Designing for Kids as They Grow

1. Simplify, simplify, simplify.

Organization and simplicity play a key role in this child-teen-adult transformation. The design process must begin by clearing the clutter and downsizing the shelves of trinkets, trophies, stuffed animals, and countless childhood crafting that have accumulated over the years. Less is more. The room will immediately feel more open, more airy–and most importantly, more mature.

2. Boys vs. Girls

Throughout this design transformation, the young adult should be kept in mind as the ultimate “designer.” The room is meant to be an expression of him or her. And remember, the approaches to re-designing a boy’s room and a girl’s room are vastly different.

To girls, color scheme is everything. It is also the most costly and time-consuming part of any remodeling project. So steer your design in the direction of color schemes that are timeless and do not tire easily.

The use of complementary colors plays a key role in the room’s makeover. Using two color accents throughout the room affords the opportunity to stick with one color and swap out the other in the future. Or, use a black and white color scheme with one “pop” color accented throughout the room. Either approach will add to the room’s design maturity, while keeping a simple scheme and long-term vision in mind.

As for her walls, not all upgrades have to be expensive. Do-it-yourself projects are all the rage and often the best form of self-expression. From mason jar candle holders to feather dream catchers – she can deck out her walls using the latest ideas from DIY boards on Pinterest.

Boys aren’t nearly as interested in color schemes as they are getting a bigger bed, updating to modern light fixtures, and swapping out their Matchbox car sheets and curtains for a more mature look. Hint: long drapery and solid colors go a long way. Also, when in doubt, go for navy. It’s the perfect, timeless color that will last through the years and make him feel as though he’s transitioning from boyhood to young adult. Lastly, re-arranging his bed and furniture is the simplest approach to giving the room an entirely fresh look – one he’ll appreciate.

3. Know What to Invest In (And What Not To)

Invest in bedding. It’s time to ditch the excessive ruffles and cartoon themes that were once “adorable.” Bedding is what ties the room together and plays a key role in transforming a child’s room to pre-teen or young adult. Bedding can also be a strong expression of self, so it should have character but remain simplistic enough that they will not tire of it in a few years.

Invest in furniture that will accommodate changing needs. Furniture is always a sound investment, as its designs are constantly being recycled and made “vintage.” You can even transform a current piece of furniture with a simple paint job or changing the knobs. There is lots of room for creativity here and no new purchases are necessary!

Design wall treatments that are ageless. Always be thinking futuristically and be wary of themes. If we’re being true to age flexibility, what might seem like a cute idea at the time—like an airplane or horse-back riding theme—will lose its appeal in two years. Trust us.

Click here to see the full article written by Doris Pearlman, MIRM, President of Possibilities for Design, an award-winning interior merchandising firm based in Denver, Colorado.


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