It's fitting that interior designer Baiyina Hughley consulted with 7-year-old Stephen Brown before redecorating his bedroom in his South Carthay home in L.A.
Sure, it was mom K. Pearson Brown’s idea to update his room. “Stephen shared his room with a queen-sized guest bed, alongside his pirate-ship toddler bed, which he had outgrown," Pearson said.
FOR THE RECORD
After publication of this post The Times learned that K. Pearson Brown had previously published some of her comments on her own blog.
“The rest of the room was furnished with mismatched hand-me-down pieces, and everywhere were piles of clothes and toys, with no place to put them.”
According to Hughley, Stephen had ideas of his own.
“We talked and he was curious about design,” Hughley said. “I wanted to give him a designed space that was open for him to put his personality in to. I like to create a shell and they can do with it what they may.”
After talking with Stephen, Hughley came up with a camping theme for the new room. She started with a tepee from House Inhabit on Etsy and from there, focused on simplifying the room.
Next came the inevitable discarding of the toys. “There were so many toys,” sighed Hughley. “You really have to constantly work on letting things go. We got rid of a lot of toys. I love turning that process of letting go into a positive experience. It wasn’t about loss, it was about gaining something -- an organized room.”
Toys are now stored in plastic bins from IKEA, drawers located underneath the bunk beds, and the teepee.
Because it was a budget project, Hughley made some of the room’s artworks herself. Above the desk she created a framed artwork out of patchwork paint samples from Lowes. She also framed a large-scale poster from the recent Alexander Calder show at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Hughley likes to use handcrafted Etsy items for kids' rooms. “You will find the most charming things on Etsy,” she said. “Things that are made with love. I was so excited to find a felt campfire set ($50). It has so much personality." She also installed striking removable white vinyl birch tree decals throughout the room from Decor Your Wall against the light gray walls.
Like most 1934 Spanish duplexes in South Carthay, Stephen’s room featured one tiny walk-in closet. Working with WoodTrac, Hughley assembled a closet with cabinets, drawers and cubby spaces. "It's still not a lot of closet space," Hughley said. "But when you clean up something and make it new, there is a new respect for your room and you start treating it differently. I went to the house a few weeks after I finished and Stephen had put a few of his favorite things on his dresser. The way the things were arranged was so thoughtful."
Baiyina Hughley’s tips for decorating kids’ rooms:
Cleaning house: “We got rid of a lot of toys. It was a positive experience. We turned it into something fun. I love turning that process of letting go in to a positive experience. It wasn’t about loss, it was about gaining. “
When shopping, don’t think “small”: “Look at adult stores to buy kids’ room stuff. Kid stores can be limiting.”
Etsy: “Etsy is great for kids’ rooms because you will find the most charming things that are made with love. I was so excited to find a felt campfire set for $50. And the tepee. What kid wouldn’t want that? You can see the love in every stitch and it has so much personality.”
Windows: “Always dress the windows. People forget to address the windows in a room. It has a transformative effect. ” Hughley paired black-and-white roman shades from Pottery Barn Teen with gray linen curtains from IKEA. The gun-metal black drapery rods are from HomeGoods.
Sense of ownership: “A child’s room should always give you the impression that a kid lives there. I think the carpet we chose from Overstock reminds us that it is a kid who lives here. Kids like color and they respond to color. Even if you go neutral on architecture, make the bedding, the rug, drapery and art colorful.”
Go vintage: “I really like to use a lot of vintage. You will find cool stuff that will give a room personality. There are a lot of thrift stores that are always getting rid of head boards. That is something you can get all the time. You can have it sprayed, or painted and just pairing it with a bed in a fun color is going to have the look of a designer bedroom and be super cheap. Or pair an inexpensive IKEA desk with a vintage Eames chair.”
Lighting: "This room had no lighting. A kid needs lighting. We added wall sconces from Urban Outfitters for $29. I went with a big-scale light fixture in the center of the room from Kartell. If you only have a few things in a room and you have a big light fixture, the room actually looks better. A small light makes a room look cluttered.”
Scale: “You have to think about scale. Get one or two things that set the tone and you can go cheaper on other things like the IKEA dresser. Not everything should pop. There should be a balance. You want a room to be calm.”
Pinterest: “Always use Pinterest. Start a board. Pin items. You’ll begin to see a relationship. You’ll start to see your style when you see how things relate. You can see if things work when pictures are right next to each other."