I feel like we’ve been reaching a flurry of milestones with my littles over the past few weeks. First day of Kindergarten, first little league baseball game, first loose tooth, and the list goes on. I’ve suddenly realized that it’s time to accept that my littles aren’t so little anymore and they truly are growing up. I’ve been wanting to update their room for a while now and with the change of season and their new found big-kid sensibilities, I thought there was no better time to dabble in a fresh anti-toddler design.
I’ve designed a few spaces and with each one it has been trial and error but if there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s to let go of any insecurities, forget the so-called design rules and go with your gut. Starting with a kid’s space is also fairly risk-free as you can play with colors, texture, and styles and your “customer” is usually pretty forgiving if things aren’t as perfect as you had planned.
Choosing a color scheme is helpful in narrowing down choices when you are trying to make purchases and it also helps to make your space look cohesive. We chose black and gray as some key elements like our beds and art were already part of the space and I could easily add pops of color with accessories. I also suggest keeping your space personal. Incorporate found treasures from your travels, family heirlooms and things that aren’t specifically made for kids. You’ll create a more meaningful space that has personality and tells a story about you and your family.
Here are 5 ways to freshen up your kids’ room quickly and cost effectively:
The beds are the focal point in my kids’ room because there isn’t much space to highlight anything else. Luckily, when we transitioned out of cribs, I chose to go with twin beds that my kids would grow into and skipped over the toddler bed (although I still lust after these adorably tiny Jenny Lind beds!). I had my kids pick out new sheets from the Land of Nod website since they’re currently my favorite resource for all things decor for my Littles and we couldn’t be happier with the Builder's Sheet Set and the Gold Dot Sheet Set. I then decided on a neutral duvet cover that would allow our accessories and favorite stuffed animals to stand out.
I confess, I have a mild obsession with throw pillows. They’re one of the easiest ways to change the look of a space and gives you the ability to try out new colors or patterns with relatively low commitment. I’ve always loved the Jonathan Adler pillows and like incorporating items that aren’t made specifically for kids to add a touch of sophistication to the space. I’m also always on the hunt for unique and whimsical pieces from local artists and I fell in love with these eyeball pillows from Natti Natti at a recent pop-up shop in Brooklyn. I kept my beloved Atsuyo et Akiko pillows as they just make me happy and the French sentiments feel like a touch of my roots in Canada.
When I decorated the kids’ nursery I had used pieces found on Etsy which were inexpensive and unique. Now that the kids are older I thought it was time to freshen up their walls as well. We started with some street art that we found outside the Whitney Museum here in New York and I allowed my kids to pick out the ones they liked best - a cat for my daughter and water towers for my son. We then added art that we had been collecting over the years and created a gallery wall that is a little more sophisticated yet still incorporates some playful elements. A friend created a painting of a cactus to remind us of our vacation home in Palm Springs and she also gifted us with an amazing illustration of the High Line (a favorite family hangout) and a foil stamped map of the Upper West Side where we live.
Additionally, I updated the wall behind the kids’ beds with wall decals that were incredibly easy to apply and added another layer to an otherwise boring blank wall. I absolutely LOVE wallpaper but not only do we rent our apartment, an accent wall can be pretty cost prohibitive and these star decals provide a very similar effect.
Of course, you can always repaint with a low-Voc paint. Whether it's a new color or just a fresh coat, paint can make a world of difference. For our local friends, we recommend Tribeca Painters, high-end specialists that service Manhattan and Brooklyn. Request a free quote here.
Our family loves to travel and we’ve picked up a few items over the years that we have incorporated into our space. My daughter went through a period of having scary dreams and I bought a handmade dream catcher on a trip to Venice Beach and instead of hanging it by itself, I included it in the gallery wall which adds some texture and a pop of color.
When I was pregnant with the twins we traveled to Argentina and I found some animal heads that were made by local artisans. I love how playful these pieces are and it makes me happy to remember this special time when my twins were just a little bump in my belly. Take a look around your home and see what pieces you may have that can be incorporated into your kids’ room. It might be the most unexpected pieces that make the most impact.
One word… purge. We had so many stuffed animals and bits and pieces of toys that had seen better days. I set aside an hour one afternoon and we literally dumped everything into a pile in the middle of the room. We sorted piece by piece into piles to keep, toss and donate. Luckily we live in a building with a ton of kids so we were able to gift items that my kids had outgrown to people we know but you can also donate the toys they’ve outgrown to local shelters or Goodwill.
I’m really happy with how the room turned out and I think the kids are too. They are proud that they had a hand in choosing some of the decor and the room feels fresher and just a tad more grown up - perfect for my “little big kids”.
Samples provided by Land of Nod. Paid referral by Tribeca Painters.