Monday, February 7, 2011

Childhood bedrooms

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. 

Chessie_The_Kitten[1] 5377268453_78e888d927_o[1]
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. 

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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.

windsor smith
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 Amohttp://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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  1. I really enjoyed this posting, and I especially enjoyed reading about your daughters' preferences. I agree that the cabinetry in the one room resembled a kitchen! Your children appear to have developed very good taste through your influence.

    Alas, because our family moved often (my father was a military man), my childhood bedrooms didn't receive as much attention as your daughters' will. I do remember that when i was about 12, my mother decorated my bedroom in bright green and royal blue, which was a very new and bold color scheme for the time.

  2. I love this post and am so happy I found your site!

    May all your gardens grow!

  3. Beautiful round up of inspiring children's rooms. Yes, my room wasn't half as fab when i was growing up:-)

  4. Great round up!! I find doing the kids rooms rather difficult - mine, like yours, have very specific likes and dislikes. My boys share a room now and could care less - as long as there is a tv and someplace to sit besides their beds, they're happy. My older daughter loves her current room but needs some more storage which I'm working on. It's my youngest that needs the redo - it's an awkward shaped room with not a ton of options. So looking forward to seeing more of the new house as it develops.

  5. These are beautiful. Brooke's room for Leila has the blues that make me happy. But we had a boy too. He needed a room that could crash, bang, and boom.

  6. This was such a helpful post for me. We will be moving in the next few months so I have already been thinking about what direction I will go in for my eight year-old daughter's new bedroom. I have already told her she can choose the paint color and she has begged us for a bunk bed. I am hoping we can create a fun room for her while keeping it tasteful. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Have a great week,

  7. Wow!

    How charming! I'd exchange my bedroom for any of these! LOL No kidding! It's like a dream... and a fun one!

    Beautiful post! I see you really took the time and effort. I can appreciate a really well done post as this one.

    Have a blessed week!


    Luciane at HomeBunch.com

    Post of the Day: Well Designed Kicthens. www.HomeBunch.com

  8. Holly - I loved this post. I am currently going through a redo of my daughter's room and I will be sharing this with her- thank you!. Pastel pink is no longer working. And.. I noticed as an owner of Drape98 - how much window treatments are utilized in these rooms!

  9. I'm obsessed with all bedrooms decorated by Phoebe and Jim Howard. My guestroom is being redone with a Phoebe Howard image closely in hand!! Can't wait to see the unveiling of your budding designer's rooms...such chic and sophisticated taste they have!!

  10. Thanks for sharing the photos. I LOVE pink but I have boys so it's not going to happen in my home. As far as lighting goes, I'm partial to simple linen drum shades and pendants. Check out neenaslighting.com for some affordable options and laylagrace.com for some beautiful, but not so affordable options. I agree with nixing the dear head in the Cote de Texas photo. What is up with this new trend? I'm seeing antlers everywhere.

  11. Beautiful images. Love the Greek key headboard.
    Have a wonderful week.

  12. Wonderful post! Brings back such sweet memories, both of my childhood and of my grown children's rooms. Thank you.

  13. Loved this post, thank you for all these wonderful rooms! My favorite: the room with splashes of pink and a deer's head. Have a great week!

  14. What a great group of inspiration pics for kid's rooms. My son and I are redoing his room currently and it's taken it's own direction far far away from the images I showed him. But he's very happy...

  15. fantastic info!! i so enjoyed browsing those room! i design art for kids rooms!... i think they are my favorite rooms to decorate! i think the HB room w the polka dot bench is my fav! {check out my new line of art for TEENS! some fun, bold images w great messaging! }

  16. I am a mom to all boys, so I never really got to indulge in kid room decor! I will live vicariously through you!!!!

  17. I love the headboard in your current bedroom...where did that come from?

  18. I loved reading this post! I'm in the process of designing a new room for my 2 1/2 year old. She'll be moving out of the nursery and into a new room, but I've had a hard time finding bedding that isn't typically bright colored and themed. I want her room to flow with the decor in the rest of the house. I have found fabrics, but I am now looking for furniture. I would love to hear more about the rooms as the process continues. Please keep us posted!!!

