Realistic Kids’ Room Inspiration Part 1: Storage
Kids bedrooms: so much fun and yet one of the most challenging from a design perspective. I’m at the beginning of redecorating both of my kids’ rooms and although it will surely be a few months before I finish them up for a big reveal, I thought I’d share some of the process along the way.
My kids are 6.5 and 8.5 and it’s time to make some changes in both of their rooms. My son, the 6.5 year old, is now in school and starting to get homework. We need to get rid of the little kid furniture, like the small table and chairs, and replace them with a proper desk and chair. He’s also gone through the natural transition to bigger-kid toys. We’re dealing with Legos and remote control vehicles while the blocks and match-box cars are fading away. So the storage needs have changed and on top of it all, of course, we want to make it look super cool.
My daughter, the 8.5 year old, is pretty much set with furniture because we moved into our current house on her 6th birthday. I surprised her back then with a big desk and chair and painted one wall “Elsa blue” (from Frozen- if you have girls you definitely know what I mean), added gold and silver polka dot stickers and hung a flowy Betthimmel from the ceiling above her bed. She loved it back when she was six, but she has way outgrown the short-lived princess stage and understandably wants a different look.
Of course the first thing I do when I’m thinking of redoing a space is to look for inspiration on Pinterst, Instagram and in magazines. There are millions of photos of gorgeously styled rooms out there, but they are often so unrealistic compared to my actual needs. This can be said of all decor photos, the perfectly styled-for-the-camera spaces that bear no resemblance to actual life, but I find it especially true for children’s rooms. Here are a couple of examples:
These two bedrooms are beautiful. I love to look at such photos to get inspiration for colour combinations or individual ideas, like the orange lamps above the beds in the top room or the wall stickers in the bottom room. But my big question to these photos is: WHERE IS ALL THE STUFF?
You know what I mean: the toys, the sports gear, all the clothes. I’ll tell you where it is, it’s piled up on the other side of the room behind the photographer. I take pictures for Instagram, I know how it’s done! But let’s be honest here, kids have tons of stuff and we don’t live on Instagram. Piling it on one side of the room may seem like a good idea to my kids, but not so much for me.
And here is my reality: I live in Germany where I don’t have walk-in closets or even built-in wardrobes or shelves. I’ve got to have furniture to store all of their clothes in the room itself. And their toys too. We personally are past the phase of playrooms and communal toy areas in the living room. My kids are at point now where they want their stuff in their rooms. And so do I! So I’ve got to come up with a stylish, organised plan for storing everything including a gazillion Legos, books, puzzles, and about a thousand stuffed animals in addition to all of their clothes. Phew. If you’re trying to organise a playroom or corner of the living room, you’ve got the same challenges (minus the clothes).
Have no fear, there is real inspiration out there that actually gives us some pretty great ides for storing all that stuff and keeping it looking stylish too.
The photo above is another perfectly styled space found on Instagram, BUT there is a hugely-versatile piece of furniture against the wall to organise A LOT of stuff. The Ikea Kallex shelf (available in multiple sizes) is one of my favourite pieces for children’s rooms, playrooms, and home offices. Doing a combination of baskets and open shelves is key to key to keeping it pretty and practical.
The very first step in decorating my son’s room has been to buy two new Kallex shelves. We first made a list of all the different types of toys and stuff he needs to store. Then we thought about if a shelf or a basket would be best. Legos, building sets and little toys have been designated for baskets. Remote control vehicles, books, games and puzzles have been reserved for shelves. When the new shelves were built we were able to immediately create a perfectly styled yet totally useable storage space in his room. The key is planning first and then buying the storage!
[For more tips on this, read my post How to Organise Any Room That is Full of Stuff]
Here are some more inspiring rooms using cubed shelves.
Not only do the cubed shelves provide great storage options, but the space above the shelf becomes a fun space to decorate. I’m thinking about doing two lamps on a Kallex in my daughter’s room for a more grown-up look, like in the Organising Moms photo above. And I’m planning on a big, vintage map of the stars in my son’s room.
Here are some other fun ideas for using storage to decorate an entire wall. You can see all of THE STUFF, but there is order to the chaos.
Storing clothes in wardrobes and dressers may take up a considerable part of the storage in a child’s room, but it doesn’t have to be boring. Ikea is an obvious source for affordable furniture, but it really doesn’t have to look like it came right out of a big box store.
What I love about all these spaces is that they are really practical. They look lived-in. There is lots of space for THE STUFF, yet they are also full of character.
I don’t think we need to try to hide the storage, and for a lot of us that’s just not even possible. Keeping the storage organised and part of a bigger design plan is how the kids’ and the parents can be happy with their rooms.
Now that we’ve talked about storage, keep an eye out for an upcoming post about choosing colors and a themes for the kids’ room that also make everyone happy.