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At House Beautiful, we've offered plenty of advice on decorating spaces for the youngest members of the family—we've got kids' rooms aplenty, imaginative inspiration for playrooms, spaces for little ones with special needs, and much more. But one thing we haven't done in an effort to create dream spaces for kids is something that feels pretty obvious: Ask the kids.
Over the past few months, we sourced dream room submissions from 13 design lovers under 12—then asked professional designers to "translate" these asks into real design briefs and product suggestions, just as they would for any adult client. One of the best things about children is that they tend more towards the imaginative than the practical, so there's plenty of magic in each of the schemes. The results are smart, original, and honestly pretty practical! Read on to explore them all, and shop the one that feels right for your kid.
“My dream room would have light pink wallpaper, a desk with a fuzzy chair, it would have a picture of me and mommy, and it would have a big closet with wallpaper with tulip, pink tulips, and my bed would have, it would be all the kinds of colors of pink mixed together. And an extra big picture frame with a big drawing of mine and also it would have pink polka dots. And that’s all!”
"Lola sounds like a girl after my own heart! My signature corkboard wall would be perfect for her. I’d cover one wall floor to ceiling with cork and then cover the cork with a fun polka dot wallpaper. This gives Lola her own wall to decorate. She can hang the photo of her and her mom along with any artwork she wants—all she needs is a push pin and her imagination. (My own daughter, Marlowe, decorated hers with her own paintings and collection of dream catchers!) An elegant desk would glam it up a bit, but the chair would have another pop of pink. "
—Betsy Wentz, Studio B
“My pet chicken named Evan…a robot that cleans up everything so my room is always clean and I don’t get yelled at…I have a teddy bear, a TV, and a rubik’s cube. Inside drawers are my clothes, socks, shoes, and a little lantern, and a bookshelf with all different kinds of books. There’s a screen you shove your face in it and if it’s my face it lets me in but if its someone else they kick them out.”
A mirror on or near the bedroom door could act as the “screen” to confirm entry into Lottie’s secret space. Utilizing wall space is critical in kids' rooms because they often have a lot of “stuff” to fit into a pretty small space. I really do love peel and stick / temporary wallpaper for kids' rooms: It has a big impact, costs little, and is easy to remove if they want to change things up in the future. Adding the colorful robot wallpaper gives Lottie lots of helpers for cleaning her room! I always look for classically designed dressers in a neutral wood tone (like this one) so they last longer and never go out of style. Look for handle vs. knob pulls to withstand kid use. Adding in a mobile lantern means this light can be used anywhere!
—Kristin Bartone, Bartone Interiors
“A pink construction site with glasses on it with pink and books on the shelf right there. A night light that changes colors and a bed on a dinosaur.”
To honor Konstantine’s pink construction site, I selected vintage construction vehicle photographs and opted to paint the room in two shades of pink: the walls in First Light and the trim in a fun high gloss, Taste of Berry, both by Benjamin Moore. Both colors can easily–and inexpensively–be changed for future requests. LED color-changing wall art glasses are the perfect focal point for the room. They not only honor Konstantine’s pink glasses request, but also offer night lighting that changes colors. I also selected a classic bookshelf to hold toys and books—this will grow with him. And, finally, we can’t forget about the dinosaur request! A simple dinosaur duvet, folded at the bottom of the bed, is an easily interchangeable addition to the room. The quality coverlet and bolster pillow will last for the years to come.
—Rebecca Bridges, House of Drennan
It seems this client is very discerning and knows what they like. I'm on board! What I glean from this aspirational prompt is that they want a room where boundaries don't exist in terms of creativity and color. As a self-professed lover of pink myself, I indulged in this color request with a mural-like wallpaper that has gradations of pink, red and brown, allowing the room to feel grounded and elevated. There are a variety of shapes in furniture and decor, a nod to architecture and some playfulness. The core pieces of the room are classic so that the dweller can create and change the smaller items in/out as they wish.
—Clara Jung, Banner Day Interiors
“Wallpaper that has leaves and lots of animals like bears, olive and squirrels…On the windows will be tiny pictures of animals that look like they’re looking through. The lights will be like birdcages that have little butterflies. The bed will be made of oak and bronze and the covers will be yellow with acorns and rodents. The pillows will be shaped like an acorn. The bedside table will be a tree stump with an alarm clock shaped like a birdhouse that wakes you up with birdsong. The carpet will be green like grass, and there would be a tiger rug, but not real. And there would be a shelf that had plants on it and cuddly toys like a deer and a mouse family and squirrels.”
