Library in the CloudsInspired by the Dr. Seuss book Oh, the Places You'll Go, designer Felicity Chapman, of I.S. Design in Los Altos, Calif., designed this room for smarts and whimsy.
As parents of little bookworms know, book collections often outgrow their bookshelves. Chapman not only gave the little literati room to grow her collection, but she also added some fun and useful touches: The lower cabinets store toys in easy-to-remove baskets and the inner panels have magnetic paint. "The doors are functional for storage, but they are also great places to practice spelling and to display [artwork]," Chapman says.
The oversized floor pillows and window seat create cozy reading nooks where a child can dive solo into her favorite story or cuddle up with a parent for some quality reading time.
Under the SeaYour little marine enthusiast will treasure this under-the-sea adventure room, complete with a gnarly surfing headboard and a treasure-chest bed. But the children's room mural is the star of the show in this water wonderland. "When a child walks in the room and shuts his door, he feels, literally, like he's underwater," says designer Becky Najafi, of the De Atelier Design Group.
The underwater party on the walls did create a dilemma, however: The swarm of beautiful oceanic creatures wash a wave of watery authenticity over the space, but leave little room for bookcases or large pieces of furniture. Najafi solved the storage problem by finding a treasure of a captain's bed for this undersea adventure, which keeps a wealth of booty hidden inside.
Come Sail AwayDock your little captain in this cool-breeze nautical room, where he or she can sail away anytime into dreamland. From Pottery Barn Kids, the boat bed anchors the room, but accessories, such as the nautical flags and architectural sailboat sketches, will drive learning and curiosity about sailing, navigation and seaside communications.
While it's clear that living in this sailboat sanctuary will thrill the seafaring soul, boosting the educational aspect of the room is as easy as A, B, C. Decorate with the colorful and geometrically interesting nautical flag alphabet, and make it a breeze to combine a child's oceanic interests with reading and codes.
Beyond BlastoffAmateur astronauts will be over-the-moon for this outer space theme room by designer Diane Bedford, owner of Bridge Design Studio, in Pasadena, Calif. From the meteorite beanbags to the starry fiberoptic ceiling, no detail was overlooked in this planetary paradise. Another key to the full effect of this rocky room: The muralist painted not only the walls, but also the room-darkening shades on the window and door. The planetary pillows sport custom paint jobs, as well.
But while the room's theme dwells in the dark depths of outer space, Bedford didn't want the entire area to descend into darkness. A wall of white cabinets not only brightens the room, but also adds storage space. While the cabinets don't scream uncharted universe, they do provide a much-needed organization area in this spacey space.
All the elements work together to create the out-of-this-world effect, but for Bedford the ceiling — with its sparking fiberoptic show — highlights the entire room. "That was the inspiration for the whole design," she says.
Wild, Wild WestWow your child with this Wild West bungalow, complete with a teepee canopy. This room, featured at PoshTots, has neutral walls to showcase the big sky-toned accessories like Americana art reproductions and a Western-style chair.
Parents can decorate and educate by displaying a series of maps showing the nation's acquisition of the Western states, and take the opportunity to talk with older children about the plight of the Native Americans during the Western movement. Native American symbols on the teepee can be carried as a theme throughout the room, as well: paint them as a border or hang artistic representations as stand-alone art pieces.
If a child's love of the Old West is more about mares and less about manifest destiny, saddle up the room with horseback riding accessories. An equine-loving child will have a galloping good time decorating with horseshoes, cowboy boots or even a saddle chair. Brighten up the room with colorful bandana-patterned lamp shades or sheets to add a burst of color while staying true to the horse-loving theme.
Fantasy Fairyland"This room is all about imagination and fantasy," says designer Becky Najafi, of the De Atelier Design Group. With its fun femininity, it's sure to delight any little girl who loves stories of faraway lands and happy endings.
But the marriage of practicality with whimsy isn't just a dream here. The daybed has a trundle for sleepovers, and an opposite wall features a built-in desk area. The mural on the walls depicts a fairy-tale land, complete with glitter-glazed paints and a personalized portrait of the little girl who lives in the room. The brightly colored geometric print on the bedspread and fabulously frou-frou canopy set the stage for a little girl's imagination.
Naturally GrownFor pint-sized naturalists, the world is one big mystery. Just like plants, giving little earth enthusiasts the right environment will allow them to bloom and grow. This kids' room theme, from Pottery Barn Kids, is fertile ground for little gardeners and nature lovers.
The combination of chalkboard, pegboard and corkboard wall modules allows children to keep organized and jot down ideas or artistic inspirations while also giving them a place to display plant charts, insect photos or their own creative creatures. On the floor, the Schoolhouse Storage Cubbies feature storage solutions for budding brains. Keeping seeds, nature guides and bug books organized will become natural with drawers as well as a wide-open shelf. Adding a window box where children can cultivate plants will delight growing gardeners, so an attractive all-weather rug underneath the dirt-filled delights may be a bright idea.
Brainy BuildersPlay is the building block of childhood learning, and this romper room, collaboratively designed by Lena Seow, Vrinda Khanna and Suzan Wines of I-Beam Design, is an architecturally inclined child's wonderland. LEGO boards cover a wall of this room, from floor to ceiling. "Children can build with or against gravity," says Wines, adding that the child's ability to impact the basic architecture of the play area by building on the wall is a large part of the appeal. "Everything a child builds becomes an integral part of the play-space architecture until a new construction is made," she says.
The room also features small cube-shaped pillows, adding to the building adventure. "Kids can build their own environments to play in and on," Wines says.
For older children who might not enjoy primary-colored LEGO walls but who have a more mature understanding of design, find old blueprints and frame them for a sophisticated architectural environment.
Around the WorldThe earth is a very big place, and your child will experience the wonders of the world while tucked away in this global room from PoshTots. Maps on the walls and as furniture embellishments will give your child visions of wide open spaces beyond their home, while the compass rose mosaic theme on the furniture carries the cartography theme across the room. Parents can explore the learning power of this theme further by decorating the walls with large maps of different continents, or by painting a directionally accurate compass on the ceiling.
Pint-Sized PicassoCrayon marks adorning the coffee table and paint splatters on the kitchen floor may be the first signs of a budding artist in the home, but as children grow older and want to channel their artistic endeavors into less destructive and more wall-worthy productions, finding a way to integrate art into their space can be a challenge.
This room, from The Land of Nod, manages to present appealing canvases without room chaos. An easel in the corner allows little painters to watercolor in a dedicated space, containing any mess. The art table with a built-in paper roll encourages a little scribbler to indulge his or her latest artistic aspiration, while a cable attached to the window becomes not only a gallery for fine art, but also serves as a drying area for wet projects.
For parents who have more wall space than floor area, chalkboard and magnetic paint available at home improvement stores will give your pint-sized Picasso a creative canvas without hogging precious square footage. An easy-to-clean wood laminate floor is a great idea in any child's room, but in an artist's bungalow its utility is almost a necessity. Choose a high traffic-rated floor and buy extra in case a replacement panel is needed.