When I think back to my childhood, and the many bedrooms I had as a child (eight bedrooms, as we moved quite a bit), one bedroom comes to mind as my favorite – a third floor bedroom in a house that was a former embassy in Washington, DC. I loved the Disney character Bambi, and my parents had an artist friend paint Bambi on my wall. I adored that mural, and enjoyed waking up each morning and seeing it.
I also fondly remember my Chessie sheets – the logo for the Chesapeake Rail system that was licensed into a sheet set.
During my teenage years, I had a very sparse bedroom. Although the entire upstairs was carpeted, my room had dark hardwood floors, and yet I never had a rug for the room. I would move my furniture around that echoey room to make it try to look and feel more comfortable, but it never really worked very well. I suppose my parents had a very, very low key approach to the decor of the kids’ rooms, as there were many other higher priority items for the family budget.
When it came time to decorate the room for my young daughters a few years ago (the older two shared a room for a few years, and were two and four at the time), I must admit that I indulged in a bit of the room fantasy that I had as a child. The walls were painted pink, I had lovely window treatments made - balloon shades with pink and cream toile, and a small pink check roman shade underneath. I painted Sleeping Beauty on the wall, the favorite princess of my then four year old, and I had white quilted coverlets made with their initials embroidered in pink. As it turns out – my daughters are not really fans of pink. After a few years, the Sleeping Beauty was painted over, and the walls are now a linen white. The window treatments and coverlets remain, but removing the pink from the walls really neutralized the room.
I would say that overall, I am pretty low key about my kids rooms – I want them to be attractive and functional, but I really don’t want them to be overly decorated or styled (and I am not going to spend a lot of money on the kids rooms). As far as colors are concerned, in the new house the kids are going to be in charge of picking out the colors and style for their own rooms. I think this approach will work out well; my kids are not babies anymore, and they are (for the most part) beyond the whims of early childhood.
There are so many more options available now than there were even 10 years ago. Online stores such as Serena & Lily (right), Pottery Barn Kids (left), Pottery Barn Teen, and Land of Nod provide all sorts of ready made designs for a child’s room – bedding, fabrics, rugs, curtains, accessories – all in one place. We might very well go this route for my youngest daughter, who is still young enough for the sweetness of a little girl’s room, and is not ready for a more sophisticated look of a teen or pre-teen.
To assist all three of my kids in figuring out what they want, I gathered a group of pictures so I could get a feel for what they like as far as colors and style is concerned. I included both the elaborate and the more streamlined. It was interesting to see their reactions to the different rooms. Take this room, for example, with interiors by Windsor Smith. I adore it – it reminds me of the guest room in my grandmother’s house, which had floral wallpaper on every square inch of the walls, and a matching comforter. I love the pattern and freshness of this room – it is beautiful and stylish, with both whimsical elements and sophistication; a room that has great charm for a ten year old, but can be easily updated (maybe with a larger bed) for a young adult. However, none of my kids liked it. Too much pattern, they said. One of my children gave points for the pretty iron bed. I love the look of a lantern in a bedroom.
This is one of my personal favorite kid rooms, with design by Urban Grace Interiors. It looks like the design started with the carpet, which is beautiful and youthful. I like how the bed was upholstered in something that appears to be pleather like – it would be very simple to wipe down. Two of my kids gave a thumbs up, but the oldest one was not a fan - she didn’t like the bed or the carpet.
This room seems very ‘now’, a vibrant and youthful room that any tween or teen would love. Here is where the differences in my daughters really emerged. The oldest seems to have very classic, tailored taste, and felt that it was too trendy for her. My middle child loved it – thought it was very bright and happy. My youngest one shies away from anything that is not pastel, so did not react favorably to the saturated colors. Image via House Beautiful.
This also looks like a young girl’s room, bright and lively and exuberant. My oldest daughter thought it looked like a kitchen, with the amount of cabinetry in the room. Predictably, my middle child loved the bright colors, but my youngest did not like them. Via http://dreamdesignlive.com.
I have always admired this bedroom, with its vivid Victoria Hagan fabric on the walls, which defines the color scheme for the room. However, none of my kids like the brightness and saturated color of the room. Interior design by Suzanne Kasler.
The Victoria Hagan pattern seen in a different application – on the walls. Melissa Rufty via Odi et Amo. http://www.mmrinteriors.com. Again, my kids nixed the vivid pattern and color.
I love this bedroom, seen on Pink Wallpaper. The stripes make it modern and fresh, the colors make it great for a young girl. My kids like the colors (in particular my youngest), but are not fans of stripes – in fact, my oldest has declared that she wants no stripes anywhere in her room.
The beauty is in the details of this room – the pattern on the rug, the beautiful trim on the headboard, with the colors repeated in the shade and bedskirt. There are some quality details in this room; it might not even be a kids room, and I am probably interpreting it as such because of the colors. My oldest child liked this room (although she prefers blue).
