Kids' Room Ideas from Designers
A few of our favorite Southern decorators share ideas from their own kids' rooms to show you how to create stylish spaces that are anything but juvenile.
Room To Grow
A strong mid-century vibe flows throughout designer Charlotte Lucas' 1950s Charlotte, North Carolina, home—even into the nursery of her 1-year-old daughter, Liles. Charlotte believes in creating kid-friendly rooms, but not at the expense of dulling down the sophistication.
What She Did | Lengthened the Room An off-center window threw off the room's symmetry. To fix this, Charlotte hung her curtains to the ceiling and ran them the length of the windowed wall.
What She Did
Skipped the Pastels Rather than having a typical nursery scheme, Charlotte used saturated hues, tactile grass cloth on the walls, and complementary wallpaper on the ceiling to create a baby-loving, cocoon-like feeling.
Used Grown-Up Furniture Timeless pieces such as the handsome dresser, shelves, and a miniature Eames-style dining set will be practical for Liles for years to come.
Meet the Mom
- Your Own Room as a Child: I designed my own bed! I sketched out my ideas and met with the fabricator. From then on, I knew if you couldn't find what you were looking for, it could always be made.
- Kid-Proof Splurge: Wallpaper. It makes the largest impact in a room.
- Best Decorating Tip: Buy furniture and art that isn't too childish so it remains relevant as children grow.
- Secret Source: I love Roberta Roller Rabbit and Rikshaw Design for bedding.
- Nursery Do: Try something more colorful or vibrant that you might not risk in another room.
- Nursery Don't: Avoid the tendency to rush and fill up the room before the baby arrives. It's better to wait and save up for the right piece instead of just purchasing to fill up the space.
Twice as Nice
Lindsey Ellis Beatty doesn't let life with young boys put a damper on ultra-feminine palettes in her Birmingham home. Instead, she lightens up standard "boy's room" colors, taking them in a pastel direction for the bedroom shared by her sons Walker, 6, and Beckett, 4.
What She Did | Avoided Themes Not one for theme-inspired rooms (in spite of her sons' affection for just about anything Star Wars,) Lindsey opted for a timeless blue, green, and white color palette, which can evolve with the boys.
What She Did
Reused Furniture Lindsey inherited the twin beds and two dressers, which work well in the tiny room. Though the lines were great, the finishes were not. To combat the drab brown, Lindsey limed the beds with gray paint, lacquered one dresser in a high-gloss black (PM-9) by Benjamin Moore, and painted the other dresser white.
Used Toys As Art "There are so many clever children's toys out there that can be integrated into a bookcase or placed on a dresser in an artful way," says Lindsey, who often groups small cars and figurines with stacks of colorful books as stand-ins for decorative accessories.
Meet the Mom
- Your Own Room as a Child: It was filled with pink-and-green Laura Ashley floral on the bedding and curtains and—wait for it—green wall-to-wall shag carpet.
- Secret Sources: Serena & Lily, The Land of Nod, and Home Goods are my go-tos. I also love flash sales on One Kings Lane and Joss & Main. It's impulsive, but you can find some great pieces on these sites.
- Kid-Proof Splurge: My children are rough on things, so I really try not to spend too much on anything except curtains.
- What's Next on Your Design Radar? Stripes. They're having a big moment—stripes on the walls, stripes on the ceiling, and striped rugs. And also a good bunk room.
- Boy's Room Don't: Dark wood furniture with navy bedding. The catalog companies tend to push us toward that look, but I want lighter and brighter rooms.
Fit for a Tween
Atlanta-based designer Jennifer Healey pushed past her neutral comfort zone when she schemed the bedroom for her 10-year-old daughter, Olivia. Instead, she steered herself toward a Technicolor palette steeped in vibrant tones and floral patterns.
What She Did | Invested in Pieces for the Long Run "I like the idea of buying items that children can take with them and use in their first apartments or homes," says Jennifer, who incorporated mature furniture and accessories such as an antique mirror, clear acrylic vanity, lacquered desk, and lamps that will work well for any stage of life.
What She Did
Found a Sophisticated Pink "Kids often associate pale pink with little girls," says Jennifer. Instead, she opted for a deep raspberry shade—a versatile color that will transition well into the teenage years—for the tufted linen headboards and bed skirts.
Made Room for Sleepovers Though the room could have fit a queen-size bed, Jennifer added twin beds, which, incidentally, made the room feel bigger and also gave Olivia a better setup for when a friend spends the night.
Meet the Mom
- Your Own Room as a Child: As in Olivia's room, my mom and I put the personality on the walls—we painted the faux finish ourselves.
- Kid-Proof Splurge: Spend on things they can have forever or on pieces you can reuse later in your own house: lamps, mirrors, maybe a desk or a chest of drawers.
- Slumber Party Advice: Include a little sitting area in a child's space so when they have a sleepover, the kids can listen to music or look at projects together.
- Tween Room Do: Add a pinboard. It's important for kids to have a place to display their things. If you don't create a space for them to do so, you will find things everywhere.
- Tween Room Don't: Dry-clean-only bedding or anything that could be dangerous when the child is unsupervised, such as a swing. I see a lot of those, but they make me nervous!