How to Create Fun + Sophisticated Kids' Spaces

Taking a room from toddler to the teen years is no simple feat, but with careful planning and a dose of fun, you can create organized, whimsical spaces that will please everyone in the family.

kids playroom with wallpaper and modular couch

22nd Street Teen Hangout / Photos by Amy Bartlam


Keep the Furnishings Casual

When a room can be used as a dedicated kids' zone, I like to have a little bit of fun with the furnishing. Hanging chairs, egg chairs, and modular sofas (great for building forts!) set a fun, relaxed vibe. And it probably goes without saying, but save your precious pieces for other rooms in the house and chose wipeable surfaces, washable textiles, and anchor any tall or heavy items to the wall for safety. Furnishings and textiles that are made for outdoor use are a great option since they are made to take a beating from the elements.



boys bedroom with wallpaper

Brentwood Boy's Room


Have Fun with Textiles

Kids' bedrooms are a great place to have a little fun with textiles, and no, I don't mean character bedding (though if you must, save it for the bedsheets). I typically mix more patterns in kids' spaces than I would in a living room, so be bold with lively geometrics, textural global prints, and consider wallpaper for a fun accent. In the boys' bedroom above, we framed a few one-of-a-kind textiles as an alternative to traditional art and created a focal wall with Shibori-print wallpaper, which would have felt a little too dark if applied on every wall. I also chose upholstered beds and ottomans for this room to eliminate sharp edges, and both of those are sophisticated enough to be used as they boys grow.



girls bedroom with purple paint

California Traditional


Use Color Wisely

Don't let your kide`'s color preferences scare you off! It is possible to make their colorful dreams come true without turning your home into a crayon box. In this young girl's room, we added a smaller dose of her favorite shade by using it as a faux wainscot on the bottom half of the wall. This way, the color isn't overwhelming and the room still feels cohesive with the rest of the home, which is sophisticated and restrained. The larger items in the room are white or neutral, which gives the eye a place to rest, and we reinforced the girly color scheme by laying a bright rug over the low-pile carpet and keeping most of the color to the smaller accessories like pillows and throw blankets.



kids bedroom with bookshelves

Dallas Boy's Bedroom


Offer Plenty of Storage

The key to keeping kids' spaces (and the rest of your home, for that matter) tidy is plenty of appropriate storage. I like to shy away from large bins as they tend to get either dumped out or ignored completely and instead chose smaller containers that can be designated for categories of toys. Shallow wall shelves can hold picture books facing out when the kids are young, and then be repurposed for art later on.


kids play room with wall decals

Dallas Playroom


Get Creative with Space Planning

Even if you don't think you have a spare inch to create a dedicated kids' zone, think again! In our Dallas project, we repurposed an underused storage closet into a secret play cave that is adjacent to the family hangout space. Most of the toys are stored here, and we went extra whimsical and fun with decor since it is out of the way of the main room. Colorful sconces (lit by puck lights, so no electrical work necessary), plenty of cozy pillows, and fun wall decals make it clear that this is a kid space, and Mom and Dad can close the door if it gets messy. Plus, what kid wouldn't love a secret hideout?!


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