Children’s Rooms Designed to Grow Along with Them

March 27, 2018

Clever designers fashion kids’ bedrooms that evolve with a child’s progress from toddler to teen.

Text by Marni Elyse Katz

First-time parents might tend to indulge in over-the-top nurseries, but by the time the little tyke is a toddler they want the room, or at least its major elements, to take him or her through the teenage years. For a designer, this might mean choosing a neutral rug or all-white furniture that will work as favorite colors come and go. Wallpaper offers bang for the buck, making a statement and providing a custom feel. As with any room, accessories make the space, allowing designers, and later kids themselves, to get pretty much any look they currently crave. Interior designer Heather Wells says, “A cute room that transitions from little kid, to tween, to teen is the goal. A space that talks to her style, but in an economical way—neutral enough so the big pieces can survive redecoration.”

The Mini Bohemian
When Jamie Keskin’s clients moved to a new home in Bedford, Massachusetts, it was the ideal moment to transition their little girl to a big-girl bed. Keskin designed around a vintage-style Surya rug with which she had long been enamored. “It’s a look she can grow into,” Keskin says, imagining the toddler sticking with it through her teenage years, adding, “She could even bring it to her first apartment.” Anchoring the room with a Jenny Lind bed dressed in a duvet block-printed with pink elephants and paisley left plenty of space for the retro settee perfect for story time. A mango-wood elephant side table, pompom-edged drapery, and seagrass baskets add texture and bohemian flair.

Interior design: Jamie Keskin
Photography: Kyle Caldwell

The Dreamer
With two older brothers and a propensity for tea parties, this preschooler needed a space of her own for sleeping and playing. Inspired by the mother’s vintage doll collection, Milton, Massachusetts-based interior designer Elizabeth Miller opted for a pale blush palette accented with watery blues. Princess-like touches, including an illuminated heart, infuse the room with dreamy appeal. “The decorations bring in light, glimmer, and fun,” Miller says. The daybed, framed by polished-nickel sconces, stands against
a focal wall covered in Schumacher Imperial Trellis II paper that pops, but quietly.
Dress-up costumes hang on bow hooks beside the full-length mirror. And, even with a table (perfect for puzzles and tea parties), there’s plenty of play space on the floor.

Interior design: Elizabeth Miller, E.R. Miller Design
Photography: Jessica Delaney

Teen Spirit
Aiming to woo her daughter to embrace the family’s new Chestnut Hill home, the mother empowered her to work closely with Wellesley-based interior designer Andra Birkerts. The room functions as much as a study and lounging space as somewhere to sleep with its dusty rose niches, arched openings, asymmetric cabinetry, and other fanciful touches. Birkerts says, “We used texture, curvy lines, and natural elements to create a cozy haven.” A huge dandelion wall sticker, and rugs and bedding with floral motifs combined with copper chains and Missoni fringe window treatments lend a modern-day flower-child feel. Dark accents, including deep teal window frames, keep the design grounded, while squirrel wall hooks and seriously shaggy pillows keep it playful.

Interior design: Andra Birkerts, Andra Birkerts Design
Photography: Meredith Thompson

The Bold Baby
Who’s afraid of color and pattern? Not these folks. Boston-based interior designer Kristine Mullaney says of her Wellesley, Massachusetts, client, “She knows what she likes, and it’s bold!” Starting with fresh blueberry-colored zigzag wallpaper, to which she custom-matched paint for the room’s trim, Mullaney aimed for a statement crib in anything but white. Finding an economical metal model in acid green cemented the color scheme. While the custom Roman shade is accented with trim from Samuel & Sons, Mullaney affixed trim from a five-and-dime store to a readymade dust ruffle. For a sophisticated finish, she hung a bunny painting by artist Hunt Slonem from DTR Modern Galleries over the crib.

Interior design: Kristine Mullaney
Photography: Michael J. Lee

The Little Traveler
Tasked with transforming a Back Bay townhouse while the homeowners, a young family of five, traveled around the world, Boston-based interior designer Heather Wells implemented a globally inspired scheme for the tween daughter. Morocco-meets-Palm Beach–style turquoise wallpaper by Quadrille lends a custom feel, as does the pyramid-patterned Roman shade. Wells added white lacquer furniture for longevity to the lively backdrop, knowing it can survive redecoration. Mismatched rattan mirrors and a scalloped capiz-shell pendant hint at faraway lands, while framed maps bring the travel theme home. Finally, coral table lamps provide a pop of color. Wells says, “The girl is a mini me of her mom, so she wanted to mimic her bohemian style, but the color pairing is all her own.”

Interior design: Heather Wells
Photography: Sabrina Baloun

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