Kids Play

Creating a relaxing retreat for your kids requires patience, negotiation and an eye for style.

Vail Design at Altitude column
By Yvonne Jacobs

Just as your home is your haven, your kids’ rooms are their place to retreat, relax, unwind and feel totally at home. That said, designing for kids is a bit different than designing the rest of your home. After all, kids have opinions and specific likes and dislikes – and they don’t always coincide with your aesthetic. That doesn’t mean you don’t have sway in what the kids’ rooms look like, but it takes a little negotiating to come to a conclusion you both love.

I am past the baby stage in my house and am working with a teen’s and a tween’s decorating style. This is a fun stage because they are starting to develop their own tastes, likes and dislikes. It’s also a challenging stage because their tastes may differ vastly from mine – and the look of rest of our home! Here are a few tips I’ve learned (and am still learning) to keep the peace while designing for the kids.

First off – breathe – this too is just a phase. Let your kids be expressive in their rooms. Ask them what they like, pay attention to colors and styles they seem drawn to, but set guidelines and help guide them. I love bringing home finds from our trips and working them into my kids’ rooms. I bought a special piece of artwork in Sayulita, knowing it would go in my son’s room. However, I knew he had to come to that conclusion on his ‘own’.

I took my time and convinced him how cool it was, and how it would fit in with his room. He loves it, I love it and everyone is happy. This one was a win. However, I am slowly learning what they will and will not like. Just because I am a designer doesn’t mean my design ideas always work: I have had a few epic failures that have ended up at the thrifty shop.

Beyond décor, there are easy ways to help make a room feely homey while helping your kids keep it tidy. Do you have a neat freak or a hoarder who keeps every little ‘special’ item? Good storage is the solution. Built-ins are a great option because you can customize them for your kids. If you need more flexibility or if you aren’t ready to commit to a built-in, check out the ideas from Ikea. You can customize it so it has a true high-end look for a fraction of the price. Bring in some color and have fun with this project! It doesn’t have to be as serious as the rest of your home. Let your kids’ personality shine here – who knows, they may even start putting their clothes away on their own.

Designing and decorating your kids’ rooms is the perfect opportunity to work together and have fun. Let their personality shine through as you guide them. You’ll all be happy with the end result.


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