As a designer and a mother, I find children's rooms one of the most difficult to design. Most of us start designing the room before the child is born, thinking of sweet baby things and the needs of a baby; the catch is that baby is going to grow and grow rapidly!! The needs change, the tastes change and unless you want to re do the room every few years there are a lot of variables to consider, this room is going to get used a lot and have to meet the constantly changing demands of a growing and active child. Not to mention the ever changing and growing amount of things to be stored, toys, clothes, books, collectibles!! Yes, maybe I am over thinking this, but I'm a designer, that is my job!!
When I start a new project, I always take time to make a program for the space or the house. Carefully listening to the client's needs in the space, what functions will it serve, what type of entertaining will they do, what their spatial and taste needs are. With a children's room, it's all guessing. Yes, we all know, basically, what a child will be doing in its room, but each child is unique with its own tastes and interests and until they are old enough to express this and we have observed how they play and what their interests are, it is the parent that has to think ahead and plan accordingly. Another question is, how old is old enough to have the child decorate their room? I remember, as a child, my wish list for my bedroom was, orange shag carpeting, bright orange walls and a yellow and green bedspread. Thankfully my mom didn't follow my early wishes, but made me wait until I was a pre-teen to redecorate my room.
The key is to get pieces that can grow with the child, have a flexible floorplan that can accomodate changing needs and select a color that won't limit your options for bedding or appear too "juvinille".
A few tips to consider when planning a child's room:
- Select furniture that has longevity. Select pieces that are sturdy and can be used in an older child's room. Don't select furniture with childhood scenes or themes that they will quickly out grow, unless you are planning on re furnishing when they are older.
- Pick decor that suits your child's personality while still reflecting your aesthetic. If you are choosing for an infant, choose "flexible" colors and furniture. An example of this was given of my daughter above; the paint and furniture stayed, we just changed lighting, bedding and accessories (whew!!). A few small changes allowed for her personality to be shown and kept the cost to a minimum.
- Storage is essential!! Think about closet organizers, a well organized closet can hold a lot!! Also, think of pieces that are easy for your child to access and open, remember you will want them to put away their things!! A sturdy, secured to the wall, book shelf with easy to access baskets can be flexible, stylish and keep things neat and organized.
- Add "themes" in the accessories or bedding only. All children have their favorite characters and heroes, but designing a whole room around this can be very limiting and labor intensive to change as their interests grow. If you have a sheet set, pillows, prints and trinkets of their favorite characters around the room, you have satisfied their interest and can easily replace as they change.
- I think decorative shelves are a great thing to add to the room. If done right, they not only add to the decor of the room, but give an organized space to display collectables and trophies without having the room look disheveled; believe me kids collect!!
Below are photos of girl's bedrooms that, I think, are young, stylish and add room to grow. A children's bedroom is an important space; think of all the dreaming and planning for the future that goes on in their minds in that room. It is also a place to feel comfortable, secure and cozy!!
Palmer Weiss Interiors
Canadian House and Home