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Nursery & Big Kid Room Interior Design

Naomi A.
NAOMI A.
Interior Designer
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Join Interior Designer, Naomi Alon, for a Q&A all about nursery and big kid room design. Naomi is here to answer questions to help you design the perfect room for your baby or toddler. Naomi is also knowledgeable in green, non-toxic, safe decor for children.

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NAOMI ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Small Room Challenges
PAULA, PARENT OF 6 YEAR OLD

Our daughter is in a small room and we are looking for creative ways to store toys, books, and accessories without buying bulky shelving/storage units. Any advice for using wall space (going up) that's not dangerous.

Naomi
NAOMI

Hi Paula! Small rooms are definitely a challenge, but there are some great creative ways to make use of the space. One of my favorite items is wall ledges. They are like wall shelves, but much shallower so they don't stick out into the room. You can get many of them and stack them up the wall for books, small toys and picture frames. Just make sure they are installed nice and secure and you shouldn't have any safety issues. If you're worried about your daughter trying to climb up them, you can try starting the lowest shelf a bit higher than she can reach.

You can also get some small bins or boxes to tuck away under the bed or wherever you have the space. As far as your design and decor goes, keep it simple. You don't want to add anything that's going to visually take up too much space, or be too dark. Keep your colors light and bright. Adding mirrors is also a great way to add visual space and can make a room feel a lot larger.

One other option - if you have more space in the living room or another room in your home, you can get a storage ottoman or bench to keep toys in. I like these because they can function as extra seating in a living space, but you can also stash away toys. There are even some available that can function as a coffee table as well. Depending on the age of your child, you may have to drill some holes in the back for airflow.

PAULA

Thank you! Do have examples/links to the shallow wall shelves you are suggested? I have seen some but they seem deep.

Naomi
NAOMI

Hi Paula,
Some of the ledges I have used in the past are from Land of Nod. They are decently priced and they have lots of color options. https://www.landofnod.com/search?query=ledge

I know that Home Depot also has some, but they are not quite as good quality.

PAULA

Thank you! I'll check them out.

NAOMI ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Rug on Rug?
MARLENA, PARENT OF 9 YEAR OLD, 3 YEAR OLD

Hi Naomi! Thank you for answering questions. I have sort of a silly one. My daughter's room has a beige wall-to-wall rug in the room. I might eventually rip it out, but for now I would like to keep it there. Does it look OK to put another area rug on top of this rug or will that look silly?

Thank you.
Marlena

Naomi
NAOMI

Hi Marlena! I actually put area rugs on top of carpet all the time. It sounds odd, but it looks completely fine and also protects your existing carpet from stains. If you look through my portfolio online, you'll see a lot of rooms that have it. Layering rugs is also a trendy look and I've even seen multiple area rugs layered on top of one another. Go for it!

NAOMI ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Unique Chandeliers?
ASHLEY, PARENT OF 4 YEAR OLD

Are there any good online sites that you know of where we can get unique chandeliers? My son has a zoo animal theme and I would love to find a cute chandelier with animals on it, but I'm not even sure where to look.

Naomi
NAOMI

Hi Ashley! Animal themed chandeliers are definitely not easy to find. You might try Silly Bear Lighting, or Jubilee Lighting - they both have themed items. I know that www.oopsydaisy.com has themed table lamps that are great. Rosenberry Rooms and Posh Tots are both also big retailers that have a large selection if items to look through.

NAOMI ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Car Decor
ASHLEY, PARENT OF 4 YEAR OLD

My almost 2 year old lovessss cars, we are wanting to update his room from the infant decor, but I don't want to steer clear of the "Cars" movie them or a car bed. Do you have any suggestions about where to look for car decor that's not too cheesy.

