How to Design a Play Room the Whole Family Can Grow Into
April 21, 2017
Children & FamilyLiving RoomsInterior Design
The second my husband and I had twins, all semblance of a super cute, totally put together home went right out the window. It's the combo of toy explosion and pure chaos that seems to get in the way but Sean Anderson Design and Alyssa Rosenheck are giving me hope. This play room is proof that pretty decor and a room built for kids can go hand in hand.

Neutralize it!

An important thing to keep in mind when determining the color palette for a space for children is to choose colors that can age well as the children grow, this will eliminate the need for a "redo" down the road. Here, I began with a creamy white, providing a neutral, blank canvas on which to build the space. By avoiding the traditional use of primary colors that are sometimes deemed appropriate for children's spaces, I opted for pale pinks, soft greens, and touches of gold; creating a subtle, sophisticated environment. In addition, the same thought was used when selecting fabrics for the upholstery. By choosing neutral fabrics, it creates a timeless appearance that can be interjected with pops of color for the smaller, less expensive items, such as pillows; items that are easily replaceable or can be swapped out when needed.

Durability is key

Ask any parent and I'll bet they'll agree, when it comes to spaces for the little ones, durability is always near the top of the list of priorities. Here I achieved that in a few different ways: first, I had the Restoration Hardware sofa covered in a perennial fabric. It's indoor/outdoor capability provides not only incredible durability; but, an easy to clean surface- spills no longer create a permanent stain. Also, instead of surrounding the "craft table" with upholstered chairs, I chose acrylic ones. Again, they are easy to clean and eliminate the fear of play-doh permanently embedded in a seat cushion!


In design, functionality is always important to remember; but, this takes on extra importance when it comes to designing spaces for children, as these spaces tend to be multi-purpose areas. For this space, there was a desire for both a gathering spot, a place for television viewing, hanging out, etc. And an area to be designated for crafts and homework. I added custom built-ins throughout the room, each section of cabinetry with a distinct purpose in mind. Behind the seating in the gathering spot, wall to wall cabinets were installed to house items like books and blankets. Adjacent to the work station, floor to ceiling cabinetry was added to hold all craft supplies, board games, and miscellaneous toys. This added storage not only provided an answer for where to put such items, it eliminated any excuse for clutter.

Time-honored classics

By anchoring a child's space in some tried and true touches, you immediately create longevity. I did that here by adding elements such as velvet on the sofa and fixtures made of brass, elements generally associated with a more mature aesthetic but that work well when paired with the more playful, youthful moments. Combining the two create that "just right" balance that will last for years to come.

Add a touch of whimsy

It doesn't ALL have to be so serious. Even when attempting a more mature approach, it's important to incorporate some playful touches: whether that be in shapes, like the oversized bulbs that adorn the chandelier or in more artistic ways, like the paper mache animals that decorate the walls. Designing for children, it's essential that the magic never be forgotten.
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Vendor Credits
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Encaustic flower (image hanging behind craft table)
Catherine Erb
Wildflower image (framed image over shelves)
Jay Adkins
Slipcovered Swivel Chair
Lee Industries
Toy box/ storage
Made Goods
Sofa- in perennial velvet
Restoration Hardware