Disposable children's decor that needs to be redone every few years has its place, but it can also be an unwise use of time and money. The keys to creating design with staying power are selecting a sophisticated color palette, avoiding expensive theme decor, and investing in pieces your kids will want to take with them when they leave the nest. Here are tips on how to use interior design foresight to create a room that will last your children through their adolescence and beyond.
Embrace Whimsy, But Avoid Cuteness
In order to keep your child’s room playful and light of heart, incorporate whimsical touches, such as animal or nature motifs or accessories, but avoid theme decor that is marketing based or too specific. Instead, acknowledge your children's interests in small ways that can be swapped out as their tastes evolve.
Use Sophisticated Color Choices
Opting for a grown-up color palette is one key to designing an adaptable room. Although paint can be updated with minimal cost and effort, select a palette that won’t say nursery once your kids are in grade school and beyond. Reds, oranges, and greens are cheerful but less stereotypically gender specific than light blue and baby pink, while a calming neutral backdrop can easily accommodate changing color accents in the form of toys, linens, and the ephemera of daily life.
Think Twice Before Buying Mini
Child-size pieces, such as miniature Louis Ghost chairs and vintage school desks, are charming additions to a play area, but keep in mind that those pieces have a shelf life and will either have to be stored or sold once your children outgrow them. If you’re looking for furniture with a bit more endurance, consider an adjustable-height table or a long floating shelf used as a desk that can be raised as needed.
Consider Multipurpose and Transformative Furniture
One of the most clever decisions you can make when decorating a baby or child’s room is to choose furniture that is built to last and to serve multiple functions, such as a crib that transforms into a bed or a space-saving desk-and-bed combination, such as those manufactured by Italian company Clei and available at Resource Furniture. If you use long-term thinking in outfitting a child’s room, a multipurpose piece can end up saving you money down the road.
Anticipate the Future
Well-designed investment pieces will follow your kids through their childhoods and teach them how to appreciate, care for, and live among beautiful things from an early age. If you think of key pieces as living heirlooms, it will seem less extravagant to purchase a vintage chandelier found on 1stdibs or an antique floor mirror that will give the room polish now and be useful as a dressing mirror when your kids reach their teenage years.
When designing a nursery, plan how the room will work when toys are traded for hobby and sports equipment and baby clothes turn into adolescent wardrobes. Adequate storage in the form of closets, shelving, or other built-ins will serve you later on. Utilize wall space to create a grouping of framed photos, canvases with their handprints at various ages, or a gallery wall of artwork that will encourage them to keep expressing themselves as they grow up.