Designing a space for kids — whether it’s their rooms, a playroom, or a shared family space — can be tricky. Function often overrides form, practicality over style, all for the sake of those adorable littles! Our guest today has some great tips for finding a balance when designing kids’ spaces.
Designing Kids Spaces in New York City
By: Chip Brian, CEO and Founder, Design Development NYC, Photos by Trevor Tondro
Kids need room to be kids.
At Design Development NYC, that’s the number one thing we keep in mind when we are designing and building bedrooms and playrooms for children: It’s something my own two children taught me. As the father of two young boys, I’ve benefited from some firsthand experience that I like to call into action for clients with growing families.
Children create chaos wherever they go: It’s part of the fun of being a kid. But, to thrive, children need a sense of order. Simply put, it would be pretty impossible for a home where children live to have “too much” storage: shelves, cubbies, and benches/daybeds with built-in drawers all keep toys out of sight and teach kids to keep their own spaces tidy. Look around at “kid height” to take advantage of overlooked storage areas: Legos, dress-up clothes, sporting equipment, crayons, markers, electronic games—did someone mention homework?…oh, yeah, that—all needs a place to go.
With some smart planning, trundle drawers under beds, additional wall shelving, and toy chests can all be factored into a plan that works for the whole family. Here are a few recent Design Development projects, to give you a better idea of how we help our clients utilize space.
Just some helpful advice—from one parent to another.
Off the Floor, Not Off the Wall: A wide upstairs corridor becomes a playroom, with study desks, shelves, and a built-in daybed for reading and relaxation. There are drawers under the bench cushion to keep the area uncluttered.
Let Them Show Off a Little: In this family dining area, a utility wall serves as a bulletin board/art gallery; the table doubles as a project center; and the sideboard keeps toys, books, and study aids out of the way when it’s time to eat.
Simple Geometry: Long bands of color on the carpet elongate a small room. The ample storage space under the bed and concealed space behind the headboard keep toys out of sight while leaving enough space to play.
Here’s a Secret: The area under the bed hides a trundle for sleepovers. Rooms can be simultaneously storybook and sophisticated. Even if she stops loving pink, the oak floors, white walls, and quality furnishings will still work.
Stimulate the Imagination: Children’s lives are influenced by the colors, sounds, and visual impressions around them. As a bonus at quiet time, this room’s textured wall covering and textiles lower the noise level.
Think on Their Level: Well-designed rooms—with beds close to the floor, soft rugs underfoot, child-height drawers that are easy to open and shut, and art/toys at eye level—all help give children a safe environment to “dream big” in.