With several years under my belt as an interior designer, I’ve had clients that span the gamut. I’ve done commercial design, large estate design and residential design. Every project comes with its own set of challenges and requirements. I welcome it all! After all, part of the fun of interior design is finding unique and innovative ways to make magic happen within a space. Even still, some of the toughest clients to design for might just shock you. Kids! Design for kids demands a particular approach, and if you execute well, nothing is more rewarding! Today, I’ll share with you what I’ve learned, and how you can nail the design you have planned for your own little ones.
Consider Kids’ Hobbies
If you have been following along with me on social media, you likely know about my new beach home I’m designing from the studs up. This house is going to be our forever home, so I’m leaving absolutely no stone left unturned! When it came to my sons and their rooms, they surprised me with quite a few opinions on how things would look according to their wishes. As I listened, it became clear that my sons were quickly becoming my clients!
One of the first things I did was ask about how they would actually use the space. You might know that we do quite a bit of mediating in our home. The boys use visualization tools for many purposes. So, we visited the house, which was pretty much a construction site. We walked into where each of their rooms would be, and I asked them to sit and imagine what they would be doing a year from now. One after the other, they talked about things like sketching or DJing. I listened intently for clues on how my kids saw their spaces. Then, I began the process of adding details to help achieve their visions. Things like custom drafting desks, extra outlets for DJ equipment and even furniture with compartments for prized possessions topped my list of interior design work I would need to embark upon to meet these goals.
Sometimes Kids Know Best
When you allow space for conversation around the way kids see their needs, you also allow creativity to flow in new ways. It may be difficult to imagine a child knowing more about how interior design might benefit them than we as adults might, but learning from my kid clients has opened up a world of wonder to explore. I’m glad I took their hobbies into consideration, and I know they will benefit greatly from it, too. If you’re planning a child’s bedroom, ask them what they want to do in that space. If your child loves to sew, factor in a station for it. If they love puzzles, have you created a place to store the pieces or hold a work in progress? These are the types of features that take ordinary kids room design to the next level. You can love the look of the space and satisfy the needs of the kiddo, too!
The Disposition of Design
Recently, I was asked about what I predicted in interior design trends for 2024. I talked about seeing a rise in “dopamine decor”, and why that was going to be a big deal this year. While I’m more of a timeless than trendy kind of designer, selecting design details that lift your mood will always be a good idea. I have always remarked about the power interior design has to influence the way people feel in a space. I wanted to keep that at the forefront when I was creating spaces for my boys in their new home.
Tap Into Kids’ Feelings
Far too often, we design spaces based on our adult visions and goals. We think about all the ways wallpapers, paint colors and decor will make a room shine. But, what about the kids? Shouldn’t they have a bit of say regarding how their private spaces will look and feel? I think so. Once again, conversations with the boys helped facilitate the next steps I took to create their rooms. One of my sons really craves the feeling of security and coziness in his bedroom. So, I leaned into that and incorporated elements that would usher in a warm and safe vibe. Everything from the colors, to the style of bed and furnishings are catered to making him feel comforted and snug in his space.
My other son is quickly moving into a new phase of his childhood development where individualism and personality are starting to take center stage. He had a very distinct idea for his bedroom walls, and let me tell you I was not the biggest fan at first. He wanted graffiti! His modern approachable luxury preferring mama was unsure of how to make that work. Once I understood why he wanted it, I worked with a local artist to create a masterpiece that ensured my son felt heard in his desires. We design a room that allows him to be the cool kid he truly is.
Where Personality Meets Functionality
Typically, when we decide to remodel or renovate a space, we place a heavy importance on the appearance of the area. Everyone loves the fun part—the picking out knobs, tile, art and so on. But, we all know that none of that matters if the utility of the space is lacking. You wouldn’t want a kitchen counter made of material that wasn’t food safe, would you? That same attention deserves to be given to kids’ design as well. When I worked on the Iconic Home presented by Architectural Digest I was asked to design a little girl’s room, and I tapped into all the amazing things a little eight year old Breegan would have swooned over! I included a ballet barre in that space because I wanted the room to encourage movement.
If you have energetic little ones, don’t build a space that requires them to treat things gingerly! A functional space for spry kiddos inspires their bodies into motion and is able to support that kind of activity. So, how does one design for kids with this kind of functionality as a priority? You can select furniture that can be climbed on, add features like hammocks, swings or even areas for a bit of roller skating! You don’t have to have a huge space, just focus on taking advantage of existing square footage.
Keep It Neat
All parents will understand the struggle of asking your kids to keep their rooms clean. If it’s a never ending battle you can’t seem to win, let’s design for kids in a way that might just alleviate that problem! If you have a child who has trouble staying organized, they might thrive in a space with dedicated storage. My kids did well with cubbies for their items and a routine to put things away when they arrived home each day. I preach about baskets with lids and ottomans because they’re great ways to hide away things without creating eyesores. Consider this approach with your kids’ rooms. Be intentional with your furniture purchases with their habits in mind. One of my sons tends to be a bit messy, so we are deliberately keeping his design simple and minimal. With less stuff comes less mess, right?
Listen, of course we want every area of our homes to be gorgeous and curated. I’m a mom who has always believed kids room design didn’t have to lack sophistication and beauty, so I totally get it. But, if we want to successfully design for kids, we must put their needs above our own preferences. If you hire a professional, you can easily find clever ways to merge the two! Contact me today if you’re looking to create a fabulous space for your kids. Let’s get started!