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6 Key Elements for a Great Child’s Bedroom (+ Woodland Fairy Ideas)

My four-year old daughter’s room is literally the center of our home. When you drive up it is the big-windowed bump-out with vaulted ceilings that sits over our porch. It’s a lovely space that would have been considered for our master if we hadn’t put on a new master suite/kitchen addition. Truth be told, my (older) son has a smaller, slightly less charming room down the hall. I’ve been told by many a seasoned parent of both genders that he’ll most likely never notice. So far so good. Sshhhh!

Here’s a little tour of the space and things you should consider when you’re designing your child’s room:

  • Room Structure, focal point(s) and real life function. We were lucky in this regard. As you enter from the hallway, the focal point is the big window I mentioned as well as a big wall space that’s perfect for the bed. Arranging well functioning mini zones in the rest of the room was easy after deciding bed placement. Under the window is a bookcase and next to it is a reading chair. Opposite the window wall is the are I set up a play zone, and the wall opposite the bed has charming original built ins. While most of the structural components of the room are original to the home (built in 1937), we did discover during a major remodeling project that we had 6 feet of clearance to vault the ceilings. This was a change order we weren’t wild about adding onto our remodel bill, but I am so glad we did. An old brass chandelier found in the original kitchen was spruced up with some modern black paint and now highlights the beautiful high ceilings.

NQM Side Note: when change orders pop up, I’ve learned the hard way over years of remodeling that if you have a contractor working on your property (and walls, floors, etc. are already opened up) do as much as you feasibly can. Pushing parts of a remodel out a few years might sound like the solution to your reno-fatigue, but things will most likely get more expensive, contractors will once again need to get booked, and new permits may need to be secured. Consider cutting other things off your starting project list if they are the types of things that could be done as a one off reno task later on.

  • Inspiration. Starting off with some key piece of inspiration is a super easy way to begin interior design. It can be most anything – a pillow, bedding, a beloved toy or even a photo from your favorite magazine. Just be sure it sets the tone and mood you want and that it’s not overly trendy – you don’t want to tire of it quickly. My design inspiration came from the “Oh Deer” canvas wall print shown above by Eli Halpin, purchased at Land of Nod (now Crate & Kids). Sadly, this was no longer available on their site, but Eli’s whimsical forest art is still on the market and easily found online. We live by a forest with deer constantly on our property, which isn’t always as enchanting as it seems from a gardening perspective, but they are charming, ephemeral creatures that my girl has always loved. And, my daughter’s name, Mila, actually means “dear one,” so there you go. I used the peach tones in the painting as color inspiration throughout the room. One inspiration often begets another, and the woodland theme of the “Oh Deer” picture connected perfectly with Rifle’s Birch Pattern so my color palate was sealed: shades of peach, teal-green and gold. The built in cabinet doors feature the pattern as does the name garland above the bed.
  • Flashes of Pattern or Color. Interject color, personality and interest into a decor scheme without dominating or throwing the mood you’re shooting for off. In this room, I didn’t want to overwhelm it with tons of florals but I did want to connect my inpirations plus add a bit of sweetness. Springing off the forest theme, I decided to invoke a fairy-like feel with lots of peach floral accents, included framing floral wall paper found in an old office when we moved in (below), a painting of a young girl picking wildflowers that hung in my childhood room (below), and a floral chain that hangs in the secret nook created by a “knee wall” (2nd pic below). Major shout out to this little room as it now houses a play castle and dollhouse that come with hundreds of little pieces, all mostly out of sight!
  • Flooring & Paint. I could write an entire post (or two) on selection of flooring and paint colors, so without going down a deep rabbit hole, let’s just say that mood, use and comfort must be considered when selecting for bedrooms. While I tend to prefer hardwood floors, and we have them run throughout the first level of our home, I like the warmth of carpet in a bedroom. So, we went for a lower pile, neutral gray carpet on our second floor, where all our family’s bedrooms can be found. Color, more than any other design element, affects mood so do a bit of internet research on color tones and moods. We wanted a soothing, cozy feel so opted for painting the walls a warm toned light gray, Benjamin Moore’s Stonington Gray, which is used throughout much of the rest of the home. In a previous home I had painted my son’s baby room bright yellow, without considering how stimulating it is and quickly realized that I would go for a much more soothing and calming color the next time around (let’s not get the baby wound up my friends!).
  • Furniture & Decorative Accents. As I mentioned before, I’d recommend having zones for activity and arranging furniture accordingly. One great item, hopefully placed in the room’s focal area, can elevate a room so you can fill in with bargains from Ikea or Target without worry. Or, if you’re lucky, you’ll find something at one of the big box stores that is so chic you’d swear it was high end. Sticking to a design rule of mine, I add pops of color and personality with more interchangeable items such as pillows and decorative accents. The daybed is from Crate & Kids, and I’ve been thrilled with its aesthetic and quality. One thing to note about Crate & Barrel products is their whites are much crisper than Pottery Barn’s white, which I find quite cream-toned. The duvet cover and decorative pillows are also from Crate & Kids, and sheets are from Target. A sweet, ever growing polaroid vignette of the people who love and are loved by my little girl make a heart above her bed. The little play kitchen, that kept Santa up until 4am one Christmas Eve putting together, was purchased on Amazon. We plan to swap it out for a desk when the day comes (although that thought makes me a little teary), and it previously was home of the changing table. Ah, the evolution of a child’s room.
  • Don’t Forget Storage and Functional Items. A storage shelf from Ikea is filled with peach and teal fabric storage cubes from Target to tuck away toys. Large white woven baskets, also from Target, quickly stash stuffed animals and dress up clothes. Built ins original to the home store clothes and books, and a large wall cabinet hides a television (don’t scold me mamma’s, it only gets used for movie nights when we host parties :).

Thanks for joining me on this little whimsical tour. There is truly nothing more fun to decorate than a child’s room!

All photos by Marla Smith Photography