Updated: Nov 1, 2022
4 Tips on Creating a space both you and your kid LOVES.
Kids Bedroom Design - Where we went wrong.
I have a theory. I believe a kids space should not be limited to pastels, rainbow macramé and Thomas the Train decals.
I believe kids have much better taste than what we give them credit for, and I'm here to share another way.
Kids tend to be way more intuitive than adults, as they haven't learned to censor their spidy-senses the way we adults (sadly) have. They know instinctively what feels good to them, and they know just as well as we do that their environment makes them feel something, and as their caregivers, we want it to influence for the best, and not drain them. But before you reach for the can of baby blue paint and the Disney rug, you should know there's a bold, beautiful, courageous little soul in there that is looking for a space to let that budding dreamer/creative/intellect/inventor out.
Put plainly, kids want to feel grown up.
They want to be surrounded by meaning and beauty and substance, as much as we do. Let's give them some credit, and one way we can show that is through a thoughtfully curated kids room. Often the only place they have that is truly their own. Let's help them feel like a million bucks in their zone.
The Best Birthday Surprise
My son Lukas turned 6 last week. What do you get for a kid who has enough toys, craft supplies, and, miraculously, a bike that still fits him?
A surprise room makeover of course :)
Come along with me to learn my process for decorating kids rooms.
TOP 4 TIPS for decorating a kids room.
Tip #1: Know who you're designing for.
For a bit of background, my boy is an old soul. He is thoughtful and analytical, not easily swayed, an independent and strong character, who tends to be, well, a little moody and emotional on his harder days.
Knowing this, I wanted to create a vibe that would really be a match. Since my boy is not a "light and airy" kinda of a dude, we had to do something about the white base that was his room before - just not for him. (Sidenote: Guys these pics are bad, how embarrassing, but you know the drill, when you move into a house certain rooms take priority over others, and I really wanted to do this all in one fell swoop so that he felt that #transformation magic!)
Let's say I was designing a room for my young girl who is all about Disney Princesses. I'm not saying withhold that fairy-tale delight. But let's not go literal. No Frozen comforters here. Instead, create the FEELING of royalty, so that SHE feels like the princess. Consider a 4 poster bed, wisps of chiffon (I'm thinking a canopy over a reading nook with lots of textured & patterned pillows), a soft colour palette, hints of gold metallics, a plush rug, layered bedding. It's decadent without spelling P-R-I-N-C-E-S-S. And she won't be over it as quick as a snowman in summer ;)
Tip #2: Elevate
Once you have the inspiration for the room in mind, consider how you can elevate it to take it from theme room to..."oh it's a vibe in there." Here are some tips for how to:
Buy adult furniture. For kids say 5 and up, opt for a writing desk over the tiny table/chairs, or even a double or queen bed if you have a large enough space. Another common misstep in designing kids rooms is to get a little rug for a little person and it floats like a magic carpet in the middle of the room. Treat this room like any other room you have a rug in, and generally you want to go as big as you can. 12-24 inches of exposed floor around the border of the room is a good rule of thumb. You want the front feet of all furniture to be sitting on the rug to anchor, ASIDE from casegoods (e.g. dresser, bookshelf). Give those 4-6 inches of exposed floor before the rug begins.
Shop vintage. There's a depth that cannot be created with 100% new pieces. Incorporate at least one vintage item be it a piece of furniture, art, or decor item and I guarantee you the room will come to life. This can be overdone however, and the result can be stuffy or musuem-esque, so be sure to have a good mix of new and old. Here the vintage art, and pencil cup juxtapose well with the modern lines of the desk and chair.
Use colour. Kids are vibrant. I know a neutral kids room looks so edited on Pinterest, but friends, it tends to fall flat once it's looking *cough cough* "lived in," which is going to be 1000% of the time in your kids room! Colour gives structure to a space so that even in a mess, it still has form and delineation. Plus, colour is life. Give your kids colour!
Let's dive more into that, as previously alluded to, don't just opt for pastels because that seems like a kid-friendly option. I chose #HaleNavy by Benjamin Moore for Luke's room for it's ability to feel scholarly yet playful, stormy yet restful, moody yet cool. Find a colour that makes you feel something, ideally makes you feel a few things...the colours that are hard to describe are the very best. This one is a rich navy but has a tinge of teal to it...it works SO well with the vintage sailboat art passed down from my grandparents that just had to live here.
Tip #3: Beautiful and Practical can coexist.
Kids rooms need to be able to take a lickin' and keep on tickin'. They need to be practical. Books and toys need to be in arms reach. A kids bookshelf isn't the place for displaying your most precious knick-knacks. However, adding a few unexpected décor pieces sure does take a space to the next level, so pepper in a few while being sure that everything he needs to be able to access daily is at the ready, and the personality pieces take the high ground. And now it's time for a confession - I didn't follow my own advice here, as you can see his dinosaurs are on the top shelf, but truthfully, in this case, these are so special to him that he wants them out of reach from his sisters, so it kind of works. But I wanted to mention this so that you, dear reader, didn't feel like you have to follow what you see online in a copy/paste fashion. Oftentimes, there is some special tweaks going on for the photoshoot which don't normally live there day to day. It has to work, especially in a kids room.
Permission to be practical granted.
But DO employ cute boxes to hide the less than cute items that you don't want on display, and DO play with horizontal + vertical book stacking, or even placing books (or photo frames) against the back of a shelf to mix things up! Also display groupings of like things together rather than spacing them out so it looks collected and intentional.
Tip #4: Don't neglect art in a kids room.
No need to spend a fortune, but be sure that you've got some personality on those walls! A well-dressed room has our eye travelling around, bouncing up and down as it goes to take in all the variety. A bedroom without art often lacks visual height, and feels bottom heavy. As seen we used a couple vintage pieces that were passed down or found thrifting.
And here we framed this adorable pen & ink series he created last year in kindergarten. Framing them in uniform frames in an edited layout makes it feel quite professional, which is an aesthetic win, but also, made him feel like an acclaimed fine artist! #winwin
Do you love them or what? "BOB" is my favourite.
A vintage find of an old car takes a desk area and makes it a vignette.
Well friends, I hope that was helpful! Kids room can be so special, and SO much fun to design. IMO, it's one of the most beautiful gifts you can give your kiddo! Would love to hear from you if you have any questions or comments, drop them below!
Moral of the story, as always, if you take care of your home it will take care of you, your whole family benefits daily from good design!
If you'd like to see a snippet of Luke's reaction, head to our IG reels @ www.instagram.com/juxta.interiordesign - It's pretty darn cute.
Until next time, happy designing!