Designing a Grownup-Friendly Kids' Room

From the color scheme and use of space to the textural qualities and layered patterns, sisters Ava and Jane — and their parents — will enjoy this designer children's room for years to come.

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Interior designers often find children's rooms to be the most fun areas of the house to decorate, mostly because these spaces offer a chance to be a bit more playful with colors, patterns and concepts. Whereas adults' rooms are often focused on practicality, space planning and creating timeless appeal, children's spaces offer the chance to be a bit more bold and carefree. With the proper planning and attention to detail, homeowners can create designer-caliber children's rooms that are fun for children, yet appeal to adults' sense of practicality.

First up is creating a color scheme. While the most obvious choices for kids' rooms are blue for boys and pink for girls, there are a plethora of other combinations that are less gender-specific and more appealing over time. Parents can never go wrong using green in their child's room, whether for a son or a daughter. Darker greens such as olive or hunter can easily take on a more masculine appearance, depending on how they're paired. Muted greens and citrus-toned greens are often considered more feminine.

Another less-expected color for a child's room — one that parents may enjoy as much their children do — is orange. Bold versions of the color, such as red-orange or tangerine, pack a space with an abundance of energy. More earthy shades of orange, such as pumpkin or terra cotta, are excellent for rooms geared more toward relaxing or sleeping.

As important as color, space planning can effectively maximize both the design and utility of a child's room. Spatially, the modest dimensions of twin beds, which measure only 38 by 75 inches, make them an ideal choice for standard-sized children's rooms, which average approximately 10 by 12 feet. To open up the room and allow open playspace in the center, consider placing the bed sideways, parallel to the wall. This daybed-style layout frees up valuable square footage so young children can enjoy the center of the room as a play area. As children reach their tween or teen years, this layout allows the bed to double as a lounge area, perfect for hanging out with friends.

In addition to designating an area of the room for sleeping, it's wise to incorporate a seating space and a separate homework station. With attention to scale and proportion, this can be achieved easily without cluttering the room spatially or decoratively. Armless chairs take up less visual space than armchairs, plus they offer comfortable seating for when friends or relatives visit. They also work well as a comfortable spot to read.

Homework stations need not be elaborate. The basics — a chair, desk and lamp — will do the trick. To keep costs low, consider repurposing items from other areas of the house. For example, console tables work very well. They're often the same height as a desk (30 inches) and are slightly more shallow, with an average depth of 18 inches rather than the standard desk depth of 24 to 30 inches. Should the console table lack proper space for a desk lamp, consider using a floor lamp to add overhead light.

A great example of a designer children's room that is likely to be as appealing to parents as kids is this 12- by 14-foot tween girls' bedroom in Sherman Oaks, Calif. From the color scheme and use of space to the textural qualities and layered patterns, sisters Ava and Jane — and their parents — will enjoy this room's design for years to come.

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