Before and After: A Brother and Sister Get the Bedrooms of Their Dreams

published Jul 8, 2023
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Designer Sarah Storms of Styled by Storms just worked with some of her most decisive clients to date: a 10-year-boy and his 7-year-old sister, who each had big ideas for their respective bedrooms connected by a small shared hallway. “The kids were promised upon move-in to have their dream bedrooms created for them,” says Storms. About a year later — with lots of convincing and persistence from the siblings — Storms was brought in to help make those visions a reality. “The goal was to create fun, colorful rooms that were appropriate for them now but also something that could grow with them,” she says.

Credit: Courtesy of Sarah Storms
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Aside from some remnants from the former homeowners (namely, old paint and old curtains), the spaces were essentially blank slates. That left a lot of room for Storms’ sibling clients to bring their inspiration and touches of their bold personalities to the table. “The older boy wanted three things: neon, LED lights, and navy blue that is almost black,” says Storms. “The younger girl wanted three things: lots of colors but pastel, a hanging chair, and a canopy bed.” 

Credit: Photography by Raquel Langworthy; Styling by Deirdre King

Armed with those instructions, Storms got to work putting together moodboards. Right off the bat, she wanted to hone in on wallpaper to make a major design statement in each room. The twist? The selected patterns — Aimee Wilder’s Star Tiger in the Glow colorway for the son and Hygge & West’s Daydream in Sunshine for the daughter — would take center stage in both places on the ceilings. “While taking advantage of the ‘fifth’ wall is not a new or novel concept, it sets the tone in the spaces,” says Storms. To complement the sky-like ceiling in the girl’s room, Storms decided to coat the walls in Benjamin Moore’s Sweet Bluette (813), a complementary light bluish-gray, while the boy’s room would go with the brand’s Polo Blue (2062-10) to check that “dark navy walls” directive off the list. His room has slightly sloped ceilings that meet at a smaller side wall, so Storms made the decision to paper that spot, too, which creates a natural focal point in the room. (She also papered the rooms’ connecting hallway in Schumacher and Happy Menocal’s Beasts to keep the pattern going in between the rooms.)

Credit: Photography by Raquel Langworthy; Styling by Deirdre King
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To prevent the son’s room from going a little too dark and moody on the whole, Storms left the trimwork white and brought in a lighter-colored striped flatweave rug to anchor the bed, and neutral woven wood Roman shades for the windows. She filled the wall opposite of the bed with large shelving units that would provide ample storage for books, trophies, and games — flexible furnishings for whatever requires storing at any given time. A homework setup with a handsome leather chair on casters from Overstock and a Crate & Kids classic wooden desk was part of the plan, too, just so there’d always be a place for studying or working. Striped blue bedding from Pottery Barn Teen echoes the pattern on the area carpet underfoot and feels more grown-up than character bedding. But Storms didn’t forget a little whimsy, either. She brought in a Pac Man neon light for the wall and Beatles-themed artwork to fill the blank spot above the bed. 

Credit: Photography by Raquel Langworthy; Styling by Deirdre King

Space was at more of a premium in the daughter’s room, so Storms had to get creative to fit in the requested twin canopy bed and Serena and Lily hanging chair. “We kept the furniture white and bright and selected an open bookcase instead of a closed cupboard to help give the illusion of lightness on the back wall, as the hanging swing is in that corner,” says Storms. A Jenny Lind for Crate & Kids nightstand, which matches the bookshelf, was brought in for extra bedside storage; both pieces were also chosen for the way they complemented the existing antique dresser and vanity placed on the wall of the bed. When it came to the bedding, Storms went soft and cozy — and indulged her client’s penchant for pink at the present moment. “The marshmallow-like texture of the blush comforter almost feels like you are floating on a cloud,” she says. A medallion rug and Rifle Paper Co. lumbar pillows round out the rest of the scheme.  

Credit: Photography by Raquel Langworthy; Styling by Deirdre King
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To ensure the rooms’ little occupants don’t age out of them too quickly, Storms stayed away from anything too juvenile in terms of motifs and invested in quality larger pieces that’ll stand up to use and still feel stylish well into the teenage years. “When designing kids’ rooms, I don’t love going for a theme,” says Storms. “Kids’ tastes change so quickly, and their rooms need the adaptability to grow with them. I like to invest in a quality rug, window treatments, and casegood furniture, like dressers.” It’s far easier — and more economical — to play around with bedding, framed art, and even wall color, says Storms. These elements can all be easily changed when you want to update a space.

Although these two kids’ rooms took about four months to pull together from concept and product ordering to shipping and install, they were well worth the wait. And although the rooms are perfect for right now, they can certainly be adapted down the line. Storms’ kiddo clients couldn’t be more at home in their personality-packed bedrooms, and the designer herself is pleased with the outcome, too. “I’m so happy with the result of these rooms,” she says. “They are both very colorful, but also very different and completely tailored to the individual client’s dreams.”