  19. It is so interesting and helpful to find out that kids (your kids, at least, but I think mine, too) gravitate to the kind of rooms that we tend to create for guests -- serene, comfortable, visually pleasing and quiet. Kids' rooms are so often made bright and playful, but perhaps this makes them too visually demanding to feel like a sanctuary. Mine so far are stuck with what's available, but this post will help me avoid mistakes when we get around to redoing their rooms.

  20. I love this post and love that you sat down with them and looked over images. Enjoyed hearing about what each one gravitated towards. Such fun personalities!

  21. I love the Velvet and Linen room. My room was a clever explosion of toys. Not really a theme going on. Anywhere.

  22. Holly, I am in the process of re-doing my playroom that has to accomodate two boys and a girl. I have chosen a base of green walls with all white furniture and secondary color or navy that I will add some turqouise whent the boys are here and some pink when my little gal is here. I will do this by simply changing out the pillows. I have the same resources that i love that you already mentioned. I love doing childrens rooms and lucky you, you get to do three!!! How fun!!!! I don't think you can go wrong with blue/green colors. It took me 3 different greens on the wall to find the right one, but now I think we are on our way!!! Kathysue

  23. MY FAV is the one by URBAN GRACE DESIGNS. What a great post, felt like I was shopping myself. I liked how your daughters were individuals in their style. Have fun!

  24. Thank you for the wonderful comments, everyone!

    My headboard was custom made - I looked and looked and could not find anything I liked. I went to a store in Atlanta called Terra Cottage - they have a wood guy who can make just about any design - with a reference picture. I looked long and hard for a good blue linen - when I had this headboard made, blue wasn't really 'in' as it is now. I found a pretty linen by Hollard & Sherry and used it for the headboard and the bedskirt.

  25. What a fabulous post and one of the most comprehensive that I have read. I definitely think that your children have been influenced by your design sensibilities as reflected in the master bedroom. I would take that as the ultimate compliment and also the fact that they view your bedroom as a place of refuge, comfort, and sanctuary. You obviously are doing a great job on the mom front in addition to being a stellar designer. Kudos on all fronts.

  26. I love this post! I don't find enough posts about children's rooms. I would love to see a post about nurseries.

    I have a hard time finding beautiful functional nurseries. Loved this post!

  27. Great round up of beautiful rooms and loved reading the commentary from your girls. They are all so unique in their tastes and definitely know their style.

  28. Just a quick hello Holly! Hope all is well. I seem to spend 60h per week at the office so hardly read blogs any more (sad). Hope all is going well with the house. What gorgeous rooms - I am saving several to my archive!
    xo Terri

  29. Such great rooms!

    I will just say that I am a huge fan of having a chandelier or a lantern in a bedroom. I think that it takes the room to a whole new level. . .as opposed to a ceiling fan; which I understand are very functional. I also like to have light sources (lamps or sconces) all the way around the room, not just near the bed, because it allows the room to be evenly lit at night.

  30. Beautiful post! I see you really took the time and effort. I can appreciate a really well done post as this one.

  31. Wonderful post! Your children have great taste. As a designer doing my child's room, it's hard not to input my personal wants for her. How nice that you included them in your decision making!
    They rooms were all pretty great but I admit my desire for a pink bedroom is still lurking. Loved the Phoebe Howard pink delight.
    Thanks for sharing.

  32. What a great post.....made me think back to my many stages of my bedroom, the stage where my mom had the final word all the way to when I policed how it looked, David Cassidy posters and all! My mom has exquisite taste and first my sister and shared a room wtih two antqiue french beds bedecked in blue white and purple floral fabric (almost like a toile) it was very frou frou compared to our friends rooms but no doubt beautiful. Later when I got my own room, I was into yellow so I had a very happy sunny room with lots of white and yellow..it was really fresh looking.
    IF I had a daughter, I would go for a very traditional canopied look in the palest blues and creamy whites, wiht pretty woodworking and lots of built in bookcases and a great big desk overlooking a big window. Beautiful fabrics (but practical ones) would be made into fluffy soft bedding and window treatments....but I would still allow her to implement her own style into the room too. (Love your dream room above, that would be my choice as well) Love the direction you are going in and all the rooms are winners in my book!
    If you need a great french chair (wink) for one of the girls rooms..please stop by my blog, its for my first giveaway, a gorgeous painted french chair!

  33. Love that room by Urban Grace too. The headboard is fab... perfect for a little girl, tween or teen - heck I would take it!

