing wall

By Jennifer Colosimo

Photography by Cati Teague Photography

Kids’ rooms are some of the most creative, fun and vibrant spaces in our homes. It’s a place where we’re allowed to step outside the norm with color, décor, wall treatments and furniture. But how do you do it tastefully? And so that you’re not having to update your investments every few years? We tapped local designer Gina Sims to offer her approach— and to weigh in on what ages well.

“People want spaces that can grow with their family,” said Sims. “We love picking colors and papers that can easily evolve with the kids. But don’t shy away from bold colors! A room does not have to be neutral or boring to be something the kids can grow up in. Character sheets or an art piece are perfect ways to give into the current trend without having to commit to something like an expensive custom Nintendo mural!”

Knowing you don’t have to redo a room every few years offers creative space to make good design decisions on the things you do invest in.

“A quality neutral wood dresser is a great place to start,” Sims said. “Think about white or black painted nightstands and have fun with art and bedding. If you or your kid is bold, go for a wall treatment that is awesome, but this is definitely a place to employ the services of a good designer. Also, all kids love to look at themselves, so never underestimate a good floor mirror.”

Kids room

Kids room with blue walls and red book shelves

Bedroom and work space

She also has a few tricks of the trade to make maintaining a space easy. “Think about containment,” she said. Cork boards and shelves provide a home for rock collections, artwork and the latest LEGO builds. As their prized possessions evolve, they can swap them out themselves.

Some things to watch out for? “Generally kids just go straight to, ‘My favorite color should go on all the walls,’ and there’s not much you can do to tame a bright orange room for the long haul. Knowing what your kid likes, come up with inspiration ideas that you approve of for the kids to weigh in on.”

One thing she doesn’t love—a desk. “A lot of parents dream that their kids will do homework in their rooms, but we find that a desk in the room is rarely used. If you do want one, consider a desk as a side table with a lamp that can pull double duty (and save space) as a nightstand and drawing station.”

Sims is a big proponent of communal play, especially since our devices are everywhere, all of the time. She loves an active playroom. Think hanging swings, rock walls and jungle gyms, monkey bars on the ceiling and cushions all over the floor. In essence, a place to seriously have fun.

Kids play kitchen

Girls bedroom

“Etsy is always a favorite for custom, handmade pieces like art, accent pillows and wall décor, and we love Spoonflower for any wallpaper you can dream up.” —Gina Sims


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