Our overall interpretation from this design inspiration is a nature theme. Earthy tones, natural elements, and a love of animals would be displayed. Creating a cohesive design would be fun for Lilli, incorporating live plants and whimsical charm.
—Stephanie Lindsey, Etch Design Group
“First, I have a large bed, and then a diamond chandelier, a couch with some furry pillows, and a TV that shows a bunch of rainbow stuff. I have an underground base and the theme is to be fancy, so I put a lounge chair and an umbrella because I really like the beach, and then a slushie machine.”
This sounds like an amazing room where any kid could spend hours hanging out. I love the idea of creating an “underground base” camp under a bunk bed, especially with added drapery panels to close off the rest of the world. Kids are bombarded with activities and packed schedules, so having a quiet space at home is essential to pressing the “reset” button. Adding a full wall mural of the beach (with an umbrella decal on top!) transports Mina to a place that is relaxing and where she feels at peace.
—Kristin Bartone, Bartone Interiors
“I want a room with a castle and then a little slide when you wake up in the morning and then a little toy comes to you with a machine, and then the machine gets your toothbrush. And then there is a machine that gets you into a Mickey Mouse kitchen area and you can cook real things or pretend things.”
I think Olympia would love a lofted bed with a play area below it (I chose a real princess model—for a simplified look, this one works too!). I would add some fun bells and whistles like a slide and a curtain below the loft to create a kitchen/play area. Both could be removed when Olympia gets a little older and play area could become a desk/work space. I’d also add a Disney wallpaper to finish the space.
—Betsy Wentz, Studio B
"My ideal bedroom would have a canopy bed with white wood bedside tables with brass knobs. The canopy would be made with white sheer fabric and the bed would be made out of black metal. I would have high ceilings with two big windows. I'd like a desk with bookshelves above it that matches the bedside tables. The wallpaper would be a floral green and white pattern with a white rug. I'd have blue and white patterned shades over the windows and artwork above my bed. My room would make me feel truly at home, and it would be a cozy place where I would spend most of my time."
An easy way to create a canopy bed with fabric is to purchase a simple ready made black canopy bed and pair it with muslin fabric which you will drape over the top of the canopy and down the sides. I would pair this look with West Elm's Quinn night stands. The Aubrey desk/bookshelf combo from Pottery Barn Teen would compliment this nicely. Swap out the hardware it comes with from some brass pulls/knobs. Go with a bold and vibrant wallpaper. Now the room feels vibrant yet cozy. For the window treatment, incorporate a new pattern via a roman shade for some whimsy and soft texture. The artwork really plays up the color for a look that is truly experiential. For the icing on the cake, add a beaded chandelier to pull it all together.
—Ginger Curtis, Urbanology Designs
“An entertainment lounge so a big screen TV and many comfy chairs so I can sit and watch movies and I want beanbags so when my friends come over we can sit and talk and I also want a magical bookshelf so I can read any book I want and I want neon signs that say ‘Claire’s entertainment lounge’ with a star because I really like stars. And lastly I would like every single electronics so I can interact, play games, and such.”
First of all: Wow! Claire has the right idea for the perfect entertainment/lounge space. I completely agree that the right seating is a MUST in a room like this and the first element to consider when designing a lounge. I would throw in a few of Pottery Barn beanbags—they would be the perfect addition. To create that 'magical' bookshelf to show all of Claire's favorite things, I'd recommend the Driftway Bookshelf by Serena & Lily in either the chalk or coastal blue colors. Underneath her big screen TV, Claire will love a console to store all of the best electronics and games for her to enjoy with friends and family. Lastly, her show-stopping neon sign could be hung on this adorable Star Wallpaper.
“Wallpaper with leopards on and all other wild cats and my bed would have all mammals on it and I would have pictures of me, my dad, and my mom and there would also be a desk with a lamp where I could do my homework and then a box with pencils and stuff, markers, crayons, and colored pencils, and I would have a bulletin board with a basket of sharp pins to stick on paper and I would have a couch with cats on it and then I would have curtains hanging over my bed. That’s it!”
