my philosophy on big kid rooms + lists of sources

Monday, June 25

One of my best friends privately shared with me that she thought the last "big boy room" I created was too grown-up.  I'm so glad she said that!  Because it got me thinking that if she thinks that, then there are probably more people that think the same.
I have some explaining to do...

It all comes down to my design philosophy.  As a basic goal, I design a space for a minimum of a 10 year time span.  Therefore, even though a child may be three when they first get their "big boy room", they grow and change quickly.  I want my clients to have the ability to make small changes as the child's interest change, but be able to keep the building blocks of the room the same.  For this reason, I try to not create a "themed" bedroom.  If the bedding, art, and fabrics all have dinosaurs, then the room will quickly be outdated as soon as his interest grow from dinosaurs to Star Wars. 

The key to still making it personal?  Invest in the key pieces and keep anything themed to the smaller items: sheets, throw pillows, inexpensive art.  Instead of choosing a Thomas the Train comforter and valance for your toddler, select a colored/patterned quilt, and search for interesting sketches of trains as art.  Or collect a slew of vintage toy trains and do a whole wall of trains in individual shadow boxes. Enough talking...let's see some pictures!

For example:
Let's start with this design for a big girl room...

If I had a daughter in our house full of boys, I would make her a big girl room like the one above.  
The fabric inspired it all.  Just perfect for an upholstered headboard.  The chandelier from Shop|ten|25 has been a favorite of mine for a long time.  They're a great match.  


H.'s big boy room can easily transform into a room for a 2 year old, to a teenager.  The furniture and fabrics are classic, but the inexpensive art can easily change with his interest.

This big girl room from The T. House may be pink, but with a few simple changes, can quickly be perfect for her when she's ten or thirteen.

Need more inspiration?  







I took a moment to source some of my favorite pieces of art for girls and boys.  Everything is affordable but beautiful.  Just click on the links and scroll down for the list of sources.


What are your thoughts?  
I'd love to hear what you think of making the perfect "big kid room".

If you would like to work together creating a home you absolutely love, click here for more information on my services.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

I do love your designs and pictures above, but in the eyes of a mom with a soon to be 13 year old daughter and an 11 year old daughter, I see they would adore your top picture of a room and the pink and green books one, but at 2-6 years or more not so much.Also, my kids would have climbed the bookshelves :) I think through the years with my guys there had to be a split at baby room,then kid room and now your designs when they hit 11+ and that will last them 10 years. But that's just me :) At about 12 -13 they want to shed all remnants of "little kid".If they have a nice room already, they will probably want to change it anyway as they are stretching their so called wings to make independent decisons and discovering personal taste. What do you think??

Meg Allen

Cris Angsten said...

AGREE 100% I'm not into heavily "themed" rooms - for exactly the reason you stated. They do "date" terribly, and kids change their passions sometimes in 6 months, and the room no longer reflects them. Extra bonus: if one of your kids has to bunk with another child when company comes over, their room easily lets guests have a more "grown-up" space - making their stay nicer!

Calypso In The Country said...

I agree with you Abby. We transitioned my son's baby room to a toddler room and then to a big boy room just now that he is 8. I wish I had thought ahead and went more towards big boy after the crib left. With our first born children, I don't think any of us realize how fast they grow up! I love all those are choices by the way.
-Shelley

heather (love your space) said...

I am 100% with you! I like to keep the big pieces flexible (solid headboards in great colors, classic casegoods, etc) but use easily-changed soft goods to change with the ages. Like car sheets for my nephew's room, topped by a bold striped duvet with a solid navy headboard. The sheets (and curtains and throw pillows) will change as he grows. The solid headboard and vintage wooden furniture will not. Of course, little kids have different storage needs then big ones, but that can be solved with changing baskets and shelves.

I like that you treat little kids as people, not babies.

{Hi Sugarplum!} said...

I'm totally with you, and think that just because they are kids, doesn't mean we have to bathe them in kiddie themes. They can learn to appreciate good design, and their rooms deserve the same love and attention as the rest of the house. I got some slack with my daughter's room, too, but she loves it! and I can easily adapt it as she grows. Finances is something else to take in to consideration...who can afford to redo the room every 2 years when their interests change?!? I LOVE that girl room you designed...and love your boys rooms, too!

