When designing bedrooms for her two young daughters, H&W Director of Marketing, Melissa Andersen, knew she wanted to create spaces that embraced the fun and whimsy of childhood, but also could grow with them. “One of my favorite parts of being a parent is watching these little imaginations blossom. I want the spaces my kids spend the most time in to foster that sense that anything is possible,” Melissa says. “It’s important to me that kids’ spaces feel like kids’ spaces—but that doesn’t mean they can’t also be beautiful and sophisticated.”
Once those items were accounted for, Melissa turned her attention to pattern. “Pattern, particularly wallpaper, is such a simple and effective way to create a space that feels bespoke, lived in, and layered. Although it’s a physically flat element, it adds so much life and energy,” she says. For Siena (almost 3), who loves birds and plants, Melissa chose Secret Garden (White). “I toyed with the idea of installing it above some kind of panelling, but when I saw the paper in person, I knew it had to be on all four walls, floor-to-ceiling,” she says. “True to its name, this pattern creates an enveloping, clandestine effect that makes you feel like you truly are in your own secret garden—my daughter just can’t get enough of it.”
The wallpaper informed many of the other elements in the space. “I’m not really one for a theme, but I do like a vibe,” Melissa says. The greens and pinks from the paper can be found elsewhere in the space, such as the dresser and decorative accessories. Elements from the pattern, such as the birds and plant life, were brought in elsewhere to create cohesion—a birdhouse box for storing small treasures, a ceramic bookend planter from STAK Ceramics that houses a fern, and a set of suspended love birds by Tamar Mogendorff.
Designing her 6-month-old’s room was a bit of a different process, but the goal was the same. “With Sofia, we were designing the room before we knew if we were having a girl or a boy, so all the base pieces had to be gender neutral,” Melissa recalls. “I opted to go with a palette of dusty green, rust, a bit of black and white, with warm woods, and then layer in the wallpaper and accessories after the baby was born.”
Once Sofia arrived, the wallpaper was the first element to go up. “I had a feeling I was having a girl, and I knew if I did that Sonoma (White) would be the perfect choice,” she says. “It has this inherent warmth in the color palette, but it still feels open and airy. It works perfectly with the elements I already had in the space and also feels like a great complement to the paper in Siena’s room, just across the hall.” After the paper was installed, Melissa added small touches that tied everything together, including embroidered art from Coral & Tusk, an alphabet print from Mollygrams, and a cozy reading area.
“My goal with both spaces was to create a backdrop that could work for many phases of the girls’ lives—from babyhood right through adolescence,” she says. “With just a few small changes elsewhere, these rooms can easily go from whimsical to sophisticated without losing an ounce of charm.” But if there’s one thing that Melissa has learned on her parenthood journey so far, it’s that everything is a phase. “The beauty of the pre-pasted wallpaper is that if the girls want a change in a few years, it comes right off with water. And I’m always more than happy for an excuse to redesign!”
Designing for littles? Try Melissa’s tips for creating spaces that grow with your kids:
- Keep the bigger ticket items neutral so that they work with any style. These pieces should be able to transition with your child.
- Use wallpaper to create a backdrop that can work for many different ages. Nature-inspired designs work great for all ages and styles.
- Add age-appropriate accessories and art. These pieces are typically inexpensive and easy to swap out as your child grows, so look for items that meet your child where they currently are in their development, tastes, wants, and needs.
- Consider pre-pasted or peel and stick wallpaper. These two wallpaper formats are incredibly easy to remove so that the room’s style can evolve with your kid.
- Think about how your kid actually uses the space. My oldest is a book lover so making her books accessible and giving her a cozy spot in which to read was a must. For my youngest, I knew she would be on the floor a lot so I made sure I got a super soft rug and lots of floor cushions.
- Use books as inexpensive art. Children’s books are adorable, colorful, and imagination-inspiring. Use display shelves to use them as interchangeable art.
- Have fun! If there’s any room in your home that can handle a lot of design, it’s a kids room. Mix patterns, bring in color, add lots of texture. Make it a space you both love being in and everyone wins.
Interior photography by A Lovely Shade of Jade