Freida's Color-block Bedroom
After posting some pictures of Freida's bedroom here and there (and especially after I put up pictures of her birthday party at our home), I had a bunch of requests to post some proper pictures of the whole room. So here's a little photo-steam of her bedroom/playroom in the name of sharing interior design inspirations: We started with a sea-breeze blue (I was convinced I would have a boy, and if I didn't at least I would be able to decorate using girly colors without the "pink" going nauseatingly overboard; the blue would balance it out), and imitated the buildings original (circa - 1930) white-washed base boards, moldings, doors, and ceiling. Once the canvas was set, the only thing I knew for certain was that I wanted the one big-ticket item to be a crib; unisex, modern, classic: I went with the Oeuf Sparrow. It's natural and safe materials, plus it's modern/classic vibe and unisex color made it a quick love for me.
This space initially functioned primarily as a guest room. In it we planted my husband's bachelor-era queen-sized Ikea Malm bed with nightstands and his corresponding Expedit bookcase. Once Freida joined us, I decided to skip on the extraneous "changing table" and simply secured a changing pad to the top of the Expedit. I used canvas bins in the storage units below to stash diapers/linens/layette etc. It's now filled with her toddler wardrobe and used as our primary toy storage. The best thing about this unit is that once you are finished with the changing table and/or looking to free up some extra space, the Expedit can be flipped upward and used vertically!
Once the nursery essentials (crib, changing station) were in place, I didn't want to rush into anything, and waited until we found piece by piece. Slowly the room began to take shape... we moved the queen bed out when Freida was just under a year, and decided to turn it into her playroom. We found the futon and table at Urban Outfitters and fell for them instantly. They were part of a Blu Dot for Urban line, and we scored big on clearance! We slowly found pieces we loved to deck the walls, the butterflies at a artisan shoppe, and the Flor tiles on Craigslist!
My priority when designing and decorating this room was to keep it as unisex as possible. I can easily spray paint the pink frames (orange, red or any other color), even the bedding works - just need a boyish bumper, and the carpet tiles would just need some swapping additional colors to the mix. If/when I need the extra space and want a toddler bed/twin bed and crib in the room, I can simply move out the futon; because we went with something so modern/classic (it tends to blend in with the rest of our home instead of being a one-use kid-styled item) it can then function as extra seating in a living room, office, or third bedroom. I made sure that with each find and purchase I felt the evident longevity of that piece...how it could be used over and over again, in many different settings, and hopefully would last and last...
The second most important thing to me when designing space for children is the convenience - cleaning and otherwise. The wood floors are a no-brainer, and the Flor tiles are infinitely easier than carpet or a large rug (each square can be cleaned or replaced individually). Again, a futon/day bed is always a good seating option, because it can provide a myriad of functions instead of just one (we have housed many people over the year, and good sleeping arrangements are a snap away - the futon + an air mattress + the crib makes for super easy guest-ing). Plus, you can't imagine what that futon does for me on homebound sick days and those early Shabbos mornings - I fold it down, add my comforter and pillow, shut the door to the room... she plays safely while I catch another 45 minutes of shut-eye.
Lastly, but possibly the most important: toy accessibility. When kids can see all their toys, and are able to reach them and take them out easily on their own - they are much more likely to initiate play. All of her toys she can take out, and put back without an ounce of help. This makes a mothers life easier on so many accounts! The kids will be happy to take things out and get busy, and the moms will be glad that cleanup is a cinch; for when everything has a place - undoing even the most hurricane-like messes will be pie! Trust me! Freida can honestly clean up her entire room on her own (sans the ball crawl balls). And contrary to popular belief, it's been proven that reducing clutter increases creativity. Girls, go forth and organize.
My favorite feature in this room is the white table. Aside from it's awesomely quirky sliding shelf aspect, this table provides lots of standing play. The items on the table are removed (fine, chucked off) instantely when Freida wants to use the tabletop (read: setting a Shabbos table, dollhouse play, block stacking, car driving, Papo zoo making etc.), and lends itself to heaps of creative tabletop play. The low down reading shelf (my favorite part!) has been put to so much good use! Having a collection of reading options so close to the ground has really made books a favorite for Freida. I often walk into her room and find her sprawled out lazily on her belly, turning the pages of a well-worn board book - completely entranced (for kids a bit older, a low down shelf and some poufs or floor cushions = a cozy library corner).
My most solid piece of advice when setting out to design a space for kids is "versatility". Don't buy things that can only be used in one place or for one purpose! Life and materialism is expensive enough as it is, why spend on things that will eventually "end"? Make sure you always remember to ask yourself: if at some point in time you need to move this or that - can it be used somewhere else? Can it function for another person/place/time? You'll be so much happier knowing you buy things that will go on and on... it's like splurging on a grey cashmere sweater - heirloom-esque! :)