Room to Grow: Cool Kids’ Rooms
Just like fashion and the clothes we wear, home décor is an expression of self, where we can showcase who we are and what we like. For kids, their bedrooms should reflect their personalities and be multi-functional—a room to sleep, play, and learn in for years to come.
One challenge for many families is designing a room that grows with the kids rather than something they grow out of. “Allow kids to choose items that can easily be changed, such as bedding, curtains, and rugs,” says Kristina Lewis, owner of Blitz Organization (blitzedh.com). Knowing they have a say in how their room is decorated “will make them happy and comfortable to be in the space.”
Let their interests shine through.
Everything in the room should feel like it’s specifically placed for the child’s use. “The furniture should be adjusted to the child’s size and be user-friendly for a child. The toys should be visible and accessible,” says Anna Wenklar, owner of Jetsam Interiors (jetsaminteriors.com). “Attention should be paid to the child’s interests and emphasized through toys, art, wallpaper, and accessories. For example, if your child is interested in astronomy, you could incorporate a 3D solar system mobile suspended from the ceiling, or a 3D sculpture of planets that they can interact with.”
Find décor that will last years.
Keep the walls, furniture, and storage neutral, Lewis says. Some décor items that can be kept throughout the years include" their name or first initial on the wall; a pegboard to store arts and crafts or school supplies, a pinboard to display art from school or pictures of friends, and a mirror for functionality and to create the appearance of more space,” she says. Wenklar advises picking furniture made from strong natural materials that will last. “Real wood can be sanded and refinished—chipped MDF and plastic cannot,” she says. “Stay clear of themed bedroom designs, which your child might soon grow out of. Use patterns in accessories and bedding instead of on the walls.”
Set up a functional space for schoolwork.
Lewis shares two ways to create a homework station. “First, a loft bed with a desk underneath—this allows you to utilize your vertical space and create a nice, quiet area for your child to do their homework,” she says. “Or try a Murphy desk, which helps if you’re tight on space since it mounts to the wall and can be pulled down when you need it and folded back up when you don’t!”
Jetsam Interiors Senior Designer Caroline West adds that depending on the size of the room, the desk can either be freestanding, a built-in between bookshelves, a wall niche, or placed under a raised bed. “In smaller rooms, the desk can be folded out from the wall and put away when not in use. Corner desks also work well for smaller spaces, or a dresser drawer can even be transformed into a pull-out desk surface,” she says.
Bins, bins, and more bins!
Kids quickly outgrow toys as well as clothes, so to keep clutter at bay, Lewis suggests placing two bins in the closet: one for clothes/shoes that no longer fit and the other for toys that are no longer played with. “Once the bins are full, take it to your preferred donation center or pass it down to another child that can enjoy them,” she says. “If you don’t have another child in your life, you can also check out your local Buy Nothing Group (on Facebook) to pass on to someone in your community.”
Every item should have a home.
To clean up a room quickly, there must be a home for every item. “Dirty clothes need a hamper, toys need storage, and school supplies need a spot to live. Sorting, containing, and labeling everything makes putting things back so easy,” Lewis says. “Set a timer for 10 minutes and have your child take that time to put items away. It’s amazing what can be done in short, focused bursts of time!”
Creative ways to shop local.
In addition to shopping for décor at big-box stores, Lewis also suggests going to mom-and-pop places like Willow + Oak (willowandoak.net) in Cameron Park. Places like Etsy are also a great resource for handmade quality items, and yard sales are often advertised on social media and in online parent groups. “Yard sales are a good place to pick up furniture and décor,” West says.
Encourage routine cleaning.
“The best way to keep your kids’ room clean is to give them a helping hand to begin and give them specific tasks so that they know exactly what they need to do and commend them for it,” Lewis says. “Give them the task of cleaning their room at the same time every day or every week, so they know exactly what your expectations are. Lastly, kids learn the most from their immediate environment, so if we want them to learn to be tidy, we must be an example with our own spaces!”
MORE TOP TIPS
- Eliminate toys and books that your child has outgrown. A garage sale is a great way for children to earn and save money for new toys and gadgets.
- Rotate through the toys and books your child hasn’t used much of, or at all, in the last few weeks. You can store toys that are used infrequently in a garage or closet, in case an interest returns before you decide to sell or donate the items.
- Divide toys by activity: puzzles, board games, cars, train sets, art supplies, etc. Place each activity category on its own shelf or in a bin. Using clear bins allows a child to quickly see what’s inside and helps with clean up. You can mark bins with large alphabet letters; “B” for blocks, “C” for cars, “D” for dolls, or create an easy visual color-coding system using different colored bins.
- Organize books by topics: cars and trucks, princesses and heroines, animals, science, etc.
- Keep one bin for your child’s artwork that can be revisited regularly.
- Keep a small treasure chest for items found outside: leaves, dried flowers, seeds, and rocks.
- Keep costumes separate from everyday clothes, in a closet if space allows.
- Create an art station by using a small magnetic easel and art caddy on wheels, which helps to keep all art supplies in one place.
- Have a small garbage bin in the room, so kids can dispose of things easily, such as paper from their desk.
by Kourtney Jason