Designing spaces for children involves the same basic principles and processes as designing environments focused on adults. Careful forethought should always be given to the predominate activities that the room will need to accommodate. However there are added considerations for children’s spaces.
While children are little versions of adults, their needs and likes can in many respects be quite different. Psychological effects of color often play a key role in any environment, especially with children. Generally we have found children respond more positively to deeply saturated, vibrant color palettes, according to their age. We typically suggest older children be involved in choosing a base wall color for their rooms. Interesting shapes and textures also have been found to provide mental stimulation during the development years. Thoughtfully designed children’s spaces are infused with creativity while remaining sophisticated yet related to the overall design character of the home.
Space and Place
As designers, another key consideration for children’s spaces is storage. By integrating storage opportunities it is often easier for families to attempt to keep their space less cluttered. These days children can have as many toys, clothes and other belongings as their parents. We work with our clients to learn about the individual needs and tastes of their children. The challenge is to find a way to organize these affects intuitively in the bedrooms and/or playrooms designated as “children zones” in the home as to keep the entire home from becoming a play house. Intelligent storage can include drawers under beds, casework and modular closet systems.
Indulge the Whimsy
There is nothing like being around children to remind you just how much of their time is spent utilizing their imaginations and having fun. It might be an appliance box that doubles as a king’s castle or a clothes closet that unbeknownst to us holds magical caverns that host afternoon adventures. Our challenge as designers is to put ourselves in the mindset of the child and tap into our own imaginations, while still keeping a firm grasp on the practical design requirements the space demands. Some whimsical yet practical ideas might include chalkboard painted walls, integrated dry erase surfaces, murals or even wall hooks to build fabric forts!
Flex and Grow
One thing is certain, children grow and change…fast! As each child develops so will their taste and space requirements. This consideration is key when planning rooms for the long term. Knowing whether parents plan to rework the room every few years, or only want to budget for a room that will grow with the child is critical. We look for opportunities to design the fixed/built-in and more expensive furnishing items so that they will stand the test of time when possible. Selecting furniture items with styles that work for a five year old girl’s room with a rainbow ceiling, that will also blend well ten years later when her high school teammates sleep over takes thoughtful planning on the part of your designer. With thoughtful planning, furniture could be purchased that would last through their first apartment.
Form and Function
Last but not least, function must trump all. Many children’s spaces serve multiple purposes in addition to sleeping and toy storage. Designers need to take into account possible other activities such as homework, arts and crafts, reading, model building, gaming and more. Will the child share this space with other children or adults? Do parents spend each night before bed reading chapters from their child’s cherished book before bed? For these reasons, designers really need clear and insightful communication with the homeowner. Knowing how your family functions (or would like to function) is the first step in the design process to ensure a successfully investment that your family can enjoy for years to come. Our proprietary It’s You Survey helps obtain this information.
We always consider ourselves privileged when asked to design for our client’s children. Being able to bring fun and function into the lives of their most precious belongings is a big responsibility that we take seriously. Creating a unique space for your child enhances their lives for years to come.
Please feel free to contact us via telephone at (317) 357-0155 with any questions about this material or to request more information about our services. Visit the It’s YouTM section on our website at www.jeffsheatsdesigns.com to learn more about the Jeff Sheats Designs, Inc. interior design process. We are your partners in interior design!