If you’re looking to transform a space for the little one in your life, a good starting point could be your child’s personal wish list. Creating a fabulous room for kids 12 and under calls for getting him or her “involved in the design process,” says Terrell Dinkins, residential interior designer and owner of Posh Interiors, LLC, in Atlanta.
Check in with your child to gauge what he or she likes, adds Dinkins: “Do they want a theme room? What colors do they like? The child might want a bright color for the wall. Mom might not like this idea. Come up with a compromise on the color and use the color in accessories. This is just a consideration if you do not want to change out the paint color on the wall in a few years.” While a theme may be a good idea, Dinkins and other design professionals suggest that you still choose carefully so you don’t end up with something the child grows out of quickly.
“The best designs are easily adaptive so they can evolve with the child,” says Dana Carvelli, design assistant at Atlanta’s Pineapple House Interior Design. Possibilities include incorporating the child’s hobbies or interests.
While the journey may prove exciting for both child and parent, be careful not to let enthusiasm — more than budget — drive you. “Don’t spend the entirety of your budget in the beginning,” adds Carvelli. “Allow a yearly budget where every three to six months something can be updated or added to keep him or her intrigued in the space.”
The latest trends
Bright and bold are the buzzwords when it comes to the latest trends in room designs for children. Today you’ll find “fun and bold geometric patterns such as chevron or stripes in rugs, bedding, walls or the back of a bookshelf,” says Wendy Beville, owner of Defining Spaces, in Marietta.
“Bright colors and bold patterns are trends in general, but easily transfer to children’s rooms,” says Terri Ervin, regional director, Georgia, for Decorating Den Interiors. “One wall of a bold graphic wall covering will add a lot of fun to the room. Little girls seem to be drawn to black-and-white zebra print mixed with pink or turquoise.”
Bold colors such as pink and green “add contrast to other textures in the room and can really illustrate the child’s personality, where a color like gray can be more elegant and a lot more androgynous,” says Kristine Cupid, marketing assistant for Smyrna-based Design2Sell Interiors & Home Staging. Cupid also is a fan of vinyl wall decals. “You can get them in an array of different sizes and shapes like a tree from the floor to the ceiling or oversized cupcakes,” she says.
One source for these peel-and-stick coverings, Ervin points out, is WallPops, which are designed for moving, reusing and repositioning. “They are inexpensive, colorful and easy to create a custom look,” says Ervin. “If your child decides they don’t like them anymore, they are very easy to change. Or if you move, they can be taken down and repositioned on a new wall.”
Another trend is personalization. “Personalizing is a great way to make the space feel like yours,” says Rachel Greathouse of Rachel Greathouse Design. “Add a big painted letter to the door or monogram a favorite pillow.” Studio M Interiors, chose a monogram wall appliqué to help make a tween’s bedroom her own during a recent project.
Mix it up
Since children’s rooms are multifunctional spaces for sleeping, playing, dressing and arts and crafts, Dinkins suggests parents also consider “mixing in what I would consider traditional adult-room accessories. We have seen the pretty chandeliers in girls’ rooms. Now people are using dome-shade overhead lighting and chandeliers in boys’ rooms. One of my favorite trends is using vintage pieces in place of traditional pieces.”
Furniture, says Vicki Gladle-Bolick, a certified interior decorator with Bolick Interiors, LLC, in Atlanta, “is becoming more ‘grown-up’ with youthful touches. Homeowners don’t want cutesy kid spaces any longer, but want to ensure that the design evolves with their child, and that with a few minor changes over the years, the furnishings can take their kids well into their teenage years and beyond.” To achieve this, she says that the majority of the budget should go toward anchor pieces such as dressers, nightstands and desks.
Cupid agrees, adding “Use less expensive items like accent pieces, which can easily be changed in the future.” “Try your local flea market, garage sales and thrift stores for furniture,” says Greathouse. “After a little TLC and a fresh coat of paint or some new fabric, these pieces can save your budget and bring great character to the space.”
Another smart investment, says Jenny Warner, president of J. Thomas Designs, is window treatments. “Having room-darkening shades or drapes is great for naptime, sick days, going to bed in summertime when it is still light and kids think they should still be up, and maybe getting your kids to sleep a little longer on the weekend!”