For Gemma, I’d start with the bed and seek to create a safari-like environment with canopy bed covered in sheer curtains. A canopy bed (the below or this for a more modern feel) will look perfect for that feel. Based on her description of wildcats and couches with cats, I would wrap the entire room in a tiger motif wallpaper (go bold with this Gucci one or more playful with the Mitchell Black option below). She clearly loves cats and these are a sophisticated interpretation of that. To balance the request for a sofa with cats on it, we would introduce a fabric with an animal print to not overwhelm the space but still make it fun and playful.
—Kelly Finley, Joy Street Design
“I want a playground in my room. I like swing and slide and monkey bars.”
To create a playground/jungle gym in the bedroom, I’d start with putting monkey bars on the ceiling by using these simple but brightly colored bars from Etsy. I also imagine that part of the playground appeal is just having space to run around and enjoy. By making the bed a loft bed (with a possible slide), we’d be able to create the open floor layout for toys, etc. Lastly, I’d install a fun hanging chair to bring it all together and give all the requested elements. We’re working on a room like this and we’re adding a cityscape mural that matches what the local playground actually shows. It’s going to be fabulous.
—Kelly Finley, Joy Street Design
“Wallpaper that looks like my blue blanket, and a waterbed. I want a light that has stars up above and one that changes colors. And I want the lights I can clap and it turns on I also want a place I can use my computer, and I want my paintings from the fridge to be in here. I want to be able to sit down and admire my room.”
Based on Chase's description of his ideal room, I see this as a loft-type room with a custom built bunk bed. Chase's bed will be on top, while a desk and bean bag lounge chair will be beneath his bed. While waterbeds seem to be a blast from the past, this topper gives you the best of both worlds: It's a cooling water mattress overlay, so it allows you to use a standard bed (or custom bunk bed in this case!). It seems like Chase would love a room that feels like an escape. He wants to retreat and feel like he's wrapped up in a cozy blanket surrounded by the things he loves. That's why I've incorporated the cable knit Phillip Jeffries wallpaper to wrap his room in coziness, and the clear mounted frames that are easily interchangeable with kids art! And, with Alexa technology, he can program his lights to turn on with voice or clap!
—Traci Connell, Traci Connell Intertiors
“I want all colored wallpaper, a rainbow bed, and a pink room. And a blankie.”
Colorful and energetic is what we see here! The rainbow would be incorporated into the bedding, accent pillows or even nightstand accessories with a neutral upholstered bed that could adapt to room design changes over time. The wallpaper would be the show-stopper in the room, incorporating the love of pink.
—Stephanie Lindsey, Etch Design Group
Rainbows and curved furniture have been all the rage lately so this kiddo is way on trend! I would bring in a rainbow Mural with an oversized rainbow for some added drama. I’d also add a blush rainbow shaped bed (where the headboard looks like a rainbow) with rainbow sheets. I would then add a few fluffy Mongolian faux fur pillows to double as clouds. And a cozy reading corner with a sweet cloud rug.
—Lina Galvao, Curated Nest Interiors
“I’d like green walls, an astronaut painting, a secret hiding spot, a cool chair, bunk beds, and lights that come out of the wall so that you can read at night.”
Do a spaceship hideout! Add string lights to make it magical, then try to source a space-age chair from a vintage dealer.
“The top would be gymnastics, my bed would be orange, my bathroom would be orange birds and red, my book area would be painted with books, and my curtains maybe some rainbows and unicorns. And my tables I wondered if we could do snowflakes and rainbows and flowers and like spring activities. Like the pool and the floor, the carpet would be like people gathering around all talking to each other and my floor would be some books on half side and the other side gymnastics and rainbows.”
Virginia's creativity combines a connection with water, nature, fantasy, and physicality (gymnastics). I would start with the “Sunken Treasure Aqua” rug from Liora Manne. I would use a white twin bed from my collection, the “Sunrise” bed in rainbow fabrics from Fabricut’s washable velvet line with pillows made from Harlequin’s “What A Hoot” collection. For the bathroom, I would use a Thibaut wallpaper on the walls and Pigeon & Poodle bath accessories, the Abiko collection in Marigold Cast Resin.
—Dwayne Bergmann, Dwayne Bergmann Interiors
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