Okay Lovey’s, now tell me, is this how all your room renovations begin?
Here you are, cruising along just fine, and then BAM!— all of a sudden you’re in full-blown battle with your kid that by the end, neither of you can really remember what about. It was following one of these mother-daughter episodes that quickly and unexpectedly escalated from “Please put your American Girls away” to “I’m taking everything out of your room that isn’t nailed down,” that I realized a huge part of the problem was that my gremlin’s room was unmanageable. It was simply too much for her to handle. In my pursuit of punishing, err, I mean positively parenting, I recognized she was absolutely overwhelmed by her space and it was causing more than a little stress. I think even her dolls were stressed! Not to mention all the unnecessary time being wasted while her and I bickered over where things went.
Logistically, spatially, visually—her space was in desperate need of an update. Lucky for her, deserving or not, my heart revels in all things interior design and revamping her room quickly became my new favorite project. I’ve seriously never met a space I didn’t want to redecorate.
Although Molly’s room is relatively small, I’ve dealt with much worse: The tiny nook her nursery occupied in my NYC studio could now easily fit inside my 8 x 10 living room rug. With space to spare! To begin, her and I sat down together, looked at some room samples online and made a plan to purge. This was key. Not only did I want to make space for what she had, I also wanted her to part with what was old, broken or not played with anymore. This was challenging, to say the least, but once I told her we’d have a garage sale and she could keep any profits from her stuff, she was totally on board.
First things first, her bed had to be moved out of the corner and centered underneath her window. The clutter and hidden objects that accumulated in, around and under her bed, were horrifying and too much for a 9-year old to manage. Although my Mini is dying for bunk beds, I’d rather hold out a few more years and upgrade to a pretty day bed or queen when she’s a bit older. Plus, I think her white, beadboard bed from Pottery Barn Kids is a classic—still versatile for her size and age.
Second, although we utilized under bed bins for her extensive (read: ridiculous) collection of American Girl and Barbie/Ever After/Monster High dolls, they were still all over the place! I swiftly hit up my local Target and purchased the Threshold 6-Cube Organizer Shelf, along with a combo of cute fabric storage cubbies and wood milk crates. Now her ever-growing library of books, art supplies and random toys have a home that is both cute and easy for her to control. Of course, part of the parental challenge is staying on top of the organization, as in checking the bins every so often for items that don’t belong; not limited in my household to random bits of food, trash, broken toys and even the occasional dog toy.
My daughter is an avid reader, so I created a little nook with special lighting so she could relax, get comfy and curl up with her favorite book. I recycled an Ikea rug I had in the garage, threw down a PB pink polka dot bean bag, and a cool, white cotton canopy from Target, plus a few pillows (Gold Hello Lovely and faux fur puppy face pillow are both from Target, and the adorable mermaid pillow is from Backward Prints). Can you tell I really love Target?
The last bit of the organization equation involved her study space. I found her previous desk at a second hand store and I loved it immediately for all it’s flaws—it was painted bright green and slightly battered but all I saw was charm. The drawer that stuck and shelves that accumulated junk weren’t functional and weren’t a good fit for a little kid. So out with the old and in with the new as they say. I searched high and low and finally found the perfect mid-century modern style writing desk at Living Spaces. It has clean lines, no shelves to clutter and drawers that actually open and close. Also, it will transition well with her as she grows and her tastes change. What a deal!
With a few new purchases, a little creative rearranging and a LOT of purging, I was able to pull together a room that’s both functional and fun for my pre-tween gremlin. All it took was an epic meltdown to get the ball rolling!