Other touches may include a study or reading area with poufs, ottomans or oversized pillows, along with your child’s own artwork, family photos and gallery-wrapped canvas art.
“Whether it be a special piece that is showcased in a frame or gallery wrapped or a great area dedicated to displaying daily artwork, it makes them feel special and gives you a place to put projects that isn’t all over the fridge,” adds Warner. Also, “I think it is super important to have family photos in a child’s room. It reminds them of how loved they are and helps younger kids remember their relatives.”
Safety and storage
Whether you choose to work with a professional or take on a do-it-yourself role, think safety and storage, professionals warn. Children starting as young as three years old “are inclined to rough housing and active play,” Ervin says, “so I try to limit sharp corners and breakable materials,” by using metal or wood lamps versus glass, for example. “Storage is also an important feature. So much of kids’ toys, stuffed animals, etc., can create a messy look in a room. So having storage for those items helps eliminate the cluttered look and keep the items organized.”
“If you have a small space, try to use wall space for storage by adding floating shelves or cubbies,” says Annalisa Thomas, president and CEO of Oilo. “It’s also a good way to add dimension to a room if you have a huge empty wall.” Thomas also suggests picking furniture with solid or frosted-glass doors or bookshelves with baskets to conceal clutter.
You may find you’re ready to take on the project on your own — perhaps with a bit of design direction through a consultation with a professional. Or if going it alone proves too much, you can call on expert help, making sure to share your thoughts and your budget on the front end. Either way, the payoff will be a dream room your child can look forward to calling his or her own as a place to play, create and rest — even more reason to cherish those childhood years.
Room To Grow
|Bunk Up! Can’t get them to leave their crib? Woo them with an exciting new bunk bed. We love Oeuf for their sleek sustainability but also because their “Perch” bunk is not as high off the ground as some others. Their lower bunk also offers plenty of height for mom and dad during story time.
Source: Polka Dot Peacock, www.polkadotpeacock.com
More about product: http://www.polkadotpeacock.com/oeuf-bed-perch-bunk-walnut.html
|Table Lamp. It’s officially okay for a table lamp to grace their nightstand. But even so, skip anything ceramic. Choose a
design that won’t shatter as a precaution.
Source: Land of Nod, www.landofnod.com
More about product: http://www.landofnod.com/checkmate-table-base-pink/f10664
|More Toy Storage. Small rattles and classic stacking toys will soon become obsolete. Make room for even more educational toys, loads of Legos and a costume collection that will put your own closet to shame. Keep it simple with baskets and buckets for quick and easy cleanup. We swear by IKEA’s Trofast system.
Source: IKEA, www.ikea.com/us
More about product: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S19887301/
|Wall Decals. Princesses or flowers? Superman or Batman? Wall decals are an affordable way to give the room a quick transformation.
Source: Evgie, www.evgie.com
More about product: http://www.evgie.com/products-page/
|The Trundle. First comes the transition into a “big kid” room, next comes the introduction of the sleepover! If you can invest in a trundle bed addition to the twin bed, you’ll be grateful you did later. Trust us, time flies.
Source: ducduc, www.ducducnyc.com
More about product: http://www.ducducnyc.com/productdetail.php?productid=196&categoryid=47&navid=
|Big Kid Seating. Big Kids need bigger seating options. Create a corner nook with hip, oversized bean bags or floor pillows they can call their own. (No photo available)
Source: Fawn & Forest, www.fawnandforest.com
More about product: http://www.fawnandforest.com/fatboy-junior.html
|Safety Measures. Bedrails are a must to prevent falls out of their new big bed. Do it in modern style with Babyhome’s aluminum framed rails and colorful fabric options.
Source: Wayfair, www.wayfair.com
More about product: http://www.wayfair.com/Babyhome-Side-Bedrail-052103.-EBY1002.html
|Mini Workspace. Kids love having their own designated area to draw, read or craft. Not quite ready for a big-time full-sized desk? Try a mini desk like West Elm’s scaled-down Parsons Mini Desk. We love the clean lines and petite size of this little version of a classic.
Source: West Elm, www.westelm.com
More about product: Click here