I love doing Kids rooms for and with the actual child. In reality, kids need to be part of the design process because you’re creating a world for them, not you. Often I simply request some alone time with the child. This tells me so much more about the imaginary world they live in and therefore glimpses into the environment that will continue to feed that creativity. Then and only then do I tackle ‘function,’ with the parents.
Young kids (3-12) will need something quite different then a child moving into their mid teens. However, designing a room for a single child is one thing but designing a shared space for two small kids is altogether a different story. Shared spaces and privacy become the critical elements that make or break successful cohabitation.
Lego Kids Room:
First it’s about theme. One that is universal to both children. In the case of the room photographed here (from my book Christopher Lowell’s Seven Layers of Organization) both kids loved LEGOs. This of course set the color palette. And paint is the cheapest and easiest way to fill a room that reflects a young child’s personality. So cheery, primary colors became the springboard in creating a playful environment.
The next task was to create two distinct living areas. Kids need to know what’s theirs and what to be responsible for. It’s important to draw clear lines as to who owns and maintains what. Bookcases were placed between two twin beds back-to-back to form one side of an entryway. Two more bookcases formed the other side of the arch.
That way both kids got their own privacy and storage. To amplify the LEGO idea, store bought cubes and rectangles (some were covered milk crates) were painted then the LEGO effect was created using Styrofoam tubes cut into uniform discs and painted the
color of the boxes.
Easy, reachable storage is key to helping kids understand the principles of organization. So the old bed frames were replaced with two side-by-side Lack shelves laid on their sides to support the mattresses. These were then outfitted with labeled baskets–all purchased from IKEA. These baskets can be taken into the center of the floor and return when playtime is over.
Then an inexpensive deck was created by stacking more decorated cubes to support a (hollow core door) work surface. The rest of the room décor was simply all about finding rectangles and cubes and attaching them together for more storage and display. The entire room makeover was done under $700.00 complete. Sure a little elbow grease helped defray the costs but simple geometric shapes and paint did most of the visual heavy lifting.
In a few years the Styrofoam disks were popped off the cubes and everything got repainted in a monochromatic color scheme and electronics were added. All of which extended the life of this room for that kids who grew up there, well into their late teens.
Guest post by Christopher Lowell. As one of America’s most established designers and trusted lifestyle authorities, Christopher Lowell brings his hip, engaging “you can do it” decorating mantra to a whole new generation of “hyper-taskers” in the FLN (Fine Living Network) interior design series Work That Room with Christopher Lowell.
You may also enjoy reading tips for decorating and making the most of your space in small rooms.