So you’re decorating a kid’s room and you’ve locked in a cute (but not overly saccharine) theme and a gender-neutral color palette, but what about storage? Although often overlooked, storage is a quintessential addition to kids’ sleeping quarters. While kids’ room storage shouldn’t be a bore, you also want stow options that are designed to grow effortlessly with your child. Sounds like a tall order? We’re here to help! We polled the pros to get their take on the smartest storage options for tots, tweens, teens, and everything in between! Get their best tips ahead.
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First Things First: Do a Declutter
Before you even begin to forage for storage, do yourself a favor and do a purge, says designer Nicole Arnold. “Start by decluttering the room and discarding unused items,” she recommends. Next, “Divide the remaining objects into categories,” she advises. “Doing so will make it easier to organize and locate items later on.” Storage is most effective when you’re only storing the things your child actually reaches for. Pitch decommissioned nursery gear to the Goodwill or haul it out to the garage for later use. The same goes for outgrown clothes, books, and toys. The more space you have for storing your kids’ everyday items, the better. Children are also more likely to take ownership of a room if they feel like it’s not also being enlisted for adults’ long-term storage. “Involve your child in the organizing process and teach them the importance of keeping their room tidy,” says Nicole.
With your room detoxed of clutter, it’s a good time to assess your room’s blueprint and potential for built-in storage. “Well-designed storage is key,” says designer Lauren Wills Grover of the Houston-based firm Wills Design Associates. In a recent girl’s room located in the Hamptons, for instance, Lauren opted to transform a window nook into a storage opportunity by introducing a built-in window seat bench with storage. Topped with cushions that can be removed to reveal the interior storage cubbies, the unit does double-duty as both storage and furniture. Not sure you’re ready to hire a carpenter to trick out your kid’s digs? Designer Lisa Gilmore is a fan of kid’s beds with storage tucked underneath. Slim, tuck-away drawers are perfect for storing clothing accessories like socks, hats, or other cold-weather gear.
“Tapping into the interest of a child can really help with organizing,” says designer Lisa Gilmore. “For instance, we recently used a mixture of custom built-ins and gym lockers for a sports-themed room.” You might also take a cue from your child’s hobbies when it comes to storage. Crafting, for instance, might warrant using a pegboard to hang art supplies, or for a child who loves dress-up, consider working in a garment rack to display playtime frocks. One upside of themed storage? When storage encourages a child to interact with it in a playful manner, there’s a higher chance of them actually using it.
Make it Accessible
In the spirit of integrating storage that kids actually use, make sure any storage you add is easily accessible and clearly designates what it’s intended to store. “I love a mixture of closed and open storage,” says designer Lisa Gilmore. “Some things are great tucked away, but other items are easily forgotten about if they’re not housed in an open way.” Lisa recommends open-air storage for items with high look-over potential, such as art supplies like yarn, markers, or paints. Rather than stuffing them into a drawer, try displaying them in easy-to-peep baskets or clear plastic bins purchased from a hardware store. Whatever you end up selecting, heed designer Nicole Arnold’s game-changing advice: “Keep your storage at child height so they can easily access and put away their belongings.” If a child can’t reach storage areas, there’s zero chance of them using it.
Create a Workspace
Whether it be homework or art projects, most kids’ rooms double as workspaces. Designer Gideon Mendelson, creative director of the NYC-based firm Mendelson Group, Inc., deems it wise to carve out organized workspaces to corral the clutter that accompanies childrens’ projects. “In terms of organizing, I’d start by investing in a sturdy desk that provides enough surface area for homework,” he says. Keep an eye out for a piece with storage options to keep things tidy and separated from the rest of the room. Secretary desks can be an inspired pick in these instances. Possessing the storage aptitude of a custom built-in, secretary desks often come equipped with a mix of drawers, cubbies, and closed-door cabinets. If the designs you come across seem too sophisticated for kids’s room, try a Danish Modern style. With their simple design, Danish Modern secretary desks feel like a natural complement to even the most elementary of kid’s rooms.
Lead phesign by Mendelson Group, Inc. / Photo by Eric Piasecki