Transitioning a Baby’s Room Into a Toddler’s Room

Transitioning a Baby’s Room Into a Toddler’s Room

As Your Child Grows, Their Needs Change

When I first saw the topic for this months Design blog, I had a lot of questions. How was I supposed to contribute to this topic? I’m single, no kids on the horizon, I don’t even own a pet! What could I add to the wealth of knowledge that already exists on designing a child’s space that hasn’t already been said?

In thinking about how to approach this topic, I decided to focus on themes of design that can be applied to a variety of aspects for placemaking, themes that pay off when creating a space that is adaptable for kids throughout their many stages of growth!

Reality vs ‘Reality’ Shows

First, let’s talk a bit about how most people think about how a room transitions in comparison to how that transition actually happens. Our view of the interior design world; whether feed through Instagram, shows on HGTV, Pinterest, blogs or interior design magazines, makes change seem like this giant intensive ‘reveal’ moment.  You know what I’m talking about, that moment when the clients are guided into their new space with blindfolds over their eyes for the “big reveal.”   It’s almost always a mad dash at the end, “will they finish the space on time?” they start crying – either because they love it or hate it.  Magazines present a similar story; showing homes in different snapshots of time, the before and after photos.  It seems as if they where completed in one go.

But this is not the reality for most people! Unless of course you find yourself on an HGTV show or are a famous actor with unlimited funds and multiple homes.

It’s a Process

For the rest of us, the reality is that transitioning our rooms from one style or function to another is a long term process.  You replace one piece of furniture at a time, usually over an extended time. Perhaps the dining room chairs are old and you need new ones, or you have too many clothes for your existing wardrobe space. Very few of us are out there buying more then one piece of furniture at a time, myself included.

So when we talk about transitioning a baby’s room into a kid’s room. Don’t think that it will or even should happen overnight.  You won’t wake up one day with your baby now magically a toddler.  These changes happen over the course of years and adapting your space slowly, as time passes and your needs change, is the real reality.

So what does that look like and how can you create a plan that will help you do that effectively?   Let’s divide up our plan into a few sections.

Functional Planning

The baby industry is huge and there are millions of things to purchase, so purchase with care! Where possible, purchase furniture that is adaptable, so that it can transition to different purposes. For example a changing table that transitions into a chest of drawers, or a crib that can transition into a small bed. To do this you will need to know how you want the room to work for you and your loved ones.

Storage Planning

Regardless of age, storage is always a necessity. If you think adults need a lot of storage, I would argue, based on the looks of most of the kids room I’ve seen in my friends homes, that kids need even more storage!  An oversized wardrobe, a chest of drawers that have extra deep drawers, and large catch-all baskets;  these are all timeless pieces and will adapt well to varying needs.

Design Planning

One of the biggest challenges with incremental transitioning is keeping the look of your room harmonious while individual items change within it, a piece at a time.   When it does come time to change the rocking chair to a play area, or the play area to a desk, if you don’t have a clear idea of what you’re looking for, you will inevitably end up with a mish-mash of furniture with no connecting design or look.  My best advice, plan it out with an inspiration board of sorts, a few pictures that you’ve seen and loved.  Key word here: few.   Go overboard, with too many competing ideas, and you’ll end up in the same boat, with no clear concept or plan.

What if you Want to Completely Change the Look of a Room

Lastly, if long term planning is not your thing and you want to completely transform the overall look of a room (something with a dramatic impact but minimal financial investment)  you only need to change 3 things.  But you have to change them all.

  • Paint. If your wall and ceiling are light and bright, go dark! Paint the ceiling too.
  • Window coverings: Select a fabric that is similar to you newly painted walls.
  • Area rug: Replace the area rug with a colour that matches the drapery.

Cover Photo:  The 2T Suite Design at Evermore at West Village

Jim Stoops

Director, Design Services

Jim believes in ignoring the rules and creating spaces that are personal and tailored to the client.  His design style leans toward layered, saturated spaces with an identifiable history. His pro-tip: In small, open concept spaces, make the kitchen as seamless and integrated as possible.