Naomi
NAOMI

Hi Ashley! Themed decor is always a challenge. My suggestion is to find car decor that's small, inexpensive and easy to remove or change when he's older or you want to change the theme. You can use his own toys as decor by displaying them on a shelf or ledge. You can also get some themed artwork in frames so you can easily switch out the artwork down the line. One of my favorite sources for artwork is www.oopsydaisy.com. They have a large selection and you can choose to get artwork either as canvas or prints for a frame.

ASHLEY

Thank you!

NAOMI ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Mixing Themes
BECKY, PARENT OF 6 YEAR OLD, 4 YEAR OLD, 2 YEAR OLD, 2 YEAR OLD

Hi Naomi! We're setting up my son's room (he's about 18 months) and we've managed to mix themes. We have curtains that have Koi fish on them, but then through presents he has a baseball glove chair and a little bench with some sports illustrations. Not sure what to do now as far as artwork and other decorations... should we steer clear of both themes and do something neutral or keep going with either the sports/fish theme? Any tips would be great. Thanks!

Naomi
NAOMI

Hi Becky! I've talked a lot on my blog about themes. I definitely would recommend staying as neutral as possible, and keeping the themed items to a minimum and in items that easily changed. That way, you can have the most flexibility with the design as he grows up. I would say that Baseball is a more versatile theme for a little boy than Koi fish, so it's likely that at some point he's going to ask for new curtains. It's a lot easier to replace curtains than to replace a bunch of other items in the room as well. If you want to add some decorations, try going with things like family photos or floating wall shelves or ledges with his favorite books and toys displayed - things that can easily be rearranged or changed down the line. You can even get some nice wall frames and put themed pictures in them, but then you can switch out the pictures whenever you want. I'm sure he will tell you when he's ready for a change!

BECKY

Awesome - thank you!!

NAOMI ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
General suggestions for transitioning a nursery into a toddler room
MARIA, PARENT OF 4 YEAR OLD, 2 WEEK OLD

I have a 1.5 year old whose room still looks much like when we first set it up as her nursery. I don't even know where to start! Please advise. What are the most important points to consider when making this transition and what are some things that can wait?

Naomi
NAOMI

Hi Maria! The three most important things for transitioning into a toddler room are the bed, storage and safety. You can either get a toddler bed, or you can continue to use the crib for a while until you feel that she's ready to move out of it. You crib may also have come with a toddler rail attachment. Storage is also very important because as your child gets bigger, so will her amount of toys and books. Toys also typically get larger and bulkier, so it's good to have some space for those items. You can add storage bins to the closet, or get an additional bookcase or cubby unit if space allows. As for safety, I would suggest going through the whole room and making sure everything is safe. Depending on how adventurous (or mischievous) she is, she may try to climb on things or pull things down - you may have already witnessed this! Make sure all your furniture is secured to the wall, including the dresser, bookcases, and even artwork. Check to make sure she doesn't have any access to outlets or plugs she can pull out of the wall. I would avoid unnecessary items in the space - anything she can trip on or things that you wouldn't want her to play with or touch without supervision.

As far as decor goes, you can start to slowly add in some slightly more sophisticated accessories or artwork and get rid of things that she no longer likes. This is a great time to do a little Spring cleaning as well and donate old toys - have her help you with this!

NAOMI ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Lighting for toddler room
SUZANNE, PARENT OF 3 YEAR OLD

Hi! My baby is just starting to walk. We're moving to a new house with minimal overhead lighting. What are your tips for safe lighting for a toddlers room? I'm worried that the cords, plugs, etc that come with floor and table lamps may not be safe.

Also, I'm sure this is individual, but how long do you find people usually keep using rocking chairs? I'm not sure if I should move mine across the country with me- we still use it every night now for my 11 month old but I'm not sure how long we'll find it useful. Thanks!

