When your children’s room design requires creating the perfect place for an infant and a toddler, how do you make it work for both? Hallmark Artists Sam and Nate L. turned their large guest room into a shared space for their two girls, Johanna and Rosemary, with some love, logic, and a little help from their artist friends.
Children’s room design: Choosing a décor theme
Sam: I always knew if I had more than one kid they were going to share a room. I grew up that way, and that’s how my brother and I bonded. That time as kids growing up in a room together was what made us close.
Nate: Plus the room is huge—it’d be weird just to have one kid in there.
Sam: At first I was overwhelmed by the blank room. Not just the fun design choices, but the furniture logistics: Best place for the baby’s crib, types of storage, one or two twin beds…I was more worried than I needed to be. [Hallmark Designer] Ashley H. helped me out initially with some ideas for the room; she gave me the confidence to go with the pink walls (Behr’s My Sweetheart). Plus, I knew I wanted to center the room around this amazing rainbow dinosaur painting that my friend did for me in college, and pink was the perfect color to go behind it. Centering the design of a room around a painting, rug, or fun piece of furniture is a good starting place. All of our other choices stemmed from there.
Nate: Our style is a really good mix of old and new.
Sam: Yes, and since we couldn’t just throw around endless amounts of money, IKEA was a big stop. I think the key to your house not looking like an IKEA showroom is to blend it with things you already own. The armoire my dad bought for me in high school now acts as my three-year-old’s closet.
Nate: We looked at all the stuff we weren’t using or could re-purpose. The blue cart was in our basement, not being used. Now it’s a bookshelf.
Sam: I took Ashley’s advice again and got white bedding so I could easily change out the pillows and blankets for a refresh. The animal pillows are from retired Hallmark Artist Terry Runyan. My aunt crocheted the afghans with the girls’ initials—she did the same for my brother and I growing up! I think it’s great to find ways to incorporate the gifts people make and give to your kids. It’s so meaningful to have stories behind the things you own. I loved Rainbow Brite when I was little, so it was fun to incorporate “Twink” into the space. It’s so neat to revisit things from your own childhood. We also wanted to reuse the baby things people gave us to save money. A friend passed on a baby mobile that is not the most glamorous, but the babies love it! I think another helpful tip is to be flexible and be willing to part from your original vision.
Children’s room design: Making it functional
Sam: We wanted the kids to grow into the room, and so decided to get two twin beds and storage that we could move around and re-purpose as time goes on. This works out great for us, because instead of laying on the floor to tell bedtime stories, there is an extra bed to lie in. Plus it’s ready for baby Rosemary when she graduates from the crib. Ultimately, we wanted to create a space where the whole family can hang out. The natural light is the best in the whole house. I want to be able to say, “go play in your room” and know it’s a fun room to be in.
Nate: We also had to fit in a changing table, crib, storage for baby and toddler clothes. Finding space for all those things was mind boggling. Our shelves are old CD racks found on Craigslist. We got three shelves for five dollars! They hold diapers and onesies perfectly.
Sam: Our closet is an odd shape, so we use it to store out-of-season clothes, blankets, suitcases. We found other ways to store the kid clothes so they’re more accessible. I also got some large decorative boxes to store under the bed for the kids’ artwork. Toys work double-duty as interesting decorative objects—like the cute little cat pull toy from Hallmark and the quirky black dog I found at a garage sale.
Children’s room design: Incorporating original artwork
Johanna and Rosemary’s room is full of original art by Sam and Nate’s friends. In case you don’t have a dozen friends and family members who happen to be amazing artists, the couple offers some ideas for finding cool artwork.
Sam: We already had tons of artwork in drawers and in storage waiting to be hung, so it was hard to narrow it down. But I still love hunting for original art.
Nate: We’re huge Craigslist people. If you like the idea of starting with a piece of artwork, check out antique malls, garage and estate sales, or sites like Craigslist and Etsy. To find one-of-a-kind vintage art and objects, narrow your browse filters to “handmade” or “vintage.” Also try sites like Society6 that allow you to apply unique artwork to any kind of format: pillows, canvas, framed prints.
Sam: Or maybe there’s a piece of your kid’s art that you love? Try grouping the artwork you like together to create a gallery wall as a focal point. The geometric print in the girls’ room is by artist Victor Vasarely. We’ve had the print for a long time and it finally found its home in here. The cat art is a screen print I illustrated. I bought the hand painted little women of the world cutouts off Etsy—I love the idea of my girls seeing women of different cultures on their wall as they grow up. I also incorporated Johanna’s artwork. Because no one makes better abstract art than kids! (Check out the top photo to see how it all looks.)
Photography: Jane Kortright