In my years of doing makeovers on television and in magazines - I've learned that sometimes it is best to get a sense of what the homeowners are hoping for in their environment - but then let the end result be a surprise. Sort of the idea of "go away for a few hours and you'll come back to the finished room" way of thinking...It's a less stressful way for the homeowners to experience the changes within the process of the makeover and come back to a whole new space.
With children's spaces - my approach is a little different. I have learned that it is good to have them be a part of the journey of a redesign for their own space. Not that I am asking them to design it step-by-step with me - but more about vocalizing what they like or do not like. At the same time, letting them know that I'm there to make some fun changes to their space and give them a room that is going to "cool." In essence, creating a level of comfort for them with the changes that will be made.
I think kids feel a sense of familiarity and safety in their own rooms. So, if I come is as a designer - with plans to change everything about their space - the least I can do is make it a good experience. I say this is a good thing for kids ranging from the toddler age up to the pre-teen years. From that point, the kids are getting a sense of what their style is and they want to have more of a say in their room's design.
As a parent myself, I understand that change for younger kids can be daunting, confusing and disruptive - especially if you have a kid that is used to things a certain way. However, at the same time, I know how the redesigned space will change things in a good way for them too. So it becomes all about finding a good balance. So if there are other parents out there looking to make some changes in their kid's rooms - I think that is worth considering.
You could try showing them some images of various rooms and creating a vision board for various ideas or products found online or from a catalog. A visual way to start the conversation about changes.
So in going to this makeover site, I was first struck by the fact that there was a great deal going on visually. To me, this can be a negative thing for a kid - too many toys to choose from (most get ignored), too many different pieces of furniture, lots of books (some that they had outgrown)...Simpler is better for children's spaces.
For a parent - simpler is better too - because clean up time can be efficient and well-organized.
Having done room makeovers for teens, preteens and also playrooms for kids in the past - this was going to be a fun makeover because it was for a child that was transitioning out of a toddler-focused room into life as a typical kid.
As is the case with many homes, the kids may have transitioned out of what the room offers them - but the lack of time has not allowed the parents to keep up with updating it. Hence, that was the case for this makeover site. Time for a change and update.
I wanted to de-clutter this space, make it easier on the eye and create zones that would allow the child to keep it organized because there would be a place for everything.
As I talked to the child, I learned that they loved their IKEA bed. So I certainly was not going to move that out. I decided to expand upon the look of the bed by building the room with other natural wood-toned items around it. I knew that eventually they would upgrade to a larger bed, but the room needed to be more of a well-organized, thoughtfully-designed kid's space.
As a designer, websites are a big part of how I find products and explore various design concepts I am considering for a project. Once I knew the bed was from IKEA - that was my go-to source to start the redesign.
Luckily, I had been to IKEA recently shopping with my family. So I had a good sense of what was out there for kid's space and beyond.
Being a visual person, my experience of shopping at IKEA is always exciting. When I go in and see the set-ups of spaces created with "layers of life" details - truly captures how their products can integrate into our everyday lives and homes. I like that a lot. They set the scene - if you will. You can walk into the store and imagine yourself in the lifestyle spaces they create and then you can head home with the same attainable products you respond to. So easy.
I like how they create products for all the rooms in the home that look great and meet various style demands. At the same time, they are smartly-designed to make our lives easier. I like that as a dad and as a designer. The problem is that I keep seeing products for other spaces that inspire future makeover concepts!
So after heading to IKEA myself to gather the items for this space, I returned with a clear focus of what I was going to bring to life during this one-day makeover.
I say "clear sense" because I had the overall, initial ideas of what I wanted for the main pieces in the room. However, what happens every time I go to IKEA is that I get inspired by what I see and come across.
What I have come to know as well - in my years designing and doing makeovers - is that sometimes you have to just let things come your way and fall into place. There can be planning - but there can also be over-planning. I have said recently that you have to have fun with designing a space. You have to allow for the creative flow to take place. That was what happened here.
When I was shopping, I knew that I wanted a storage area, an art area, a sleeping area, etc. Did I know what exact style I was going for? Not exactly. I did know that I wanted to echo the natural wood tone found in the existing bed, but other than that - I was open.
Once I emptied the room - the first order of business was painting the room a new color. A blue. I chose Benjamin Moore's "Daydream" with simple white trim throughout. Classic and uplifting.
Then, it became about bringing in the pieces and building the redesign. This is the fun part of the makeover project for me - the time when the pieces of the creative puzzle start clicking together. Plus, I also love the moment of the reveal for the homeowner - in this case a child. A great example of how good home design can change your life.
