Design Inspiration

Designing For Kids

Thinking about doing over a kid’s room? A kid’s room is a perfect space to add color, texture, and pattern. Who doesn’t want to have fun with a kid’s room? Still, it can be a little intimidating to strike that delicate balance between a design that will grow with your children, and a space that will invite them to play and learn at their current age. We’ve been there! Our helpful hints below can get you started.

The room above belongs to our own kids! Ada, aged 5, and Gabe, aged 3, share a room. It was important to cultivate a space that could speak to both of their interests and meet both of their developmental needs.

Consider the child’s identity

This may sound pretty obvious, but really think about who your kids are! They’re your tiny clients, and a good design will engage their bodies and minds in active play. Sometimes as parents, we forget that our kids are tiny humans, and not simply extensions of ourselves. They may have wildly different tastes, interests, and personalities. Here are my kids in a nutshell:

Gabe is a 3 year old boy. Need I say more? He strikes a great balance between rough-and-tumble and sweet behavior. His favorite toys are dinosaurs, but his bedtime buddy is a puppy that he cuddles with (he’s its dad!) He loves the outdoors, and whishes he could just live out there. He’s currently very fascinated with bugs.

Ada is a 5 year old girl. She loves dresses and sparkles and fairies. She’s currently experimenting with her “look” (shes’s five going on fifteen). But when she’s not in front of a mirror, she’s right alongside her brother, digging up worms and catching fireflies.

Don’t be afraid to go with a theme

Themes make kids rooms so much easier. Because both of my kids love the great outdoors, and this is their shared room, we knew we wanted to pursue a sort of wanderlust theme. You’ll notice the vintage globes that punctuate the room, and the animal stuffies on their beds. I also hand-painted a mural of mountains on both sides of the room. Pink mountains for my super feminine daughter, and icy blue mountains for my dare devil boy. I accented the landscape scenes with sky blue and a sunset pink respectively. The two mountain ranges are joined together by green pine tree-covered hilltops. Once I had the theme, it influence what accessories, paint colors, and details I built into the space.

Use color

I know not every adult loves bright pallets, but I’ve never met a kid who doesn’t! I’ve got five paint colors on their walls, with pops of yellow on some of the furniture, and natural wood accents. The important thing here is balance. Consider warm vs cool colors, and making sure that there’s a good symmetry between the warm and cool throughout the room. The blue (cool) mountains have the pink (warm) sky. The pink (warm) dessert mountains have the bright blue (cool) sky. And then the green acts as a sort of neutral between these two polarities.

Showcase their artwork

See those fabulous watercolors on their walls? Those belong to my kids. In truth, their artwork is hanging throughout my whole house. The bright colors of their room is the perfect spot to showcase their own art. You can change the artwork out in the frames ever few months or so, but framing it makes it feel more important and substantial. My kids love showing off their artwork when friends come over!

Make space to play

We opted for a small area rug over the wood floor, because as much as adults love a wood floor, they aren’t super comfortable to sit on! Kids spend most of their time playing on the floor or at low tables, so we added a nice log table and some bright yellow stools too to create a lovely little play area. It’s the perfect spot to make Lego creations or set up a train track.

Put things on their level

You may notice the wooden casing and plastic bins under their window that are labeled for clothing. I like to put things at my kids level so they can feel a little more empowered to help out and get creative. This helps to motivate them to put away their clothes (!!!) and pick up their toys when play time is done.

Have open shelves

Kids change their interests more often then they change their socks. Have some open surface area for them to stash whatever new things they find interesting. You’ll notice the paper-mache butterfly and telescope on their book shelf and clothes cabinet. There’s also a new toy school bus on display because my daughter is starting kindergarten in the fall and we are working to get her PUMPED UP. Give them a bit of space to clutter up with whatever new exciting thing is in their lives.

Get a bit abstract

I love murals, but making sure a design will grow with your kids means not making things too literal. I didn’t want to spend hours and hours making a highly detailed mural that they’d both outgrow in a year or two, so I took equal parts inspiration from the outdoors and from geometry, to abstract the landscape a little. This makes the space read a little more “grown up.”

Add personal touches

In addition to their artwork being on display, we also have some lovely little details that were gifted to us and them over the years. One of our friends made the kids Ninja Turtle collages, and my husband added a Winnie the Pooh embroidered art piece from his childhood room. These little touches fill the room with happy memories for kids and grownups alike.

Mix vintage with new

The globes on display throughout the room are great affordable vintage pieces, and their interspersed with brand new pine furniture, a vintage table, and a new area rug. We like to use newer pieces for utilitarian aspects of the room (the bed, the clothing storage, etc) while using the vintage pieces to spark imagination. With our son currently at the age were every other thing out of his mouth is a question about the world, the globes have been a great vehicle to talk about other cultures and places. The log table as enabled us to talk with our kids about sustainability and how furniture is made because it’s source material (logs) is very visible in the design. Vintage pieces can be great conversation starters in any space–even kids’ rooms!

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