Youthful style is functional, playful
January 29, 2016
An organized home begins the moment kids walk in the door from school or a day of playing, as tactics to keep the entryway and living areas tidy help to keep the whole home clutter-free. Modern interior design definitely has kids in mind with a lot of fun and functional furniture and accessories.
Whether kids are going back to school, or visiting on a mountain vacation, a home or home-away-from home can be designed with both usability and comfort in mind.
"Organize the mud room so that everybody has their spot," shared Tracey Egolf, owner and lead designer of Egolf Interiors, Inc. in Breckenridge. "It helps with the getting back to school, because everybody has their own cubby hole and hook in a section of the mudroom where they can put their backpack, hat and coat."
Marty Nickoley, design consultant and professional home stager for Rustic Point home furnishings in Evergreen, recommends a nice entry bench with bins underneath, where the whole family is expected to keep their shoes, hats and bags.
For children's rooms, a functional desk space can help kids keep their work and play separate, like a mini office.
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"Usually, if we are doing a built-in desk or piece of furniture for a desk, we are trying to create a defined work area that is not a part of the play area," Egolf explained.
At their desks, use space-saving devices such as folders or short bins to organize homework, and to help keep track of important papers and when school items or craft projects need to be completed.
Bins, whether they are in a corner, a closet or under a tall bed, are very useful in kids' bedrooms, just as they are in mud rooms. Nickoley said for kids 12 and younger, the accessibility of the easy-to-reach compartments is ideal for toddlers and pre-teens.
"I really like them in a child's room, because of the fact that they are low to the ground," she said.
Similarly, beds with built-in drawers help to maximize a space.
"Particularly in second homes, I am big on beds that have drawers underneath, so that if you downsize with a second or third home, but you still want all the elements, maybe the rooms and closets are not as big," Nickoley said. "If you don't want a big dresser in a bedroom, having a bed with drawers underneath is a storage solution. Kids love it, too, because their bed is a bit higher off the ground and they think that's cool."
If a bed height is ever too high for a kiddo, then get a cute stool to give them a step up.
Wall shelves add essential footage to keep toys and more, and can be put near a desk or bed, along a wall or in a closet.
Bunk rooms are popular for second-home owners as well, since all the kids or grandkids can share a fun space. Specialty bunk beds from places such as Pottery Barn Kids even have built-in lamps, clothing hooks, device ports and curtains to keep each kid's space special, even in a vacation home, providing a cozy feeling with added privacy, Egolf said.
If a kid has his or her own room, multi-purpose furniture, such as little pull-out sofas and trundle beds, are useful to host sleepovers. Make the furniture moveable, Egolf suggested, so depending on where kids need to use it, they can shift the furniture around themselves.
Forts are always the best addition to every kids' bedroom, but even once hanging sheets and painted signs come down, imagination keeps on sailing. Kids love to hideout, and creating intimate, secluded spaces for them can add a special touch to a bedroom or shared living area.
For example, create a space underneath a set of stairs that doesn't have much other use, even if it's only something like 7 feet wide by 5 feet long.
"You can put kids-sized doors into these low-headroom spaces, carpet them and put in shelving, add doll houses, beanbags or whatever," Egolf said. "Kids can dive in there and have a great time."
She recently completed a project that hid a kid's desk in a closet, so when you shut the doors, the workspace was hidden.
"We put shelves on both sides of the desk, with bins and cubbies, and a simple countertop in between," shared Egolf. "You know how messy those areas can get, and so they could shut the door and it looked just like a closet."
Bow and bay windows in a bedroom should not be used as extra surface for storage, Nickoley said, but rather as a place where kids can sit or read.
"Don't leave it as a shelf," she added. "Definitely go ahead and have somebody tailor a really nice cushion to put on the entire area by the window with big, bright colored pillows and stuffed animals, so that you're utilizing that not just to put clutter on, but it's another fun seating place for kids."
Egolf suggested to let kids have a say in the decor of their bedrooms. Adult decorators and their apprentices may need to make compromises together, such as choosing Bamboo Shoot Green walls instead of a kid's desired Pink Fuchsia; but then the kid can choose the rest of the bedroom interior.
Outfitting a bedroom can be pricey, so parents can work with kids on an educational project to create their "ideal" bedroom. They can help with laying out the design, writing wish lists and even crunching some numbers. Maybe that large blue beanbag chair that they are eyeing is something they only get after some hours of extra house chores.
Put large letters on the wall to spell out a kid's name, add whimsy and playful accessories, and in the mountains, add fun nature decor.
Adults can make the home experience warm and unique for themselves and the kids.
"Parents are great, and grandparents are awesome," Egolf said of her clients who she helps outfit spaces for the children who live with them or come to visit. "They are trying to make a family retreat where kids can have a unique time and make it really memorable."
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