So…I’m taking a little sneak peak of our upcoming Issue 8 (our house!) onto Tulsa’s Great Day Green Country today with this post on decorating kids rooms! As a little reprieve from all of the holiday bustle, this is something to ponder and search on Pinterest when you’re tired of shopping online.
Out of the six Prairie Hive girls, I am one of the only two non-designers. I’m sure you’ve figured that out by now if you’ve been reading our blog posts. But I do care about design and I love working on my own house. Like the rest of my house, I’ve had to piece things together for our three kids’ rooms as time, budget and inspiration have allowed. There’s no insta-room here at the Wakefields. But that’s OK because I enjoy searching for just the right thing or, in many cases, finding the best way to incorporate and make use of what I already have.
Like every child, mine have MANY interests. It would be so easy to go all-out horses in my daughters room, or put up a car border and bedspread in my youngest son’s room and call it good. But as we all know, those sweet obsessions often change, so instead of picking a theme for their rooms, I’ve tried to create rooms that reflect their personalities and then incorporate the things they love into the space.
The most recent room that I’ve worked on is my oldest son’s room. For the longest time he knew he was destined to be a cowboy, so his room had become a small museum of cowboy collectibles. Pillows, picture frames, posters and even cowboy hats and ropes adorned his walls and shelves. But the inevitable happened and he got older. Not a lot- he’s not all grown up (none of my kids will ever be all grown-up – they promised). Nevertheless, it was time to move out some of the more childish decor and make room for something more tween appropriate. He talks about it less and doesn’t dress up everyday anymore (too bad, it was so cute!), but I’m pretty sure there’s still some cowboy in this kid. So we couldn’t let it go completely. We kept the ropes and hats, as they are real and may come in useful someday. We replaced some art with the Warhol Elvis print – still a cowboy influence, but much cooler and more grown-up. To save money (it’s a huge poster), I hung it with clips (about $2 apiece) instead of framing it. Other pictures that had been scattered about in cowboy frames were rehung in a photo collage in more modern frames. We added a reading chair from a local resale shop, used his same dresser and nightstand and currently we’re borrowing a full bed (a family member’s extra) to replace his twin. Not necessarily what I would pick if I was buying him all new furniture, but this is what I had to work with, and really, we’re liking it!
To pick colors, I started with a graphic navy, aqua and green throw pillow that I found at I.O. Metro. I pulled the green out of the pillow for the wall color. The navy and white striped duvet and shams are from Target and the quilt was already his. I found the fun bull head at Rivercity Trading Post in Jenks, OK for $35.
There’s definitely plenty left to be done in his room, but it’s a good start. It’s more streamlined and it suits his needs as he gets older and spends less time playing on the floor and more time sitting at his desk or reading in his chair.
My daughter is 8 and although she’s still pretty little, she won’t be forever. So I tried to make her room little girl with potential to grow up. I found these quilts at Anthropologie and fell in love with them, so they were my starting point for her room. Her rooms gets a lot of light, so I was able to pull the darker blue out of the quilts for the walls. Her beds came from an estate sale around the corner from my house ($230 for both!). I LOVE estate sales. They’re such a great source for unique, often inexpensive finds. If you can wait until everything goes 1/2 price, you’re bound to find some good bargains! And I love using “grown-up” furniture for kids. There’s no rule that only kid furniture can go in kid rooms. The rug is from Urban Outfitters. I found many a beautiful rug that would have looked great in her room, but little girls love their paint and markers, so I couldn’t justify an expensive rug for her (or any of the kids for that matter). Kids equal mess even if they’re careful. It’s not their fault and I want them to be kids!
This dresser used to be in a different room. It was old, missing handles, hard to open, etc. So when it became hers, it needed some freshening up. I just painted it, found some handles that (almost) matched the originals and painted them. And I used the yellow in other places around the room to help tie everything together- like the monogram on the shams in the first picture. I found the shams on sale at Pottery Barn and had them monogrammed at my local tailor shop.
And to corral all of her “treasures” that she comes home with, I’ve used decorative boxes. The boxes above are paper boxes from the Inviting Place. There’s no telling what’s in them, but they certainly help keep surfaces tidy!
Ok, on to the youngest member of our family. Or, as he likes to refer to himself – they newest member of the family. He’s 5. And his needs are very different than the other two- as are his interests. He is also probably our “hippest” child (don’t tell the others). But that may just be the nature of the third child. In any case, bright colors and a more modern look seem to suit him better. However, I can’t go all modern, so there’s a couple of old, worn-in pieces in his room to make me happy. His bed is an antique rope bed from a local antique store. It’s a little bit smaller than a standard twin bed and it’s very low, so it seemed more practical than investing in a toddler bed. He will be able to use this one for many years until he outgrows it. He started school this year and wanted a desk like his siblings, so we found his this inexpensive one at Ikea. His furry white rug is from Target. It is surprisingly very easy to wash, so that’s a huge plus!
The fabric on the canvases was intended for a different purpose, but I haven’t gotten around to those curtains or pillows yet, so instead I stapled it to inexpensive canvases for quick art. It adds color and interest and fills the space. Plus, it’s easy to change and the fabric can be repurposed.
Bins on the bookshelves keep all of the small toys organized. The other things are just a random mix of his toys, a trophy or two and baby things I can’t let go (including his mobile hanging from the ceiling that may still be there when he’s 18!).
The thing about decorating kids room is they have a lot of stuff and they love what they love, so if you want to have a somewhat decorated, cohesive space and not squelch their personalities, you have to meet somewhere in the middle. They won’t have toys everywhere forever and when those days are gone I know I, for one, will be sad. Try to use their interests and personalities as inspiration, but not pick just one as a theme; that way as they grow and change, so can their spaces.