Today I thought I’d take you through my daughter’s room. We completely gutted it last year and redecorated it (what we found behind the walls is a whole other story), moving it from the toddler/preschool era into a style more befitting who she is now. The space is tiny, with lots of architectural challenges. Our upstairs is an overgrown attic. Someone added a half-dormer at one point, poorly. The ceilings are low, there are no doors, no closets and few walls. Each end of the upstairs has a small room, 10 feet square, with pitched sides. We’ve made these the children’s rooms and of necessity they are designed simply. Each room has a twin bed, a desk, a dresser and shelves built into the knee wall (well, the small one’s will someday, his shelves are still on the project list).

Children are known for being rather opinionated. Or perhaps that’s just my children? At any rate, when we started discussing fixing the tall one’s room last year, she insisted everything (EVERYTHING!) must be purple. We knew we’d have to repaint, as we needed to remove her walls entirely as the plaster/drywall/who knows what was too badly damaged to repair and we wanted to put in some insulation, repair the electrical and add built-in shelves for some storage.  What started as a repair project which allowed her to choose a new paint color, however, quickly spiraled into an opportunity for her to completely redecorate the space. We hadn’t done anything with it since we first created it when she was three, it seemed time to let her make it more her own. But all purple. That was a challenge.

We began with the paint color. I found it easiest to give her choices I could live with, so for each item I gathered three or four options I found acceptable and within my budget. I picked up four paint samples in varying shades of purple and together we painted them on the walls, then she choose the one she liked best. She took her time with it, looking at the colors at various times, it was fun to watch her envision her space. I did the same thing with the curtains, choosing several fabric swatches and allowing her to make the final choice. Once she’d chosen several purple items, I asked her to choose a contrasting color. She picked teal and then proceeded to freak out when I painted the dresser we’d thrifted (less than $100 people!). She loves the final product though. From there I looked for a duvet cover that had blue and purple to bring things together. Not the exact same shades we’d already used, but colors that were the same tone so that things went together. Remember, it doesn’t have to match.

Once we had chosen the big items, I found lots of little accessories to bring things together and make the space feel more grown up for her. The jeweled curtain tie-backs and hooks above the dresser for her necklaces added some sparkly whimsy, there are frames in teal and purple for her shelves to bring the colors over there too. I found the decals at Homegoods and let her and a friend put them up where ever they liked. I love how she’s created little vignettes with her precious objects in the space. Her fairies line the window sill (they like the fresh air and light you know), there are little Japanese eraser animals set up in lines in a cigar box,

felted animals and elves live in harmony in a wooden house she constructed and painted last year,

even her books are arranged to showcase class photos and favorite items (she’s clearly my daughter).

I’m not going to claim it’s always this tidy, but as there’s very little in there it never gets too bad. Books and knitting projects everywhere seems to be the biggest problem and I can’t really complain about that. There’s always a stack of five or six by her bed and one or two knitting projects in process. It was a lot of fun to create a space with her and choose things for her that reflected who she is now. You can’t do that in the same way when they’re smaller. There are still several things to finish, even a year later, we always seem to get about 90% finished and run out of steam. Sometime soon I’ll go back and paint the trim on her window and round the bookshelves. And we need to figure out a door. How have you approached decorating kid’s rooms, anyone else have opinionated children?

ps – we’re about to embark on this process with the small one. He’s requested green. You can find a sneak peak of my ideas here.