By Megan Eggemeier
In the early 2000s, I was in high school. At that time, if asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have answered very certainly — an interior designer. I always had an urge to rearrange the furniture in my bedroom and change the whole “theme,” from a very young age.
I blame my mother who has always done the same. If anyone wants a new rug or couch, just wait a few months because my mom definitely has a like-new one she will give you when the urge to redecorate strikes!
Now, knowing that tidbit about the woman who raised me, it will make sense to know that she actually did indulge my desire to redecorate my bedroom as a kid quite a few times. From the light lavender walls and Barney the Dinosaur bedding when I was 5 years old, to darker purple and yellow plaid and floral (because they’re complimentary colors, 8 year old Megan had just learned), to the neon pink walls, beads in the door frame and floor pillows I insisted upon when I was 15 years old. My mom allowed me to (mostly) take the driver’s seat when it came to decorating and redecorating my bedroom.
Allowing me to create spaces I loved at home, not only prepared me to create warm and inviting spaces in my current home as an adult, but as a child it encouraged me to take pride in my space. Designing spaces that are aesthetically pleasing, organized and fun and functional can reduce stress and enhance the enjoyment of our daily lives. Getting your kids involved in the design process can be a wonderful bonding and learning experience for them. Whether that idea sounds delightful or daunting, I have some tips that may help along the way.
The first step to decorating a new space, or redecorating a current space, is envisioning the aesthetic aspect of the room. As my family and I prepared to move into our new home, I asked our oldest son, Jack — who was 4 years old at the time — what kind of bedroom he wanted. I showed him some bedrooms on the Pottery Barn Kids website and asked him which room he liked best.
Now, I wasn’t prepared to shell out the cash necessary for a Pottery Barn bedroom, but looking at brands you like, even if products are higher priced than your ideal budget, is a great place to start and gather inspiration. When Jack chose the sports themed room, I began to recreate the Pottery Barn room with as many Amazon duplicates for a fraction of the cost. If you do not have a brand you know you love, make Pinterest your new best friend! When something catches your eye, begin to shop around for each element — bedding, wall art, window treatments and furniture pieces.
The room can be a work in progress. Add elements as you find them. Some of the best things can be found second-hand or at thrift stores so don’t forget about those options! One of my favorite elements of Jack’s room are the multi-colored locker-style drawers, which were purchased from a friend who posted it for sale on Facebook.
Aesthetic design tip: Use peel and stick wall decals to create interest in a space by doing an accent wall or an accent area, like my good friend Kristina (she was there for all the phases of my redecorated childhood bedroom) did in her daughter, Blakely’s room. Kristina used Sherwin Williams Bravo Blue to repaint the walls and wanted a contrast in the window dormer area. She chose pink polka-dot wall decals to tie together the blues and pinks of the bedding she chose. The wall decals helped to complete Blakely’s adorable new desk nook area! This was a surprise for Blakely and she loves it.
Organization is important to the design of any space, especially a kids’ space. As any parent knows, kids have a way of taking over the whole home! Many times we make an effort to create bedrooms and playrooms our children will love and they end up spending most of their time in the living room or wherever the adults are.
After moving into our new home, I thought I wanted no sign of children in our main living area. But I changed my mind, as I remembered this is their home too and I want them to enjoy all of our spaces just as much as I do. Anyone who stops by our house during the week, will find toys scattered across our entire main living area. I’ve learned to embrace that. After all, it’s a sign of the fun they’re having and it’s something that comes with the young age they are in this fleeting moment. For them, the accessible toys are what makes our house a home they enjoy more than any other place and that is worth a lot!
The solution I have found is to use furniture pieces that I love for storing their toys when guests visit or when I’d like a clean space in which to relax after they’ve gone to bed. The key is to find, not pieces designed specifically for toy storage, but instead an aesthetically pleasing piece that can function as toy storage.
I am using a television stand with cabinets, not as a television stand, but as a decorative piece and for storage of books, craft supplies and puzzles. Storage benches/ottomans, built-in cabinets, or even dish cabinets, are great solutions for toy storage in living areas. It allows us design-conscious parents to relax a little, as the kids spread toys all over the house, to know there is a place to quickly hide the toys away when it’s time to transform the area to an adult space.
In addition to designing an organized space, kid spaces should be fun and functional. Getting children involved in the design of their playroom or bedroom may result in some really fun and imaginative, yet hard to achieve ideas. Treehouses, slides and castles are not out of the realm of possibilities in a child’s mind! Unless you have your own HGTV show, you’re probably not in possession of the skillset, resources or time necessary to create such a space.
However, you can work smarter, like my friend Kristina did in her younger daughter, Harlan’s room. She found a loft bed with a slide that really puts the fun in functional! Harlan can slide right down into her reading nook. Not only is a loft bed a space-saving feature, but it creates an excellent area for accessible storage, creating a cozy space where a child will love to spend time.
Even if interior design does not come naturally, it is possible to create aesthetically pleasing, organized and fun and functional spaces for children in your home. Getting the kids involved by allowing them to browse styles and choose what they like will give them ownership in their spaces. Theoretically that should lead them to keeping their spaces clean, but who am I kidding? That would require more than the design tips I can offer!
Megan Eggemeier is a wife, mom, teacher and realtor. She is married to Patrick Eggemeier. They live in Frankfort with their three boys, Jack, Carson and AJ. When she’s not teaching, selling houses or playing with her kids, she loves to read, cook and travel. Eggemeier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.