Like many other families, we noticed that after the pandemic hit, our home was no longer running at its best. Our small Victorian row house was suddenly cluttered and chaotic. Games and toys, typically reserved for weekends, were now a part of our every day and it became difficult to step around the mess. We quickly realized that our girls needed a bigger space and, most importantly, one that was organized and functional. So I took on my toughest clients yet—my five- and eight-year-old daughters—and set out to design a shared kids room that was multipurpose and beautiful.
The girls required a place to sleep, a desk for crafts and virtual school (who knew that would be a thing!), storage for toys, books and little treasures, and a wardrobe system, since our century-old home lacked closets. I’ve had some tricky clients but these two had big requests. “Pink walls with rainbows, a trampoline and a climbing wall, a giant unicorn and maybe a swing?” Dream on, girls! With careful planning, I was able to translate some of those requests into a playful and creative space.
Here are my top tips for designing a space that’s cozy, calm and functional:
Bed forts give kids their own space
Adding simple drapes to the beds creates whimsy while providing privacy. They also soften the angles of the bed and inspire imaginative play. Custom bed drapes, hemmecustom.com; Jute runner, $40 hm.com
Use linens to liven up the space
Playful bedding is an affordable way to add colour and texture. Choose matching sets or let each kid pick a print that complements the other. Patterned duvet set, $30, hm.com; Curious bunny, $90, crateandbarrel.ca
Drapes can make the room look larger
Hang curtains at ceiling height to create the illusion of a bigger room. Opt for blackout lining to set the stage for restful slumber. Custom drapes and hardware, hemmecustom.com
Budget art is your best bet
Kids love graphic art and playful prints. Use Plexi frames instead of glass for safety. Choose inexpensive pieces that you can swap out for a quick and easy update. Studio Loco Leopard Poster, $39, smallable.com
A trunk does double duty
This vintage trunk is great for storing dress-up costumes and it doubles as a surface for the dollhouse. Kids like open floor space for play, so a soft, comfortable area rug is key. A non-slip rug pad underneath provides extra cushioning.
Create interesting closet space
Pairing open and closed shelving helps to create visual interest in the space without compromising on storage. It’s easy to tuck away clothing, seasonal gear and linens, and kids can effortlessly grab toys, books and puzzles. Pax Wardrobe System, ikea.ca
Opt for open bookshelves
Open shelves serve double duty: accessible storage for toys and books plus decorative display for keepsakes. Add plants for hits of greenery and floor pillows that you can move around to create a cozy reading nook.