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Candice Olson's Princess-Perfect Little Girl's Room

See how to design a little girl's bedroom that is as enchanting as it is practical.

Seven-year-old Charlotte is a fantasy writer in the making. Her wonderful imagination has been fueled by her mother Christine’s romantic stories of faraway places and her dad Norbert’s many creations, including a castle downstairs where Charlotte and her brother, Adrian, can play.

But Charlotte longed for a space that would be all her own for dreaming and writing her “happily ever after” stories. Charlotte couldn’t even imagine herself as the princess she’d like to become in her sparsely furnished bedroom with hand-me-down furniture, poor lighting and windows that cause the room to be too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer. How could she possibly create in a space so lacking imagination?

Christine and Norbert wanted their daughter to have a bright and inspiring space to enjoy so they asked me to play fairy godmother and create a princess-perfect space for Charlotte to play, sleep, imagine and do her homework! So I waved my magic design wand to make the perfect room for her.

I wanted Charlotte’s room to be practical as well as whimsical — a room for an imaginative little girl now and for the bright young woman she’ll be a few years from now. My jumping-off point was vibrant floral wallpaper in tangerine and fuchsia with sparkles and self-adhesive flower appliqués. It’s a look that will please a young princess and be fun and funky for a teenager. The wallpaper provided the color palette for the whole room with white and marmalade paints for the remaining walls and rich fuchsia fabric for the most regal of finishes.

The bay windows of the turret-shaped room provided a natural home for a long custom-built desk. This workspace offers natural light and lots of storage. Like the wallpaper, the desk will continue to work well for Charlotte as she gets older and needs it for less princess-y, more practical purposes.

To make sure the imagination station was a comfortable place to spend creative time, we put a specially treated film on the windows and added thermal blinds to keep the winter cold and summer heat outside.

The draperies inspired another magical touch. The beautiful fuchsia fabric that frames the windows even more enchantingly creates another way for Charlotte to use the area. Soft sheer curtains combine with fuchsia side panels to create the effect of a stage where Charlotte can act out her stories. And, when she draws the curtains, her desk area is transformed into a cozy nook where she can hide away to dream up her next adventure.

Across the room, we completely transformed Charlotte’s existing bed, starting with a customized tangerine headboard tufted with fuchsia buttons. To make it truly princess perfect, we installed crown molding to support a valance and panels of the rich fuchsia fabric that flank the head of Charlotte’s bed. We hung a floral chandelier overhead that we had painted white for the crowning touch.

Near Charlotte’s small closet, we created a dressing area with a large wardrobe and a dresser with lots of storage for playing dress up today and storing her clothing for years to come.

A few finishing touches, including mirrors on the wall and a very cool area rug, and the room was complete.

Charlotte’s creativity was stifled in a dark, drafty room that didn’t live up to her imagination. But with some bold colors, storybook-inspired whimsical touches and an eye to the future, I created a play, work and sleep space that’s enchanting and practical. It’s a room where Charlotte can live “happily ever after.” Now that’s divine!

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