Designing Kid’s Bedrooms: How to Involve Your Kid Creatively in Designing a Timeless Space

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I think it’s safe to say the achilles heel for any designer (or simply design fanatic) is the internal and external pressure to build and maintain a share worthy space. I have this crazy, I don’t know, “twitch” of constantly hunting for vignettes that could be photographed at any moment. Like, I love the view from our kitchen into our mudroom where there is this juxtaposition of the dark olive kitchen island in the foreground and a glimpse of the herringbone patterned red brick flooring of the mudroom. No telling how many photos I have in my phone of that vignette, but it’s a LOT.

Of course, it is rarely the case that even a handful (if that) corners of my home are ever perfect. I had a moment this week when I nearly broke into tears at the realization that all three of my kids are still in their stark white bedrooms, my son is sleeping on a mattress on the floor; All because I allowed the immense pressure of designing styling and posting photos of their room to perfection paralyze me from doing any of it. I’ve failed to do anything with their room because I figured I didn’t have the budget to make it a show stopper and designer-y. I’ve also been afraid to let them take over because I didn’t want to have to say no because it wasn’t “pretty” enough.

Please know that I realize I must sound like a total brat because we are so fortunate that we can give our kids their own rooms, in a nice house and a great neighborhood no matter what they look like. But honestly, we did not intend for the Designer and the DIYer to be a portfolio of design work. We created this site to build a community where we can empower one another to create beautiful, intentional spaces with our own hands. I’m sick of apologizing for incomplete (or should I just say barren) kid’s spaces when people come over because I’m embarrassed. We all know that is just completely ridiculous. Starting now, I’m going to do things differently.

Today I want to talk through the plan for involving my kids creativity in the process of designing their rooms with the intention of creating more personal, timeless, and cherished spaces that reflect their personalities. Because my kids (like all other kids!) have no idea how much effort, time and money it can take to decorate a room, we will need to involve them carefully. My three year old recently asked for a pirate ship excavator bed so we will need to figure out how to include him in the process in a way that is manageable and practical. But also, Nick, can you work on some plans for an excavator bed because how cool would that be? I love how little minds and imaginations work! My Mini Makers have so much joy and brilliance to add to this process, this is going to be fun πŸ™‚

Start with a blank canvas

This is always my first step because it works for me. Anything from a closet cleanout to a room redesign, that blank space allows me to play a little game of mental jigsaw to think through different options and ideas. As much as I love some of the art pieces (like Willa’s butterfly mobile) that they have had since I designed their nurseries, we will remove all the furniture and decor to visualize the possibilities with fresh eyes.

Come up with an idea we both love

I never had a strong “theme” for any of their nurseries, but I definitely had a vibe. That’s not to say we won’t go with a theme, the point is to find some grounding idea, a favorite color, or even piece of furniture that sets the tone. I can see Sienna showing interest in wallpaper. I know Willa is going to want a swing. And Dax and this pirate ship excavator bed…we are in trouble, ha! The fastest way to lose control is to try to work around multiple themes/ideas/pieces, so the plan is to properly lay the foundation by settling on just ONE idea we both love. Using that one idea will allow me to then introduce other pieces, colors, or ideas that work withe first.

Find out what is important

I know my kids, I know their interests, but I want to find out how they see themselves using the space. As I was tucking Willa into bed last night she said “Mom, I just want my room to be cozy”. Now that might seem like the most obvious no-brainer comment to you because who doesn’t want a cozy room? But in the context of her room, that comment gave me some ideas. Her room is definitely on the small side but it has nearly two full walls covered with windows. We left her views completely unobstructed with window treatments, but I think some curtains will really soften the space and up the cozy factor. I plan to browse magazines and Pinterest to see what they are drawn to–no need to get specific, just to get a sense of the overall feeling.

Set a budget and work with them to prioritize

Using budget is an essential tool in helping kids make good choices. We use budgets at home to help our kids focus in on what matters most to them, and they generally tend to make great decisions about how to get the most bang for their buck.

Personalize with DIY Projects

I want to foster their creativity by encouraging them to create custom artwork, make unique decor items or choose some of their favorites that they’ve created in the past to put on display. These personalized touches will add character and sentiment to the room. I’m going to have remind myself ot just say β€œyes” as much as possible and then adjust as needed. Reminder that this is not a high design project, the DIY part is a learning and bonding experience that I can’t and won’t miss!

Incorporate growth elements

To make the room timeless, I will carefully consider elements that can grow with my kids. I will sway them in the direction of decor that can be easily updated or just generally aim for a room that can evolve without a complete redesign.

That’s it guys. Designing kids room can be complicated but so beautiful! So here goes my ego. And let’s get real, the squishies are in for the long haul.

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