Name & Age: Lainey (4)
The last time we visited Lainey she was sharing a room with her little sister, Nella. The two girls are the stars of Kelle Hampton's well loved blog, Enjoying The Small Things. Kelle recently decided that Lainey should have a room of her own, but there were no empty bedrooms. Never one to let "minor" details hold her back, Kelle set out to create Lainey's new bedroom in the dining room. We see a pattern emerging here, as the room that Lainey shared with Nella used to be an office. Rock on with the repurposed rooms.
This used to be a dining room! How did you bedroom-ify it and where does your family eat now?
Yes! It was a dining room that we used about twice a year, and with a growing family, it was such a waste of a great space. We have a sort of breakfast room off our kitchen that houses a dining room table and, being that it's far more laid back (our style!), that's where we eat. We had this old dining room space then closed off and repainted it. Structurally, that's the only thing we changed. There isn't a closet in this room, but we had an armoire handed down to us, and it works perfectly as a closet for a small child. We just added a tension rod inside of it for hanging clothes, and there's still room for shoes, toys and books.
How was Lainey involved in decorating her new room?
While I chose the direction of the room (believe me, if she was completely in charge, it would have been a hodge podge mess of Hello Kitty, puppies, Dora and cats), I gave Lainey a lot of choices between two things. "This pillow or this one?" "Hang this picture here or here?" These kinds of decisions--ones that don't necessarily change the entire look of the room--gave her a great sense of ownership and involvement. We also made a lot of the elements in her room, and Lainey was involved in any crafting process from decoupaging letters and gluing felt to pillows to painting her own wall canvases.
Any changes planned for the lovely room that Nella now has to herself?
Hopefully, someday, it will be a double bedroom again for another baby, but for now, it's a nice open space with more room to play. Although that room has an entirely different "feel" from Lainey's new room, I have sentimental ties to everything in it. It's the room I designed when I was waiting to be a mama, and I still love everything about it.
You didn't tackle this room project solo; it seems like your dad was a major help. Who else pitched in and how did they contribute?
Before we actually moved everything, painted, put things in places, etc., there were weeks of picking things out and making things at our kitchen table. It was a project station mess. Brett did little "honey-do" jobs like moving furniture, putting screws into the wall, leveling picture frames, etc. And then my dad flew down for one weekend and stayed in that room until it was finished.
What is your favorite element in the room?
Definitely the quilt. It ties everything together, and it's old and soft and torn in some places, but I love it that way. It feels very homey. I also love the toys on the wall (a last minute idea) and the jars full of gum balls and marbles.
What was the greatest decorating challenge?
I hated the chandelier in the room. We had planned on taking it down as I insisted it couldn't be a part of the room--it just screamed "dining room" to me. Turns out, it's one of my favorite things. My dad suggested we leave it up but make it a focal point by painting it crazy colors. I didn't think it would work, but once I started painting, I fell in love with it. It's very child like and fun.
I also didn't think there was enough space in the room to keep Lainey's play kitchen in it but, miraculously, everything fits with room to spare and a nice open rug space for play.
What do your friends say about the room?
They love it. It gets described as "homey," "colorful" and "fun," and I always fall in love with a space even more once I see friends in it. The room works great for Lainey's friends, and peeking in on them playing in there makes the room even more special.
What was your biggest indulgence?
Hardly indulgent, but other than the bed we found on Craigslist (which we already had), the item that cost the most money was the shelf above her bed--a whopping $39, on clearance. The dresser and armoire were given to us, and everything else in the room was either things we already had or things I purchased very inexpensively.
What advice would you give to someone designing a child's room for the first time?
Things don't have to match, and use what you have in your home to decorate! This room incorporates a lot of colors, so bending the rules was easy. One afternoon spent digging through toy baskets actually gave me a lot of the decor I used on the wall--the xylophone, a souvenir taxi I picked up in New York, a vintage Fisher Price camera, etc. Mason jars I found in my kitchen worked as great knick-knacks for shelves once I filled them with gum balls, crayons, dominoes, etc. These pieces ended up being key elements in tying in that vintage play theme.
What is your dream shopping source?
Etsy, Etsy, Etsy.
• Quilt: Vintage, Ebay
• Rug: Lowe's
• Curtains: Clearance, Ikea. Ours are discontinued but similar ones here.
Shelf above bed: Pottery Barn Kids
•Paint Color: Behr Pensive Sky
• READ letters: cardboard letters (Joann's) decoupaged with pages of children's books (explained in this post).
• Vintage toys (xylophone, dominoes, marbles, etc.): World Market
• Retro Clock: Target
• Styrene Photos above dresser: WHCC Labs (8"x8" photos mounted on Styrene)
• Small bordered art canvases: Joann's
Thanks Kelle! Readers, visit Kelle and her girls at Enjoying The Small Things and say hello.
(Images: Kelle Hampton)