Amanda Whaley said...

Hi Abby!
I agree with your philosophy in designing rooms for kids. When thinking about what I wanted to do for my son, Paul's room one of my friends asked " whats your theme?" Frankly there were/ are too many to choose from! I found colors I liked that I can work with and plan on changing the bed spreads or sheets eventually but am avoiding a character or theme room as much as possible! I ordered crib bedding with light green, yellow, caramel and brown circles and rings and the matching valances. The walls are light green and inside the built in shelves we painted yellow. I will keep the green and yellow and "accessorize" with things Paul likes! Thanks for the great ideas! I LOVE your rooms!

A Delightful Design said...

Hi Meg- Thank you for commenting your thoughts! I actually think we agree, we are just saying it differently. To me, a big kid room starts at age two or three, so if it can last until the tween years, when they want to shed everything baby, I'm a happy designer. ;-)

Kim@Chattafabulous said...

Such smart plans! And fyi, I'm totally stealing that headboard fabric on your first board. I've not seen that one and I'm working on an 8-year old girls bedroom. I love it more than anything else I've found!

www.chattafabulous.blogspot.com

A Delightful Design said...

Thanks Amanda!! Great to hear your thoughts and what you've done in your home.
Abby

A Delightful Design said...

Thanks Kim! Someone should use that fabric and I'm glad it is you. It's a great price and timeless! I hope you share pictures when it's completed.
Abby

A Delightful Design said...

Cassie- Your daughter's room is stunning. I'm surprised you have gotten flack for her room. Thank you for sharing your wisdom!
Abby

A Delightful Design said...

Heather- Great points! Thanks for sharing.
Abby

A Delightful Design said...

Shelley- There is so much we don't know with the first born children. ;-)

A Delightful Design said...

Cris- You read my mind. Using H.'s room for guests was exactly my thinking.

Rachel G. said...

Totally agree! Love how you helped us pick colors for our kids "big kid" rooms that are easily transformable to grow with them! Timeless foundation and flexible details. : )

modern jane said...

I totally agree Abby! I also love the art you selected for each sex!

Angeline said...

I am so with you on this point!

Sarah Elizabeth said...

I love it! Love Love Love it. It makes so much sense, both style wise and financially. Hello, what parent doesn't want to save money? I love using classic pieces and making it more personal with inexpensive art and decor that can easily get changed.

Beth {Design Your Dwelling} said...

I am definitely on-board with your philosophy. It is easier and less expensive to make small changes along the way than great big changes consistently!

Aubrey {All Things Bright and Beautiful} said...

I was giggling about the "themed" room because I'm pretty sure my husband totally wanted to get our son a "Cars" comforter and I just put my foot right down on that one! So glad I did because that phase only lasted for a few months and then I would've been stuck with that tacky bedding forever!!! GAH! THE HORROR! This is completely smart to have this philosophy with rooms...make changes easy and inexpensive! Your kids (and your wallet!) will thank you! (c;

figtreesundays said...

I very much agree with your big kid room philosophy. Thanks for the tips about how to pull it off and where to incorporate some of the interest-of-the-moment brand name items. Great examples for inspiration, too!

Nancy said...

I think this is a great post and you're spot on with the art, the themes, the fabrics! I like to change all room decor every 5 years... if the client wants a long or short time span is key.
Nancy
Powellbrowerhome.com

Laurie Jones said...

I'm so there with you, I'm getting ready to have a baby and people keep asking me what theme I'm choosing and I can't help but wonder why does the baby need a theme,how about just a beautiful room? I know kids like the Disney stuff (cringe) my daughter certainly did but I chose to buy her a Cinderella pillowcase to sleep on and when she moved onto the next character we just swapped out the pillowcase, way cheaper!!

Jill GG (good life for less) said...

I couldn't agree more! In my opinion, it's my house and all the rooms in it have to make me happy :) haha! No but seriously, Disney and Superhero themed anything is not really my cup of tea. Plus I think that our kids need to learn to integrate into the design of our home and not the other way around. But this is me who has white sofas and two kids :)

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xo,
abby

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