Today I am hosting a wonderful guest post by my sister-in-law, Kamie. I have always admired the simplicity with which she keeps her home and provides such restful and relaxing spaces for her family. Today, she is writing about how she put together a restful and appropriate space for a shared bedroom for my 5 year old niece and 3 year old nephew.
We share a love for handmade items (and for creating for the family) but I am in awe of her ability to keep true to a very simple and Montessori inspired environment, especially keeping noisy, electronic toys out of the bedroom – but it makes so much sense to do so, now that I think about it! Definitely something to consider changing about our children’s bedrooms as they grow out of the noisy toys that they do have.
Interestingly enough, the same bird mobile that hangs in her children’s room is also hanging in Joseph’s room above his bed . . . the Michael Olaf mobiles are fantastic items. We love them!
So, with no further ado, my sis-in-law’s wonderful piece on designing a peaceful space for her children:
Creating a Peaceful Bedroom for Children
By Kamie Thornton
As adults, we all want a beautiful space into which we can retreat. Our children’s bedrooms should be no different. Our bedrooms are personal spaces reserved for self care and rest. When creating the shared bedroom space for my 3- and 5-year old children, I wanted to include aspects of order, creativity and nature. I also hoped to encourage independence and responsibility in my children.
A clutter-free space allows for calm and relaxation. Providing a place for each item helps to keep a room tidy. By limiting toys, we can ensure a peaceful and restful bedroom environment. I wanted to allow for quiet activities in the bedroom, so I chose to keep a small selection books for reading, which are rotated out, and a notebook and writing tool for journaling before bed. My daughter especially enjoys the pre-slumber journaling. It seems as though she is processing parts of her day when writing or simply drawing on paper. The bedroom also contains favorite stuffed animals.
We keep no electronics or noisy toys in the bedroom, apart from a CD player for playing relaxation music at bedtime. I also kept the color palette simple, with a few different colors to keep a calm and relaxed feel, while still incorporating color to the room.
Artwork and Decor
I want my children to have an appreciation of nature… sights, sounds, textures, and the natural rhythm of the day that the sun’s light provides. During the day, I make sure that I open the blinds to allow natural light into all rooms in our home, as well as their bedroom. The art pieces that I chose for the room are prints of birds, similar to those that my children enjoy watching in our backyard. Art hung at the child’s level, rather than at an adult’s eye level, places the art so that a child may actually appreciate it. Children can appreciate real art just as well as an adult can, so rather than choosing commercial characters, or typical children’s room decor, I chose art pieces that I found to be beautiful.
The artwork above the children’s beds are prints of watercolor paintings found on Etsy. If you like these, you can find these prints and others by ‘Lighthearted Dreamer.’ A bird mobile also hangs between the beds.
This is a beautiful mobile that has been a part of my youngest child’s room since infancy. The mobile is perfectly balanced, and the birds appear to dance when touched by the slightest breeze. Mobiles like this one can be found at MichaelOlaf.com.
Other ways to incorporate natural elements into a room are through the textiles. I prefer natural fibers in general. In this room, the rug and bedding are made of cotton.
When putting my children’s room together, I considered how I could encourage independence and self-responsibility in my children. I knew that I wanted them to easily enter and exit their beds on their own, and to successfully make their beds in the morning. To do this, I chose beds that were low to the ground.
These beds are inexpensive IKEA finds. I did not like the headboard, so I opted to cover it with batting and a fabric slipcover. I also chose to make the blankets on the bed to help facilitate the children successfully making their beds.
These blankets provide great coverage on their bodies when used to sleep, but are shorter and a bit less wide than a typical twin-sized blanket, making it easier for them to maneuver when making their beds. I also feel that handmade items are made with love, and add a special warmth to any room, so making the blankets myself helped me to incorporate having handmade items in the room.
Lights and Clothes Storage
Above their beds, the children have wall lamps to provide light when reading and journaling before bed, or for night time trips to the bathroom. The children are able to easily turn these lamps on and off on their own. There is only a nightlight bulb in them and the illumination is low, so as not to fully disrupt the natural night time feel of the dark with bright artificial light. I wanted to encourage independence in dressing each day, and for my children to be able to neatly put their laundered clothing away on their own. I have provided them with low drawers so that they may easily access their clothing when dressing.
I also placed picture-with-word labels on the front of the drawers so that the children can clearly see what is inside each drawer. Not every article of clothing is kept in the drawer spaces. I don’t want my child to feel overwhelmed by the selection of clothes for the day. Only a few choices are kept in the drawers; the rest is kept behind the closet door.
Each child also has a small laundry basket for dirty clothes, which they are able to carry by themselves to the laundry room. Then we can work together to complete the laundry task.
The children’s bedroom environment has turned out to be a simple, calming space. The space allows them to easily maintain order of the room, to relax with soothing activities, to retreat to when sleep calls, and to dress independently.