Kids’ Room Design: Take Cues from Their Interests, Activities

Decorating a child’s bedroom is a chance to let your imagination run wild – something you don’t always get with home design. For older children, you can let their favorite colors, hobbies, characters, etc. be your guide. But for younger children, whose tastes and interests might not be so clear or are still emerging, it’s better to focus on the functional aspects of their room, and the activities that will take place there.

One of my first experiences in designing kids’ spaces was a bedroom for a 2-year-old girl. It got off to a bizarre start because the mother kept insisting that the girl wanted a shabby chic bedroom. And I kept saying, “She’s 2. How do you know she wants this? Does she like it? Does she talk about it? Or is this what you want in the space?” Her response? “My daughter is very girly…very princessy. She likes things ruffly and flowery and in rich pink tones. And we both really like that shabby chic aesthetic.”

Stranded in a nebulous pink zone, I wanted to understand what it was that her daughter liked to do activity-wise, and what things mother and daughter liked to do together. At this point, the mother said, “You know, I really love to read to my daughter. And I’d love to have a window seat with an adorable chandelier.” Thanks to this response, I was able to determine a few other needs for the space, namely storage and organization.

So, in this window seat I designed for them, there was storage underneath the cushioned bench, which of course included a safety latch so that if it were to close it wouldn’t slam shut. And on both ends of the window seat, which was L-shaped, I built in recessed bookcases so that there was a place to put all of the stories they’d be sharing.

To make the daughter’s first “big girl” bed special, I created a custom headboard from wall art purchased at a craft store, fabric and some lumber. And I took all of her toys and pieces of furniture and created a little vanity/dressing area that would grow and adapt from her current love of playing dress-up to a spot that’d work for grooming and getting ready for school in her tween and teen years.

Throughout the room, I made sure that the furnishings were all very classic but feminine. I also added a lot of fun things like hooks at easily reachable heights and butterfly wings to wear for dress-up. All of it was done with accessibility and usefulness built in for all members of the family, but centered on the little girl, her personality and how I thought her design tastes might develop when she really gets up in age, like 5.

Need some ideas for sprucing up a kids room? Check out these fun, easy ways to personalize their space:

  • Set up showoff storage for action figures and other toys by adhering iron-on pockets to an existing curtain.
  • Create a scheduling center on a closet door with chalkboard paint.
  • Place a map of a vacation destination between a tabletop and a layer of plastic glass, accompanied by erasable markers for planning and plotting.
  • Apply Blik wall decals, which are very cool stickers made specifically to change a plain wall into a hip, well-designed piece of art. Large and colorful graphics like robots, geometric shapes, pirate ships, fun scroll-like patterns, and even letters to create messaging are all available. Blik even makes a version that is movable so that wall decals can be changed to keep up with changing kid styles.

With just a small amount of time and money, you can create a space that feels special and reflects your child’s uniqueness.

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