Shared Space Decorating Ideas

Not sure how to make a small space multifunctional? City-dwellers Sarah Raskin and John Kerl turned their bonus room into a guest bedroom/baby nursery with some smart decorating ideas and storage solutions.

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This guest bedroom/nursery features a sophisticated color palette, perfect for both adult guests and baby Orly.

With the Murphy bed update completed, we turned our focus to enveloping the space with color. Since orange tones can be overwhelming, especially in spaces meant for slumber, it was important to use it sparingly. By introducing orange through accents, then covering the walls with a warm taupe, the orange would add just enough energy to the room without becoming too jarring or energetic. To introduce orange, I brought in the following: a bright, lacquered tangerine-toned storage console that also doubles as a changing table; orange crib bedding; custom window coverings with a botanical print in tangerine; muted orange and taupe throw pillows; bedding for the Murphy bed; and a custom piece of artwork featuring Sarah's original baby, rescue dog Scout. "I adopted Scout 12 years ago, well before I met John or had Orly. We love her so much. This design feature really shows off one of our values — to continue to prioritize Scout even as our family expands — in a very personal, if somewhat quirky, way! I love the juxtaposition of placing Scout's portrait directly above Orly's crib. It's like having my four-footed baby keep close watch over my baby girl," Sarah adds.

Now that the color was in place, it was time to work on proper pattern mixing, which I use in spaces to add a lived-in touch of layering. Pattern mixing is also an excellent idea for nurseries, since the recognition of contrast is a key element of early childhood development. At first, my team simply planned to add pattern by installing custom draperies, laying down a houndstooth area rug and refacing the Murphy bed; however, as we started to think about how much time Orly will spend in her crib over the next year, it made sense to integrate pattern into the ceiling. To do this in a style that was just as appropriate for overnight adult guests as it was for a baby, we decided to add a painted zigzag pattern in the same shades used everywhere else: bright tangerine, muted orange and taupe. To do this, the pattern was added directly to the solid taupe ceiling using a pencil, straight edge and tape measure, then taped off with painter's tape and painted with a small roller. Once each color was applied, the painter's tape was then repositioned directly on top of the recently painted zigzag, marking off the proper space for the next portion of the design. Altogether, the ceiling update took about seven hours of labor and three gallons of latex paint in a flat finish.

In order to see the color and pattern clearly, both during the day and at night, it was important to add proper lighting. First up was controlling the abundant natural light that floods in through a glass patio door and small window just a few feet from Orly's crib. By adding U/V-resistant blackout liner to the drapery panels, the room becomes completely darkened when it's time for Orly or any of Sarah and John's guests to sleep. When drawn open, the natural light can stream in, keeping the room bright and airy. To light the room once the sun goes down, we added overhead lighting with a two-tiered fabric drum shade as well as colorful, whimsical table lamps.

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