When it comes to designing a bedroom for kids, tastes, styles and colors may vary, but experts agree on one thing: Have fun! Whether your objective is to fulfill a fairytale fantasy, update a space your child has outgrown—or just get all the toys off the floor—endless possibilities abound for creating a comfy place that personifies your child.
“Kids’ rooms can be like store displays,” says Greg Lanza of Locust Valley-based Greg Lanza Design. “They are ever-changing and it’s the one time where a parent gets to be noncommittal about the design, so have fun with it.”
A simple way to accomplish this is with furniture. Lanza says the furniture in a kid’s room (aside from the bed) should be mobile as opposed to fixed so that things like small tables, desks and coat trees can be moved around easily or swapped out for a new piece as a child grows.
“I am a strong proponent of flexibility when designing these ever-changing spaces,” says Margreet Cevasco of Margreet Cevasco Design in Sea Cliff. “I’m often asked to transform rooms that children have outgrown. Trends and tastes change as fast as kids grow. Therefore, the key components are basic furniture, neutral walls, floors or carpet and window treatments that can remain consistent as decorative items are layered in. By swapping out bedding, lamps, throws and pillows, the room can be easily transformed.”
One way to achieve this, she says, is to make sure materials and finishes are durable. Plus, there should always be a cozy spot with a good reading light.
Color is a significant element in kids’ rooms—and a great way for them to personalize their space with a signature color and make a room their own.
Using carpet squares to add color, painting or wallpapering the ceiling or painting stripes on the walls are all fun ways to brighten up the room,” says Robyn Baumgarten of Interiors by Just Design in Woodbury.
Evelyn Benatar of Great Neck-based New York Interior Design says most kids’ rooms tend to have a “pop of color” with backdrops of gray, blue or white. What that accent color is depends on the child.
“As a designer in love with color, I always work with my clients to find out what their personal favorites are in many categories, such as their interests (hobbies, technology, social networking, toys, makeup, books or movies), then delve into favorite colors and wants and needs,” says Nanette Baker of Albertson-based Interiors by Nanette. “Once I have all of my questions answered and have a good understanding of the child or teen, I start searching for the elements that I think will be very exciting and appealing to my very special client.”
Baumgarten likes to use headboards and says upholstering them has become a big trend. “They bring attitude to the room,” she says. “It’s really about adding color and those kind of statement pieces.”
Benatar of New York Interior Design says, “I always do sophisticated kids rooms so that it is something they can grow into, even if they are as young as 2.” Personalizing the space is key, and Baker notes that technology helps to play a role in that. “Today, there are so many great things you can do with technology and photography to create fantastic personalized posters as art, and I love enhancing spaces with colorful wallpapers and fabrics, cool organizational storage and display units, fabulous area rugs and contemporary furniture,” Baker says. “There is no shortage of fabulous products to achieve unique, meaningful and custom looks. It’s also a good idea to think ahead and use product ideas that have attractive timelessness.”
According to Lanza, some of the current trends are the use of mix-and-match rugs or wall-to-wall carpeting from FLOR Carpet Design Squares (www.flor.com), which allows customers to create their own designs. Also, he says having one accent wall of color (which was a “no-no” for the past 20 years or so) is becoming popular again. Another trend he has seen is the use of mid-century classic architectural designs in miniature sizes for kids. Eero Sarrinen’s collection, for example, includes a Womb Chair for kids and there are reproductions of a Charles Eames chair and table designs in child sizes that come in various colors.
“One thing that is always in style is storage,” says Benatar. “Parents want tons of storage space; when I walk into a room, I envision putting the clutter away.”
For instance, she says she once redid a room for two boys who had a bunk bed. She switched them to trundle beds with storage underneath, built a wall with shelving and even had storage room in the headboard.
“Colorful artwork, tapestries, fun furry rugs and pillows add whimsy,” says Cevasco. “Adding hooks, shelves, baskets and upholstered tack boards to hang accessories and collectibles are essential. Having designated storage spaces help kids stay organized and assist in their daily efficiency.”
In terms of design, children should have some control over what their room contains and how it looks. Bedrooms offer a perfect platform for them to express their individual style.
“We always try to get the child involved in the selection process,” says Cevasco. “Most importantly the ‘cool’ thing about any kid’s room is that it reflects the child’s personality and interests.”
“Nowadays, the kids have a lot of say,” says Benatar. “My favorite is when the parent lets the kid come along and give me input. I bond with them and get a good communication going. I love when kids are involved; you find a focal point and go from there, whether it’s a pillow or window treatment.”
Lanza believes that because children grow so quickly and their tastes and needs can change from year to year, there is nothing wrong with mixing some inexpensive pieces with high-end designs. His go-to place for kids’ rooms is IKEA, though he is also big on using their materials and recreating them to fit personal needs. “Stay away from catalogs and be inventive,” says Lanza.
A room makeover project is something both parents and kids can get really excited about. A bed- room is a sanctuary of sorts, and for kids, it should not only be a place for sleep, but also where they can escape for comfort and play. Whether they are entertaining friends, playing alone, studying, reading or sleeping, their bedroom should be the one special place where kids feel completely at ease.