If your kids' idea of a clean room is everything piled in the corner, it's time for a storage-solution intervention. Check out these designer spaces that use fresh ideas to create clutter-free kid spaces.
Dresser Delight: Storage Fit for a Queen
Transitioning from a crib to a big bed can be a tough adjustment for any kid, but it's not exactly a Zen moment for parents either: A little one’s newfound nighttime freedom (and the no-longer-a-baby-but-not-yet-a-kid gear and toy accumulation) can result in clutter chaos that defies even the best-organized nursery. Decorator Jeanne Benner of Morristown, N.J.-based Greenbaum Interiors handled the emotional and organizational challenges of this toddler transition by creating a storage-filled fantasy room. The clients wanted space for their daughter’s clothes, toys, books and bed, but they also wanted to maintain floor space for a play area. Because the child was too young for a loft, she designed a bed with a dresser-drawer-filled base for storage. A removable staircase and a detachable safety bar (not shown) ensure the small client's safe sleep.
Triple Play: Three Beds in the Space of One
This beachy bedroom thrives on smart use of space and small surprises. Designed by award-winning interior and furniture designer Patricia Davis Brown, the cabinetry and beds flow seamlessly into one another without feeling forced or cramped. The trundle bed rolls away when not in use, and Brown says the kids love to slide down from the safety-railed loft bed. For the queen bed, Brown designed a footboard that doubles as an entertainment center. It stores games, books and toys and can even accommodate a television or computer when the beds aren't in use.
Conquering Wasted Space: A Newborn's Classy Closet
A baby's closet is usually a classic example of wasted space. Clothes are small and short so there's ample room for storage, but it's usually a mess of clutter because the area isn't organized for anything other than hanging clothes. Conquer the clutter with containers and smart shelving, like this adjustable Elfa shelf-and-rod closet system from The Container Store. The hanging mesh drawers offer classic dresser utility with added visibility, and the fabric bins are a great place to hide baby powders, creams and diapers.
Controlling Chaos: A Tidy Teen Study Center
Adult work stations can be messy enough, but when you add in the teen desire to express oneself in every area of the room, photos, notes, certificates and keepsakes can overwhelm a study space. Fortunately, these wall rails from PB Teen offer the best of both worlds: Your social butterfly can keep her photos and keepsakes pinned up, but thanks to the slim design, they won't take over the wall. Hide smaller clutter-prone items away in pouches that hang on the hook rail.
High Society: A Sophisticated Loft Space
The idea of elevating a bed to gain storage below is nothing new, but few have such high expectations of their child's loft design as did this client, who hired Patricia Davis Brown to create storage and style in a 10'x10' bedroom. Brown not only managed to incorporate a double dresser, a media center, a shelving system and a study space under one queen-size loft bed; she also did it with fit and finish in mind. The 11-year-old boy needed a room that would work now and grow with him, so Brown ditched the little-kid look and gave him a style that reflected his growing-up tastes.
Presto (Diaper) Change-O: The Disappearing Changing Table
The changing table: It's the source of much debate among parents. Is it really necessary? If I don't have one, where will I store diapering supplies? Interior designer Patricia Davis Brown has an answer with her innovative changing table armoire. The changing table with pad and medicine cabinet-like shelving stores powders, creams and wipes, but it has a secret identity: It's also a chalkboard and play area for the older kids. Remove the pad and lift up the base to reveal the chalkboard on the back side. With the convenient wall hooks, small toddler-sized shelving and comfy chair for late-night cuddles, this tiny spot in the room enjoys multiple seamless identities.
Tea for Two: Small Splashes of Storage (and Style)
Sometimes smart storage is small storage. That was certainly the case in this shared bedroom, decorated by L.A.-based interior designer Sarah Barnard for two young sisters. Large wall units would have crowded the space and overpowered the sweetly subtle design Barnard created for the girls, so instead she added “islands” of storage. Her favorite: the green tea table in the corner. Barnard knew the shape, open shelving and rotating base were perfect for this space, but the piece only came in a stiff mahogany finish. She ordered it anyway, and customized it using an eco-friendly, low-VOC paint from Dunn Edwards. The tiny table went from blah to blissful, and works beautifully not just for tea time, but for anytime.
Slip and Hide: Dressing Up Simple Tables
After interior organizer and home stylist Noelle Micek discovered her kid clients' favorite toys were their tools, she created a customized table apron to house their beloved screwdrivers, hammers and pliers. Now not only is it easier for the boys to find their tools, their special "table tool belt" keeps them motivated to put them back when they're done. Plus, she created washable slipcovers to protect the chairs from errant paint and markers.
All-Star Storage: Sport-acular Closet Organization
New York apartments aren't exactly known for their ample storage space, but interior decorator and professional organizer Dawn Falcone hit a home run for this active family who needed a place to store their three active kids' sports equipment. Determined to use every inch of space, Falcone chose adjustable shelving and added a drawer unit on rollers for smaller items like gloves, wrist bands and protective padding. She finished the space with hooks for sweatshirts, tennis rackets and caps.
Not-So-Old School: Rockin' the Lockers
One school's trash is a decorator's treasure. At least that was the case when Huntsville, Ala.-based interior decorator and organizer Jennifer Mullin saved these lockers from the wrecking ball. She repurposed them into customized toy storage for a sports-themed boys' bedroom. Ditching the institutional brown color, she painted them bright blue and added shelving. There's even a top-secret unit kept behind lock and key for priceless treasures.
Good Golly, Miss Dolly! Controlling Kid Collections
It could be rocks, model cars, snow globes, porcelain dolls or giraffes — you never can tell what a child will decide to collect. But when a whimsical interest becomes a bona-fide collection, it’s time to get serious about storage. At least that’s what the parents of this doll devotee decided. Because her collection involved not just the dolls, but also their accessories (of varied shapes and sizes), they didn’t think regular shelving was the answer. Their creative solution? They called Maria Kapourelos, senior designer for Closets by Design’s southeastern Pennsylvania location. Kapourelos designed a system that worked for the current doll collection, but which, as the girl gets older, can also be used as clothing storage, display shelving or a media cabinet.