Courtney Warren is a Texas-based interior designer whose work has been featured in Real Simple, Better Homes & Gardens, Good Housekeeping, Apartment Therapy, and Today.com. She is a frequent consultant on Fox 4 TV’s Good Day program in Dallas, was ranked in the top 3 percent of interior designers in the US by Houzz.com, and starred in the Dallas episode of TLC’sFour Houses. She delights in helping overwhelmed clients create beautiful spaces—and will never turn down a warm chocolate chip cookie or Diet Dr Pepper.
You’ve seen it. You’ve probably lived it.
The kids’ stuff is taking over.
From the time you unpacked those first baby shower gifts, children’s items began to Eat. Your. House.
Life with kids is an amazing adventure. They’re not just mini adults–they have specific needs, and homes with kids necessarily reflect that. While our children are Priority #1, can our homes be kid-friendly without sacrificing every last square foot to their stuff? I vote yes.
For example, my clients decided that the best use of two bedrooms was to turn one into a shared bedroom for their daughters and the other into a designated play space for them. The girls love the cheery turquoise and magenta palette, the chiffon-draped dollhouse beds, and the sweet accessories that reflect their love for horses.
When you’re designing kid spaces, get the most bang for your buck by choosing a look that will grow with the kids. Get their input, then implement their preferences with tastefulness and the long view.
The bedroom’s utterly magical flower wall was a huge hit. (Yes, do include whimsical elements. Just because.)
As mentioned, the upside to a shared bedroom is–a whole playspace just for the girls, featuring a bold floral wallpaper and a “Sisters” marquee sign.
A pink teepee and a dollhouse offer lots of opportunity for imaginative play. The storage bench and console help corral the girls’ toys (Read: NOT scattered through every room of the house).
All very well, you say, but what if kids’ activities must be incorporated in found spaces around my home? Creativity is the key!
Capture a space beneath the stairs for a snug kid hideout and playroom. A light fixture, a bit of bright wallpaper or paint, bright rug, pint-sized furniture, and storage for toys or art supplies is all that’s needed to put this often-overlooked spot to good use. Guests coming over? Toss toys in and shut the door!
Capitalizing on vertical space can also be the answer: a loft bed with play space below. A ceiling-hung basket chair. A work/play table that folds down from the wall.
Another client wanted a ballet studio for their daughter, but wondered where to fit it in. We found space on an empty wall and dreamed up the brick accent to give the “studio” that old-school look. Just add supersize mirror and barre–done.
Another unused wall was reimagined as a homework station, with a space-saving ledge desk made from a wood plank and iron brackets. Chalkboards keep assignments and reminders handy. After homework is done, the area is great for crafts or Legos. A soft area rug under foot keeps things cozy and cheerful.
If space is truly at a premium, you may be able to carve a child’s play or schoolwork area in one corner of the living room. Storage is essential for keeping All The Things contained in the area. Existing built-ins can be commandeered, or use wall-hugging cubbies and baskets–or a cart you can roll into a closet when the whole family is using the room.
Be inspired to create a home that’s workable–and fun–for the whole family.