    Love T. Paul by Duralee fabric you picked out. I selected that fabric {yellow} for a pillow in kitchen nook I am designing for a client. So cheery!


  34. Holly, your children are so lucky to have a mom that has put so much thought into helping them create a little oasis in your new home.

    Although I love the light pink bedroom above with the mirrored chest...as a child, I requested and had a light blue room! I really don't remember why I went that direction.

    I have to weigh in about lanterns....LOVE THEM. Both of my boys have the same one, though b/c their color schemes are different...my designer painted one this great blue color then went out to the front yard, got dirt (yes, dirt) and rubbed it all over to give it a weathered look. It's amazing. Feels like it's vintage and gives great light to the room. I also have wall mounted lights on either side of the daybed in my youngest's room - from Circa Lighting. LOVE those as well.

    Good luck...lots of decisions to make!!
    xo Elizabeth

  35. I am loving every bedroom you posted! They're all gorgeous! Have a beautiful day, Kellie xx

  36. They're all so pretty. I encourage any mother to add some handmade element to their children's rooms. I designed my girls' bedroom a little while back and had a lot of fun choosing linens and headboards and such. But the elements they love most are those I made for them, a trumeau mirror and wall sculptures above their beds.
    Whenever their friends come over the first thing I hear the girls say is, "My mama made everything on that wall with her own hands, just for us!" Though these efforts are flawed and imperfect, they are the elements my girls want to take with them later. Makes me happier than any of the expensive linens I bought for them.

  37. Holly,

    I loved reading about your daughters' tastes. Thanks for sharing this personal post and I look forward to seeing their color/style picks!

    Okay, but I also can't believe they didn't like Suzanne's room with the hammock-I'd still take a swinging hammock in a room any day (just for the fun of it)!

  38. love that you are letting your girls be active participants in the process- just what i would have wanted at a young age!

  39. Holly, My eleven year old daughter has been begging me for almost a year to redo her very girlish little girl room into a more grownup tween room...I have a post of inspirational images almost ready, in order to get her opinions on, and then I hope to just tweak her existing space to get the look she wants. Brooke's daughter's room is such an inspiration, as is this post! Some of the images here I already had, some I didn't...will be linking when it goes up! Thanks!

  40. Holly- Your kids comments are so wonderful. They have such opinions, and should have!

    My favorite is the Jim Hawes space. Just restful!

    "My oldest daughter thought it looked like a kitchen..." What a comment! True, but I was drooling over all that storage space!

    Thanks for this great post!


  41. The kitty sheets are totally adorable, love their fuzzy little heads!

  42. All these rooms are so gorgeous, too hard to choose. It is a good thing that kids be involved in choosing the colors and have a say on the design of their rooms, because after all, they will be the ones to stay there. And they will remember this even when they've grown up that you exerted the time and effort to give them fab rooms that will be their childhood haven.

  43. What a great and patient mom you are, Holly. My girls chose paint colors and fabrics for their rooms and loved getting to do so. I love the rooms that look more grown up, still fulfill your kids' needs now, but won't look so childish as they mature. Of course, you already know that, given the gorgeous examples you have shared! I could live in just about all of the rooms you are looking at - great design from amazing designers. Can't wait to see the final choices!

  44. Any ideas for boys rooms? I'm doing a nine year old boys room right now. Not as easy as it sounds :-)
    xo xo

  45. What a lovely post and thank you for the fond memories of Chessie.

    I had a light lavender room with deep purple carpet with the Chessie linens, window treatments and even the Chessie lamp on my bedside table. My mom let me pick everything out from the paint to the floor and mostly the bedding . It's great that your little ones get to participate with their spaces.

    Great memories!!!

    Miss Kris

  46. I never really had the room I wanted. My father had lost his job during a critical time of my preteen and early teen years. It was difficult living in a upscale neighborhood and not having what others had. I have 3 sons and am always trying to make sure they have the room I didn't. Boys are difficult when decorating because they say no to everything they don't like but have trouble verbalizing what they like. I love the rooms you shared above, so pretty. I love your blog and am a follower. I am new to blogging and would love for you to stop by when you have a moment.

  47. SO many beautiful choices....It is wonderful that your children know what they like....indecision makes everything hard. They have fabulous taste which will make it a fun project for you....xv

  48. Great post! Beautiful rooms!
    Happy weekend!
    Jamie Herzlinger


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