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Inspired by Children's Rooms

We have no trouble committing to an imaginative playground of a room for our children, but when it comes to adult space, many think it has to be “serious.” Mid-Century modernists relished opportunities to employ the language of clean lines and contemporary materials in devising toys and fun furniture. Likewise, today’s designers can follow suit with inspiration from children’s rooms.

Children are inherently drawn to color, and adult tastes often differ only by our desire to maintain “marketability.” But resale value is more complex than simply eliminating color from our homes. Just as a bold palette can show off who our kids are, embracing color in adult spaces is a great way to reflect the homeowner’s style.

Village West Design's “Mexican folk art kitchen” remodel is a perfect example of how grown-up spaces can also embrace color.

Remember how singing along with Barney, the big purple dinosaur, children were encouraged to clean up after playtime by putting toys on shelves or in bins and cubbyholes? Built-in storage is a wonderful asset for any room, creating a cozy, personalized environment. And then there’s the functional aspect—the artifacts of daily life reside within easy reach. The best-customized niches house everything from bedside books to kitchen canisters.

Built-in storage is the focal point in this teen bedroom we completed for a Brooklyn family. We even devised a custom alcove to nestle the bed.

Imagination is another youthful trait we eschew as we grow up. When devising our dream homes, why not incorporate the whimsy of daydreams? Contemporary spaces lacking interesting architectural features are perfect opportunities for such intervention. Light-hearted or one-of-a-kind details present the perfect solution for tempering austerity.

Above: menacing but still cute: cartoon-like monsters glare out from these linen sheers as part of our whimsical solution to maintain light and air across these living room windows. Below: these playful Mid-Century wooden dolls are all grown up!

Regardless of how clean and beautiful we can make our homes, living in a museum is an uncomfortable prospect. But making a space our own is more than just infusing it with an Eames elephant or Tord Boontje tableware. It’s ensuring that we feel good spending time in our homes—whether getting stuff done or just enjoying some milk and cookies.


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