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Reader Question: Kristina's Toddler Room

by - Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Kristina wrote to me recently with a design dilemma...
"We are moving into a new place and I was wondering if I should re-do my son's nursery with a baby theme or should I dive into a toddler/little boy theme...and what themes do you suggest? I want to stay away from the typical theme that everyone else is doing. I'm looking for something unique and something that blends in with his personality. He's at the stage where he clearly isn't a newborn baby but I'm unsure if I should just jump into spiderman and superman themes. (I myself never had any brothers or grew up around boy cousins so all this "boyish" stuff is too confusing).

He LOVES books and balls but will play with cars, teddy bears and plush animals. He's very active, shy around people and curious. I'd like a room that is stylish, modern, fun and maybe a bit of a vintagey feel."

What a fun challenge, Kristina! There's nothing I like more than putting together a kid's room. I also think you don't need to sacrifice style to be child-friendly. Kids can learn to appreciate beautiful things too!

Kristina is a stylish and crafty mama (here's the nursery she put together) so I knew this toddler room definitely had to have some flair. Taking inspiration from my current favourite colour combo for kids (red and aqua) and from the recent Vancouver Olympics (go Canada!), here's a scheme I call "Cabin Cool".

Toddlers, boys especially, can be tough on their spaces. I think the ideal room would be one with room for adventure, imagination and creativity. Nothing could be too precious so this little boy could feel free to climb on the furniture, jump on the bed and be a kid.
- these Martha Stewart FLOR tiles in Faux Bois really set the tone for the space. They add some fun texture and colour to the room and they're sophisticated enough for adults to appreciate too. The pattern will also hide some of those inevitable spills and messes kids make.
- the Ikea PS cabinet is a modern classic. Its steel construction is durable and will give this piece some longevity; when your toddler becomes a teenager, he could use this piece to store electronic equipment or anything else he wants to keep under lock and key. For now, Kristina could use it to house clothing or less often used toys in shallow baskets.
- A solid wood toddler bed like the Dorel Millbrooke is a functional and stylish piece. Kristina is a pretty handy sewer and could make some bedding, accent pillows, or curtains from this damask antler fabric and this lattice fabric from the divine Joel Dewberry Deer Valley line. Don't these fabrics conjure up memories of camping and log cabins and trekking in the forest?
- And what's a cabin without some moose nearby? This whimsical Sprallig hook rack from Ikea is a playful way to encourage your toddler to hang up their clothes.
- This Madison Bookshelf from Pottery Barn Kids is one of my favourites. The slim front-forward design saves space and encourages little ones to help themselves and pick a book of the shelf.
- All kids need a place to sit and create. I thought this P'kolino Chalk Table and Benches (not chairs!) continue the outdoorsy vibe.
- The final touch (which is something I hope to put in Chloe's room someday) is a teepee. Kristina could do an easy no-sew DIY version with these instructions found here. Kids love to have their "own" spaces and I thought this teepee would be the perfect place for a sweet little boy to curl up with his favourite books.

Thanks for writing in Kristina!

Do you have a design dilemma of your own? Write me at

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  1. Oh my gosh, that is just about the cutest room ever. I love love love the teepee - what kid (or adult!) doesn't love a good fort!? And that moose hook rack is just too adorable.

  2. OMG I'm in shock at the ideas you came up with. The colour combo is really nice! I'm totally making a teepee for Rheon. He's going to LOOOOOVE it!

    Thanks SO much!
    ps: you have to let us know when you make a teepee for Chloe.


  3. I love this! What is the other fabric source?

  4. Elizabeth - I've changed the links to show various etsy sellers of the fabrics. The top pattern is called Antler Damask in Sky colorway and the bottom is Lodge Lattice in Sky colorway as well.

  5. Fabulous. I love how it will grow with him as well.

  6. Anonymous1:21 PM

    Wow, what a lovely room you have put together. I love the colours, patterns and feel of the pieces you've picked.

    Well done!

    I should beg for help with my laundry room project!

  7. Adorable! My husband and I don't plan on having children for a while yet -but I have lots of childrens rooms saved for inspiration - I have two with tents - I think it's such a fun and magical thing for a child to have in their room!

  8. Good its really beautiful, Amazing i love it.

  9. very cute - love the colors!

  10. What to say, your ideas are more colorful or your blog.
    Still confused....

  11. I just got my fabric from Tonic , I got the same fabric as your drapes , it is so much nicer in person that I thought , beautiful woven ,now where to use it , living room lamp shades for sure.

  12. What a cute room ... I love the non-traditional colour palette. ... and the moose theme. Easy to grow with a toddler.

  13. delicious colours! i love blue & cranberry red!!

  14. Anonymous11:48 PM

    I LOVE this room. LOVE it.


  15. I love that Faux Bois rug!! Texture without being too rustic - perfect.

  16. Toddlers love to run around the house and explore different things. When renovating your house the three things you need to consider are safety, functionality and over-all design. My son just turned 1 last May, and what my husband did was to childproof the whole house because he's starting to walk and his safety is our number 1 concern. We also planned to have his old windows replaced. I searched online for vinyl windows. Bay area, as luck would have it, has a local contractor to help us with the installation of the windows. SF is where we currently live and moving here is the best decision we ever had!

    Goodluck guys with your renovation!


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