Tag Archives: kids room

Decorating With Kids: Hide the Wallpaper Samples!

Right now my to-do list looks something like this:

  1. Redecorate the living room, the upstairs hallway, and our old bedroom;
  2. Buy a mini van with the highest safety ratings and also hopefully some cache (that’s possible, right?);
  3. Clean all surfaces in the house with non-toxic products, including walls and ceilings;
  4. Clean all surfaces in the basement with straight bleach (cats are supposed to be clean, so why are mine so filthy?);
  5. Push a human out of my bits.

Of course I can’t actually do any of these things myself (except #5, hopefully), because I’m laid up with a huge belly and a condition called PGP, but I’ve been making plans and scheming hard for when I’m able-bodied again.

Our plan is to have baby boy in our room for the first few months, and then to move him into Opal’s room, and move Opal into our old room.  Opal is down with this plan on one condition: her room has to be purple and pink.

Red House West || Plans for Opal's Room

Our old bedroom, soon to be Opal’s new bedroom.

Purple and pink are surprising favorites for a kid who refuses to wear dresses even for special occasions, and whose current interests include dinosaurs, construction equipment, and slugs.  But she’s a person all her own, and her absolute favorite colors are, and have been for a long time, purple and pink.

I love pink, but purple isn’t one of my go-to colors.   I wanted to use wallpaper in Opal’s room, and I thought long and hard about Hygge and West’s “Daydream” on the ceiling, like in this room:

I ordered samples in green and in purple.  I loved the green and figured I could work in lots of purple and pink through textiles and art, like this:

Yet another girl's room

But I made the mistake of not hiding the purple wallpaper sample, and Opal got really attached to it, and to the idea of purple birds in her room in particular. And by attached I mean she slept with the sample in her bed for weeks.  Trouble is I didn’t like the purple version at all.  The hue was cold, and having lived in her future bedroom through many long winters, I know that room does best with warmer tones.  So I started looking for a purple bird alternative.

After lots of searching I came across wallpaper that fits the bill from Trustworth.  I ordered a sample, and started putting together a design.

Red House West || Plans for a Big Girl Room

The wallpaper is beautiful, and maybe just the tiniest bit creepy in that art nouveau way I love.  The purple is more of a warm mauve than chilly lilac, which I like better, and while it’s hard to tell from the photo, the background is the prettiest blush pink.

I put together a mood board to see how it might come together, and this is what I ended up with:

Big Girl Room Plans

This rendering is more matchy than I think it would be in real life, and while I like it, I’m not totally sold.  Somehow it doesn’t feel very “Opal” to me.  If I can get her off the purple bird kick, or incorporate purple birds in some non-wallpaper way, I might scrap the wallpaper idea altogether and do something a little less involved, but more playful, like this:

Another girls room

Still pink and purple, but more fun, and more flexible if she changes her mind about her favorite colors.

What direction do you think I should go?  Give in to the icy purple birds, go with the mauve Trustworth avians, or not use wallpaper at all?  Do you let your kids decide what their rooms will be like?  Or just let them offer general guidelines?

Playroom Plans and the Woes of Living in an Old House

A while back I posted a poll about which of two rooms–one upstairs and tiny, the other downstairs and bigger–should eventually become our bedroom.  The results were overwhelmingly in favor (84% to be exact) of the larger downstairs room that is currently our playroom/office/junk room.  I hemmed and hawed, but ultimately I decided that in the short term (the next 6 or 7 years) we’re going to buck the crowd and use the upstairs room.  Before we had Opal I didn’t realize that kids don’t spend time in their bedrooms.  Now it seems so obvious–of course they want to be a part of the action.  Plus Opal is still too little to go up and down the stairs without supervision, and having the playroom downstairs also helps to curb the spread of toys in the living room.  It also means we can cook or fold laundry while she plays nearby and still carry on a conversation with her and pop in to be part of whatever game or story she’s come up with.

Here is what the room looks like these days:

Red House West||Playroom Plans

It’s a generously sized room, but it’s serving too many purposes at once right now.  I want it to be less of a dumping ground, and more of a dedicated play space.  I’m a huge fan of Jenny Komenda of Little Green Notebook (seriously, she’s AMAZING) and the playroom that she created for her girls is so bright and happy:

Red House West||Playroom Plans 39

I love that it’s bright and colorful, not theme-y, and leaves tons of space for imagination.  So I thought that I’d try to create something similar.

Opal loves to read and having a comfortable spot to curl up with her in the playroom would be great.  My plan this weekend was to move my old red chaise in here–it would be perfect!

Red House West||Playroom Plans

In its current position the chaise is cramped and not very inviting.  It’s awkwardly butted against the Broyhill Brasilia credenza that I recently refinished (which I would love to show you, but until I can get the chaise out of here the credenza is stuck in an unappealingly off-center position in the room).

I love the vibrant yellow curtains in Jenny Komenda’s playroom.  I found these cheery ones from ModCloth and I made a quick mood board to get a sense of how they’d look with the red chaise.  I think it would be really cheerful!

Playroom Plans
But alas, it wasn’t meant to be.  In this funky old house our interior doors vary in size, and the door into the playroom is just 28 inches wide.  We tried getting the chaise through the mini doorway every way we could think of.  The legs don’t come off and the frame is all one piece so cutting them off and reattaching them isn’t an option (I was disbelieving about this so I consulted a professional and he confirmed.  Boo.).  We explored taking the chaise outside and then getting it back in through a window.  But NO.  There is literally no way to get the chaise in there.  ARGH!
So, trudging onward through small-door frustration, I recalled that we have a captain’s bed in the basement that was in Opal’s room back when it was little-boy Chester’s room (for new readers, we live in the house where my husband grew up. You can read more about how that happened here if you’re interested).  We had to cut it in half to get it out of the room in order to fit the crib in there (see old house with small doors frustration explanation, infra).  I searched the web for images of kids’ rooms with similar day bed set ups, and came up with some inspiring images.

Okay so this last one isn’t similar at all to our captain’s bed, but I’m in love with the lacquered yellow paint, and now I’m inspired to paint our version a similar sunny hue (apparently I’m really determined to bring a lot of yellow into this room!).   And maybe you noticed that all of the previous inspiration images are the same daybed–I’m fairly certain it is from Ikea.  Ours was built by a handy neighbor decades ago, but it is really similar including the three drawers on the bottom.  Since it’s already in two pieces it will (fingers crossed) fit through the door, and Chester thinks that he’ll be able to reattach the two halves.

So I’m reimagining the playroom now along these lines:

Another Playroom

My image editing skills are nonexistent so you’ll have to use your imagination for the lacquered yellow daybed–hopefully the yellow pillows on the bed trick the eye at least a little.  The floral curtains are actually a shower curtain–you know what’s super expensive?  Curtains.  You know what’s not super expensive?  Shower curtains.  I’m hoping that with one cut down the middle and a little hemming no one will know the difference.

It’s worth it, but this charming old house definitely comes with the occasional frustration!  Anybody else out there been stymied by the quirks of an old house lately?