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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Designing and Decorating Kids Bedrooms

I have never been a fan of colored paint.   I grew up with a mother who only had white walls.   Her mom only had white walls.  Of course, my first apartment had....white walls.   I went a little crazy and got linen white, instead of plain-Jane stark white.   I was an adventurous 20-something.  
You would think that I would have had chosen to paint every room a different color since it was my own.  But like most of us, we tend to do exactly what our moms did.   If you are wondering if that is true, take a look in your grocery cart the next time you go food shopping.   You will see that you buy for your own home, everything that mom bought.   Well, maybe when you first move out on your own that is true; Until you start finding out own favorites must-have items.  
I realized this when I was in the supermarket with my neighbor and friend when I was about 25 years old.   Two single girls, taking a ride to replenish our cupboards and since we would take turns cooking, it made sense to shop together.   I will never forget looking into her cart and seeing: matzoh, small cans of mushrooms and store brand paper towels!   I looked into my own cart and compared her things to mine.  Why was I buying the things I was buying?   Because it's what my mom bought growing up.  Mom only used Bounty....therefore, I would only use Bounty.  (10+ years later, I STILL only use Bounty.) Over the years, I find myself shopping with my mom and she is confused by the choices in my cart and I guess I have evolved into my own person, with preferences and tried and true favorites.  I often try to convince her that something that I have is "the best" but she sticks with her own choices.   If this was Twitter, I would insert a #olddogsnewtricks or #momknowsbest right about now.

Anyway, I am getting way off track.  Back to the white walls.  So my first apartment had white walls.  My first house had white walls.   One room was of color and gradually I decided to bring in some color to the rooms.  Over time, the dining room became a deep red.  The living room a shaker beige, taupe/tan color.   It was fun to select colors.  Thank you Pottery Barn catalog for suggestions.  It is amazing how the lighting in a room and the furniture play into it.   Not going to lie- there were a couple of re-do's over the years, a couple of "OMG, lets lighten this 10%" after seeing the tester.  But never such a disaster that I couldn't live with it because after all, I am my mother's daughter....just a DROP more adventurous.  I was still within the comfort zone of normal, Type A choices.

So, I had my first child in 2006.   My husband and I did not wish to find out the gender of the baby.  People said, "Well, you can get the room ready if you find out."  Get the room ready??   That's assuming I would paint it baby pink or baby blue.  Nope!    I don't do pink/blue paint or pink/blue rugs for girls rooms or boys rooms.  A blue rug in an office is fine, anywhere else, fine.  A throw rug, an area rug, maybe.  But to commit to paint and rugs of color leaves you without options if you should have a child of the opposite gender next (which I did) and want to switch rooms (which I did).    Both rooms were neutral colored and I decorated "with color" to create my theme.   Can you imagine a babys' room with a blue rug, blue paint, bedding/sheets/curtains with choo-choo trains on it?   Too. Much.  Blue.    Same for girls.   Pink walls, pink area rug, Granny's rocker with pink pillows, pink floral bedding with puffy pink valances to match because Auntie wants to make it just perfect for your baby?   Vom-it.

The funny thing is that, since both kids, I moved.   Left the old house with neutral rugs and walls and moved into a brand new house with guess what!?  Neutral walls and neutral rugs.    Just how mom says it ought to be.   The couple who bought my house appreciates that they do not have to repaint baby-girl-throw-up-room over NOR baby-boy-give-me-a-headache-room.   Less expensive for the elderly couple with grown kids looking to downsize and easier for me to find buyer for when I wanted to move with my growing family.

So.....how do I decorate my kids rooms?  Can you tell the girl's room is for a girl and the boy's room is for the boy?  Absolutely.   I am not a gender-neutral, all-organic, don't-buy-your-girl-a-doll-buy-her-a-car-kind of mom.   I am certainly not "that mom."   I love my feminine choices and honestly the pink in the room pops because it is not overly pink.  It is delicate and pretty.

Girl's Room
Creamy ivory Madeline furniture from Pottery Barn Kids.   (Trundle bed, armoire, dressers) She has the PBK bedding and window treatments but NOT the matching ones.    Striped panels on the windows and polka dots on the bed.  Stripes are hot pink, light pink and ivory tones.  The sheets do not match the duvet, nor the curtains.  They do go together because the colors are from the same family and they are pretty much the only colors in the room.   The one stripe of hot pink in the curtain panels goes beautifully with the anywhere chair, that is the same pink.   It is the smallest color represented in the window treatment, therefore the chair pulls the color out.   (I can throw away the hot pink cover anytime and recover it, change it, give it to her brother, a niece or nephew.  Those chairs last forever.)   Color also comes from art work, pillows, lamps and my personal favorite.....dresses.  Yes. Dresses on hangers.   What's more beautiful and feminine than a wall of beautiful dresses?


Boy's Room
Let me start off by saying that the boy's room was once the girl's room at one time.  Easy transformation when main colors do not have to be changed!   Quick change.   Move the girl and all her pink to another room; Leave baby close to mommy for those early years.  Add color last.  Boy had a light blue/brown striped/polka dotted theme.  (Notice the similarity to the girl's room mentioned above.)   Accented with brown monkeys.    One of the best decorating tools ever invented has to be WALL DECALS.   I was able to add color  by placing monkeys on the wall.  NOT painting them....What if he surprised me and did not like monkeys?  No problem....Just peel them off.    Once I figure out how to get pics on here, I will add photos.    I may dedicate a blog just to decals.   Great sites for decals, are www.wallies.com and if you join the mailing list, you will be notified of their 50% off sales, which take place every 45-60 days.   Also, ebay sellers, make custom decals....you can get anything you want made into a wall decal.    Hope to get some pics up tomorrow.
Boy's room finished off with stuffed monkeys placed around the room and, of course, blue gingham PBKids Anywhere Chair....small version.   (Was sister's at one time, but recovered it for a small price on www.potterybarnkids.com)

To be continued.....I realize this topic was too giant for one post.  Will publish and sign off, "for now."

Update:  Wall Decal Pics
Custom Decal.
Found an ebay seller who made them.
My kids playroom is called the "kids club" and I wanted a sign of some sort for the wall going into the room.   I emailed them the text that I wanted, sent me the proof and it arrived within a week.   Probably cost $25 to make.  

Alphabet Decals
These were purchased on www.wallies.com
These are just above the white dry erase board that my daughter uses to play school.  
(White dry erase also bought on wallies!)

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