Naomi
NAOMI

Hi Suzanne! Yes, lighting safety can be tricky. For a table lamp, I would put this on a dresser, so the cord goes behind the dresser and is unreachable. Floor lamps can also be put behind the glider in a corner, but the key here is finding a floor lamp that doesn't topple easily and has a nice heavy base. If you're worried about the cord, you can secure it to the baseboard so he can't pull on it. There are also some unique alternatives to overhead lighting that plug into the wall, like plug-in chandeliers and pendants, or plug-in wall sconces. They will of course have a cord, but again you can secure it to the baseboard and up the wall. If your budget allows, you can always cut in some overhead can lights as well if you plan on staying in that house long-term.

As for rocking chairs, I have clients who have used them for a short time and others who use them for years. It really does depend on your individual needs. Some children like being snuggled in the rocker every night, even when they are a little older. Depending on the size and design of it, you can always use it for reading together, or even use it as an "adult" piece in another room.

NAOMI ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Nursery for 2 year old daughter and 6 month old son
DANIELLE, PARENT OF 4 YEAR OLD, 2 YEAR OLD

We have a 2 year old daughter and a 6 month old son. We hope to put them in the same room soon but have it decorated for her with a pink rug and pink accented crib sheets. What are your thoughts on making the space work for both of them? Thank you!

Naomi
NAOMI

Hi Danielle! Well of course the ideal would be a more gender neutral space with accents of their own colors near their own items. But since you already have a pink rug and crib sheets, you can balance that by pulling in some blue for him too. Luckily, blue and pink work very well together! It will still probably read on the feminine side because of the rug, which you could certainly replace if budget allows, but since your son is only 6 months old, you might also consider keeping it around for a while longer since he's not going to complain just yet ;) Crib sheets are much easier to replace, so maybe just get your daughter a few more neutral sheets. Then when they are a bit older (and more opinionated) you can decide how you want to change the room. If you plan on keeping them together for several years, you can invest in some more gender neutral pieces, but if you plan to separate them again, you might not want to make that investment just yet. It really depends on your future plans.

NAOMI ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Area rugs
CHRISTINA, PARENT OF 3 YEAR OLD

I see a lot of area rugs made out of polypropylene and synthetic materials. Do you recommend wool versus other materials? What sources do you recommend to get good quality and cute wool rugs? Thank you!

Naomi
NAOMI

Hi Christina! Rugs are one of the trickiest parts of nursery design. Yes, they are frequently made of synthetic materials, mainly because they are easier to clean and less expensive. Wool rugs have their drawbacks too, since they can be itchy and even cause allergic reactions in some people (myself included!). If you decide on a wool rug, I would suggest investing in something that's higher quality so it's softer if possible and will hopefully shed less. The other option is cotton, but of course those are going to stain pretty easily and they are almost always treated with a chemical to help with the stain resistance. Out of all the eco-friendly and organic options available today, I've found rugs to be the most difficult. Another great option is bamboo, but the drawback there is the price. My go-to starting point for rugs is www.rugstudio.com. They have a huge selection in all price ranges. A few other good brands are Surya, Safavieh, and Rug Market (all of which are sold at www.rugstudio.com).

CHRISTINA

Thank you!!

NAOMI ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
14 month old boy room
CHRISTINA

What are must haves in a room for a 14 month old boy? What are things to avoid? Thanks

Naomi
NAOMI

Hi Christina! With a child that age, I would say the biggest must-have for his room would be storage. The bigger (and more mobile) he gets, the more toys and larger items he's going to accumulate. You might consider rearranging the closet to allow space for some bulkier toys at the bottom, or adding some cubbies or a bookshelf in the room if space allows. The second must-have is safety. With a growing boy, I would suggest going through his whole room and making sure everything is safe for him. Depending on how adventurous (or mischievous) he is, he may try to climb on things or pull things down - you may have already witnessed this! Make sure all your furniture is secured to the wall, including the dresser, bookcases, and even artwork. Check to make sure he doesn't have any access to outlets or plugs he can pull out of the wall. I would avoid unnecessary items in the space - anything he can trip on or things that you wouldn't want him to play with or touch without supervision.