As kids grow up they get stuck in this weird transition in their rooms between "kid" toys and little people who are growing up and needing more grown up things. If your kids are anything like mine they are collectors of random treasures that they cling too, like the every breath of life depends on keeping said piece of scrap paper! Toys that haven't been played with for a solid year become the most valuable thing in the universe when you suggest maybe it's time to let go of them. It's often overwhelming to know where to start when tackling this odd space of toys, treasures, clothes and decor that they've outgrown.
Here are some tips and tricks to get you going, as you walk along the journey with me as we renovated Ella's room, and hopefully you can find your own inspiration to renovate those bedrooms. You don't need a perfect game plan and vision to start..just start.
Start by pulling things out of bins and sorting into piles. You know the bins that collect EVERYTHING known to man? They started as a great idea to keep all the toys separated about 3 years ago but now collect everything but the kitchen sink.. Dump those in the middle of the floor and start sorting. You can also extend this Great Purge to the closet next!!
Create a Keep Pile
Don't want to throw it out but don't need to see it every day
It can Leave.
I involved the owner of the room in this process and reminded her to be ruthless in her purging of stuff! Our middle pile of "Not ready to toss but don't need it on display" was condensed down to one small container and I was proud of her. Look at what's left in the "Keep" pile and start organizing that stuff into categories. For us it was 4h stuff, Schleich horse toys, books, craft supplies, desk/drawing items, bunny supplies, a few important mementos and some personal items. This will help you a lot when creating the vision for the new space as you'll have a handle on what needs to have a place in the new room. We repurposed the bins from previous storage, they are from Ikea! And LABEL everything.
We started discussing the new space and what it would look like and there was talk of a barn/horse theme, as Ella is into all things horses. She has been involved in a 4H Light horse group for a few years and successfully competes in a local saddle club. My designer instincts gravitated towards a ranch inspiration, with more of a modern clean look to it. This meant bringing in textures and objects that are symbolic to the equestrian life, such as barn wood and burlap, but are not a literal part of the design. For instance a feature wall in a modern barn wood would be nod to fence boards but we wouldn't set up a fence along the wall!
We wrote down a list of things that reminded us of our horses and our life with them.. and used that as springboard for ideas.
Having areas in the room that hold important things is a very crucial part to a tween room as it creates a sense of belonging. Pictures of family, friends and important animals displayed in various ways will be big part of the new design.
There needed to be some useful new pieces of furniture created that fit specific needs, one of these would be an over the bed table that provided a workspace for drawing or holding a laptop.
I pulled all of these elements together, along with some sketches of furniture I was planning to build and a quick sketch we came up with for the overall room, into a Story Board. This can be a simple collection of photo's and ideas. Or if you're feeling artsy, it can be very detailed like the professional ones we do in the design world. The point is to have a direction and inspiration as you start the renovation.
Many random posters, wall decals that were from the "little girl days", and wall shelving that doesn't make sense after furniture has been moved around.. you know how it goes! This is a scene that plays out in many kids rooms.
And suddenly we switch gears to a sophisticated young woman's room. A look, with furniture to match, that will take her well into the teen years.
We found that fabulous reversible duvet at Wayfair! It's in the perfect shade of blue. The wood wall is actually vinyl plank flooring that was a super reasonable price from Rona! It's thin, installs easily and looks amazing. A great and easy way to incorporate texture.
Speaking of texture.. that mustard coloured throw pillow OMG! Thank you Winners!
A desk full of clutter, a bed that's never made because the tenant doesn't take pride of ownership and the mish-mash of era's gone by.
A curated collection of art, photography and important sayings. We commissioned a local artist
The Red Barn Loft to paint Ella's new horse, and it turned out amazing. The saying is one that has been important to this young equestrian and she requested that it be in her room. The photographs are of her previous 4H project pony Jack and her new ride the Arabian Dexter.
The new work surface/max relax: a perfect furniture design for the teenage years. Or any year really.. I think I want one! This was a fun table to design and build for the little miss. We included a side pocket to hold books and treasures.
Clean Work Space
A new workspace repurposing the old desk but breathing new life into it by reorganizing the items on it and purging much of what was collecting on the surface. We printed some family, friends and animal pictures that were important to the tween lady so she could be reminded daily of all the people and animals that love her!
The shelf above her desk is a fence board from her Dad's farm homestead in Saskatchewan. Mementos like this are so meaningful to teen kids, even if they act like they don't care, as it ties them to their family roots.
Functional Furniture Design
We created a narrow high table that fits a small space by the door. This is a place for the almost teen to toss her purses or bags, place a hair brush or few trinkets that she uses everyday.
A perfectly placed circle mirror from Wayfair with a leather strap, that is reminiscent of a rein, hanging on a handmade horse shoe hook finishes the look. I found a vintage horse sketch that worked really well with the design. We finished in the mustard yellow to give the room that pop of colour.
We created a ribbon holder to display all of the winnings. The book shelving is actually two repurposed shelves from the old room that we painted the same colour and put together. This is a simple trick to create a shelving unit look.
The Urban Habitat custom creations that made this room super special:
A cool piece of artwork with an important saying.
A side table that doubles as an over-the-bed work surface.
A high side board table with a meaningful custom transfer.
A ribbon holder for all those hard won ribbons!
All in all we were pleased with how the room turned out. The owner of the space was especially thrilled, the bunny likes his new digs and for once the tween room is actually clean! She is a very special girl and now her personalized room reflects who she is.