Sunday, January 18, 2009

for kiddo: a tween-errific room

Let's face reality: Decorating a room for that 9, 10, 11, or 12 year old you hold so dear is never easy.  First, you've got to consider the child's wishes, even if they do involve purple paint and some vaguely inappropriate teen pop phenomenon. Then, you have to consider longevity (of the room redo, not the people involved!) You don't want to be redecorating next weekend, or worse, listening to interminable whiny complaints. So, it has to be a collaborative process.  This is the mercifully short story of tween room creation at our house, done for a 10 year old girl we'll just fondly call "Kiddo".
The "spark" for this room was that amazing vintage quilt, scored at a local consignment shop.  I was paying for something else (way more boring, since I can't even remember what it was), and I saw two little old ladies bring this in.  Its colors are so vibrant and its fabrics so unique! Plus, it's surprisingly soft and warm -- perfect to curl up under to read the next installment of Harry Potter or The Sisters Grimm (at our house, we've been reading Harry's tales every night for so many years, we can just about open any of the books at any page and start reading -- thanks, J.K. Rowling, we're your biggest fans!!)  So, anyway, scour your local consignment shops for similar treasures, or, in a pinch, you can buy a modern take on the theme at Urban Outfitters quite reasonably.  And speaking of Urban Outfitters, that's the source of the swivel chair. Fluffy pillows are available pretty much everywhere, but the fur rug, you guessed it, Urban again.  
We saved money here by saving Kiddo's Land of Nod iron bed (hers since she started climbing out of her crib 8 years ago!), and by updating her Pottery Barn Kids dresser with funky Anthropologie knobs.  Although, careful readers may notice that one of the knobs is a purple hippo from our local hardware store, the inimitable Blackhawk Hardware. The turquoise capiz shell chandelier is from Target, the white sheets are vintage (so soft, so cheap, so easily laundered!) from a charity shop, and the swinging chair is from Habitat in the U.K. (You knew there was a catch.  It was all too easy so far!)  You can get a similar look, though, by using Ikea's Svinga chair.
And now, for the biggest design statement in this room of many patterns and colors -- the walls.  We started there with a laminated fabric from John Lewis in the U.K. (you can get many fabrics laminated -- check your local listings).  It's pretty simple, with a repeating pattern of polar bears in black and white on a bright aqua background.  We just stapled the fabric to the walls, attempting some semblance of adherence to rules about repeat, but not to any great degree.  We thought it best, then, to calm the whole thing down (as much as is possible in a bright blue room) by matching the paint color (Benjamin Moore's Jamaican Aqua) to the wall fabric's background.  Happily, Kiddo LOVES penguins and polar bears, so the stuffed animal collection does not, as is so often the case, clash spectacularly with the decor the poor parents have worked so hard to achieve . . . so there it is.  Take a tween girl who loves artic animals and the planet, as well as vintage stuff (our philosophy is: why would you buy new all the time when there are so many so much more interesting and beautiful and unique old things needing a good home?), save money by keeping the big stuff and having her teenage brother paint the room (thanks, sweetie!), throw in a lot of her personality, and voila! the perfect room for Kiddo.  Until she's tired of it, of course.

1 comment:

  1. I love this quilt, its so beautiful and full of colour!

    Lots of love from Bonhams Bids Office London, we are all fans of your fabulous style!