Kidding Around

Fun, colorful, and imaginative, these rooms are designed for the younger set.

A home redesign should consider the wants and needs of everyone in the house, including the littlest residents. Children deserve their own distinctive space that reflects who they really are—whether it’s a rumpus room where they can kick back and be silly with their friends, or a bedroom created just for them. 

When Winter Park interior designer Pam Niemann ( works with clients who have children, she encourages them to let their kids participate in personalizing their room. “Let it be their space—truly unique to them,” she says, adding that the design doesn’t have to flow with the rest of the house. “Kids should be free to express themselves and feel their room is a special place.”  

This doesn’t necessarily mean anything goes. Parents are, of course, part of the process. “We first consider the tastes of the child, provided we have the green light from their parents,” says Christy Scanlon, president of Masterpiece Design Group ( Typically, she begins with a fact-finding session to determine the child’s likes and dislikes and furniture and space needs. 

“Designing a child’s room presents many fun challenges,” she adds. While the goal is to create a room that makes her young client happy, “it’s also important to provide the parents with a plan that works aesthetically and functionally.”

Design partners Susan Pridgen and Shona Binkowski of PB Interiors ( enjoy youth design because it allows them to use bolder colors and patterns in ways that may not work well for other areas of the home. “We can take more design risks with whimsical elements and creative materials,” Pridgen says.  

Color direction is usually a big factor. “I have never had a child who didn’t have strong opinions on color,” Niemann says. She once worked with a teenage boy who wanted his entire room to be black. Niemann had to convince his mother that it would be okay. She painted the walls and ceiling black, added black carpet, and then installed a glow-in-the-dark solar system on the ceiling. “The cornices were crescent moons,” she says. “Paint can be the simplest way to impact a space. The good thing is that as time goes on and ideas change, it is easily repainted to reflect a different direction and design.” 

Often, a child’s room will have a theme, and inspiration can come from various sources. For Scanlon, a vibrant Lily Pulitzer design seemed like a natural fit for a young girl who lived with her parents in West Palm Beach. “Lily Pulitzer’s famous style is firmly rooted in the Palm Beach aesthetic,” says Scanlon. “It says ‘anything is possible with sunshine and a little pink.’ ”

Whether it’s a newborn’s nursery or a young adult’s college apartment, the goal, says Pridgen, is to design a room that can grow with the child. “It’s an opportunity to think outside the box to create spaces that are unique for each child at their stage of life.”


Artist Wendy Johnson has been dabbling in art and design ever since she was a teenager painting on her bedroom walls—with her parents’ permission, of course. Now, as a wife and mother of two, she has started her own company called Stroke of Genius, in which she hand-paints custom “murals” that can be shipped and assembled anywhere. Her technique is to paint elements of the design on pieces of canvas, which can be glued onto the wall (Johnson recommends using white glue that is water soluble and non-toxic). 

“I did a design for a little boy who loves space,” she says, “so I put a fun twist on his room by adding rocket ships with friendly aliens.” For her own two children, she has created an Australia room and an underwater fantasy room. The one thing she won’t do is replicate copyrighted images. She’d rather create an original serene space that is personalized for the client.

Cost depends on the theme, painting style, and number of pieces involved. The underwater fantasy room has 63 pieces and took roughly 90 hours to complete. The cost for a similar room would be $3,500-$4,000. More simple designs run $500-$750.

For more information, call 407-415-5787 or visit

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Categories: Home and Garden Inspiration