This image, via Cote de Texas, really appeals to me – it is simple and sweet, with nice pops of color. I particularly like the pink cording in the headboard. All of my kids liked the soft look and feel of the room (sans deer head), but all commented they would substitute the pink with another color. I guess they have not received the memo about ‘honeysuckle’ being the color of the year!
This bedroom was designed for a pre-teen by Jim Howard. It’s interesting to see that the window treatments are quite wide, although the window is small. I like the sophisticated mix in this room, from the art to the combination of orange and blue. The side tables are quite a color commitment, but so beautiful.
My middle child called this room ‘nice and simple and smooth’- perhaps recognizing the beauty in solids with just the occasional pattern. The other two liked it, but noted that they would prefer color on the walls.
I often find that guest rooms have a clean appeal that would translate equally well to a fresh room for a girl. My middle daughter and I both love this guest room in my sister’s old house (since sold), with interior design by Jim Hawes.
This would have been my dream bedroom as a child, and even as a teen (or maybe even now!). One of my daughters really responded to this pretty pink bedroom (with interior design by Phoebe Howard), despite professing a hatred of pink. I think it is the soft, girly look of this room that appeals to her.
The other two did not like it, and found it too girly, pink, and fluffy. Interestingly, none of my kids liked the mirrored side table – I guess they are not into a little bit of glamour that mirrored furniture brings to a room.
I wish I could see the rest of this room, because I like what I see in this view. It is classic and timeless, yet also youthful. Despite the pink, my middle daughter liked this room very much. I think it is the white mixed with a pale pastel that she is reacting to. I pointed out that she is liking rooms where the walls are painted, even though she is insisting that she wants ‘cream walls’ – maybe scarred from the pink walls that used to dominate her room. Source unknown.
The beauty and simplicity of this room is wonderful – one of my daughters noted that it has a beachy feel, and all of my kids seem to gravitate to the beachy colors. A bit of pretty pattern is brought in on the headboard, but the rest of the room is calm. Design by Ruthie Sommers.
I have paid attention through the years when designers and fellow bloggers post on kids rooms. The next two, by Tracery Interiors, are particularly beautiful. Tracery Interiors designed these rooms for two young girls, and they strike the perfect balance between the freshness of youth, and a growing sophistication needed in a room of a girl who is no longer a young child, but not yet a teen. This room was done for the younger daughter; this is the type of decor that can easily grow with a child. I love the rug!
The older sister’s room is done is a rich purple, which Doug (from Tracery Interiors) noted is a great counterpoint to the fresh pink in the younger sister’s room. To see the original Tracery Interiors post, click here.
Brooke from Velvet & Linen recently posted about the update to her 10 year old Leila’s room. Leila picked out the Anthropologie carpet, which started the new vision for the room. It is a great space, and beautifully reflects Brooke’s daughter. See the rest of the post here. Brooke has also mentioned a book on Children’s rooms that has been inspirational to her as she has designed rooms for young clients – Rooms for Children, by Susanna Salk.
Joni from Cote de Texas recently updated the room of a teenage client, with beautiful results. See post here.
I am concluding with the three rooms that all of my kids liked. This has always been a favorite of mine – the subtle mix of the blue and the sage green is beautiful. Design by Jim Howard.
One of my daughters loves a lot of pattern – this is a great fabric because it brings in pattern, but in a soft way (the fabric is my Victoria Hagan). I also love the unexpected green contrast brought in by the chair and the throw. Design by Lynn Morgan. All of my kids reacted positively to the ‘prettiness’ and freshness of this room.
All three of my kids really liked this room too. I realize it is not a kids room, but has the soft pastels and the blue color scheme that my girls seem to like. I am starting to realize that my kids have been quite influenced by the look and feel of my current bedroom…
Don’t you agree? My master bedroom furniture is going to become the guest bedroom furniture, and I will be changing up my color scheme to more of a green-blue (inspired by Galbraith & Paul Tulip fabric in frost).
This exercise was very helpful. My oldest wants a tailored, classic look with light blue as her main color (and she wants the walls to be blue). She wants primarily solid colors with only a little pattern, only on the pillows.
My middle child wants more of a vivid color in her room, and wants a lively pattern – she is currently loving this Thomas Paul fabric by Duralee. She is also gravitating towards teal and cream as the colors she wants in the room.
My youngest wants sweet and girly, with light purple and white as the main colors.
What are your memories of your childhood bedroom? Do you have any tips and recommendations when approaching the design and furnishing of a child’s bedroom, or any great products for a kids bedroom that you would like to share with my readers? I am particularly interested in hearing your thoughts and ideas on lighting – chandeliers and lamps, that are cute and whimsical but don’t break the budget.
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