The first look at the room as you enter in...The wall of storage, the sleeping area and an art area too. Plus there is a place for everything - which makes the room easier on the eye with less going on.
This is my favorite area of the room - the art zone. I love how the simple brackets and shelves from IKEA - make an organized statement in the room. A bold color that serves as a base for storing the art supplies and accessories.
This play table called Sansad is great because the height can be adjusted. The matching stools also from the Sansad collection have storage in the seat for toys. You also get a glimpse of the Hampen Rug and new bedding called Barnslig Rand.
The storage wall is the Stuva System from IKEA. The height is not overly tall - which is great for kids to access the storage easily. In the case of this room, the child loves that they reach the drawers and cabinets. I've heard that since the makeover was completed that the child actually loves putting their clothes and things away - because they love these new pieces.
Here you can also see the original bed, now repositioned and given the Barnslig Rand bedding with great vibrant colors that tie into the other colors in the room.
The new mirror on the wall - where the over-sized bookcase had been - allows the room to look larger. Plus the mirror bounces light into the room. I repurposed the existing pendant light over the mirror. The light reflects in the mirror - giving the room more lamplight at night. I added some fun stickers to the pendant cord to make it fun.
I decided to keep the window treatments simple - classic wooden blinds called Lindmon from IKEA.
Knowing that the bed would eventually be upgraded to something larger, I chose a modern bedside table from the Malm Collection that I mounted to the wall securely. I loved this design because there is a slot across the top for books to be displayed for bedside reading. The Malm bed that the child could eventually upgrade will still tie in nicely to the room overall (down the road).
The ledges above the bed are a perfect place to display colorful frames that can be easily moved and changed around.
Now - here is fun tip. I hear from people that they don't always know what to do about art work for their kid's spaces. In this case, I photographed the child's favorite toys to use as art work in the room. I shot images of the various items (another way to involve children in the makeover process). Then, I enlarged the photos at a local CVS and had instant art work. This is a great solution to give your kids something they can enjoy looking at and it is something you can change up overtime.
Here you can see the collage of various images I shot of "a few of their favorite things." I like leaning the frames on the ledge because it is not permanent. You can move them as you wish - without damaging the walls.
When I had spoken about the future makeover with the child, they said they loved animals. So when I saw this bedding - it was a perfect fit. I decided to do extra pillows on the bed - which can be used for floor pillows if need be.
Funny side note. After the makeover was finished, I heard from the family that the child actually makes their bed now and, yes, the pillows are put back the way I styled them here.
Storage is big thing for kid's spaces. The storage wall has drawers for clothing, books, toys and supplies. The art area has its storage options too.
I've learned - as a parent - that if there is a place for everything - things tend to go back to that place during clean up time.
The room took on a whole new feel - but also just seemed larger in the end.
You can see here how the mirror expands the room. The easel adds another creative layer that is usable and movable.
Vibrant colors on the bedding. The bedding will be an easy way to change the look of the room as they grow.
The art area allows for open storage and easy access to the supplies. Again, easy to clean up.
For the lighting, I chose these red adjustable lamps called Kvart Spotlight throughout the room. They add directed light for tasks - but also add layers of light for the overall room. The lights are able to be mounted to the wall - as I did for the art area or they can be clamped on - as I did for the two lights seen on the storage wall area. Then, to tie in the lighting overall - I used the Kvart Work Lamp on the bedside table. The red accent is seen throughout the room in various forms.
At the end of the day, the natural wood tone that I picked up from the existing bed is played out in the storage unit to tie it all together. I had the option of doing it all wood or bringing in doors/drawers with colors. I liked the wood tones that the Stuva Collection offered. As you can see from the link - the collection offers various door styles, storage options and colors. For the middle cabinets, I opted to keep the cubby open for basket storage and books instead of doing a drawer. That's what I love about IKEA - you can mix it up and they give you the options to do so creatively.
It was a great moment sharing the room with the homeowner and their child. By gathering familiar accessories and items - the room was comfortable for the child - and instantly made them feel at home in their new space.
The other thing about this creative project was that the room was simply finished. It now had a sense of style. It gave the child a good home base. Siblings in the house had "designed" spaces that reflected their personalities - but this room needed to do the same for this child. So if you have teenagers or preteens in your home - they may have a good sense of what they like design-wise - but don't forget to take some time out to make an environment that works for the littler ones too. Design does affect us - so we all deserve to have an environment that is good to us.
Stay tuned for my behind-the-scenes video of this project...Coming soon...
In the meantime, be sure to visit IKEA for some great, life-improving home design ideas and products...