Talking Trends: Kids’ Spaces

If you are planning to redecorate your kids’ spaces this year or building or buying a brand new home, you’ll need to be in the know about what’s hot and what’s not for kids’ décor in 2016. Here are some tips from Triangle home design and construction experts.

Color Trends: Gray is Great

Kids Spaces by Taylor Morrison

Trendy kids room by Taylor Morrison.

The experts say we are trending away from the more traditional pink, blue and other pastel nurseries for babies and young children that were so common in the past. Instead, gender-neutral colors accented with other shades – soft or bright – are becoming much more popular. “Gray is the new beige,” says Lynda Sargent, vice president of sales and marketing for national home builder K. Hovnanian. “Gray is a big color throughout the house and it’s a neutral that goes with everything. It works for girls’ rooms and for boys,” she says, “and it’s a color you don’t outgrow.”

Danielle Hunt of Taylor Morrison concurs. “We are especially seeing interest in the cooler grays, as well as in blue-gray and pale blues,” she says.

Lennar Nursery

Gray is a popular color for nurseries.

Making it Modern

“Nursery designs are becoming much more sophisticated,” says Cristina Hobbs, Director of Forward Planning at Lennar. “Gone are the days of cutesy baby rooms. Instead, new parents are opting for a more neutral, sophisticated color palette incorporating furnishings and accessories with a modern, high-end feel. We are seeing a lot of gender-neutral colors, bold accent walls and funky wallpaper designs. We did one nursery recently in Austin Creek in Wake Forest that is completely gray and white with strong punches of black.”

Hobbs says the nursery is increasingly a place where “not only mommy and baby but also daddy and baby bond and spend that special time together. The space is therefore reflecting both mommy’s and daddy’s aesthetic.”

Active Themes for Older Kids

Sports themed room by Taylor Morrison

Sports themed rooms are great for active kids.

Sports themes, a tried and true decorating theme, remain popular for older children’s bedrooms. “Many kids’ rooms are still designed with sports themes or accents like football, baseball, soccer or basketball for boys,” says Hunt. “Lacrosse is also a big theme now. And for girls, some of the most popular sports themes include cycling, dance and gymnastics.”

These sports themes may show up in patterns and designs in bedding, window treatments, artwork, and accessories such as pillows or lamps, as well as in rugs with a sports-themed design.

Many homebuyers are opting for neutral walls and basic bedding – in gray, taupe or muted greens or blues – for their older children’s rooms, and then adding pops of color such as a bright red chair or bold geometric patterned curtains in a bright blue and white. This type of décor will easily transition from a children’s space to a guest room once a teen goes off to college.

Multi-Functional Modules

Kids’ spaces are increasingly multi-functional, as some families opt for smaller homes and want to make the most of every inch of space with smaller square footage. “Children’s rooms are now sometimes serving as bedroom/study/playroom all in one,” Sargent says. “They are multi-purpose spaces for children in many families.”

Taylor Morrison kids room

Taylor Morrison creates functional spaces for kids.

For families who do desire a separate study/play area for their kids, lofts are a big trend. Lofts that combine study and play areas are often located in the center of the home, where parents can see and hear their children. “They are like mini-family rooms just for the kids,” Sargent says. “Lofts that are furnished with two desks – sometimes built-in – a sofa and a flat screen TV are very popular with today’s young families.”

Whether it’s a loft or a separate and self-contained room, many new homes are being built with a room which functions as a retreat for the children. “Older children need a dedicated retreat to study, play with toys, watch movies and have friends over,” says Hobbs of Lennar. “The children’s retreat must be separate from the home’s family room, able to house a multitude of functions from homework to video games and, preferably, have doors to help shut out the play sounds. Décor and furnishings are fun, vibrant and multipurpose. This is not a room for mom and dad. This is a cool space for kids and friends.”

A “must have” for kids’ lofts or study/playrooms is a feature such as a built-in or modular work/homework station that is set up for digital media like iPads and laptops, says Danielle Hunt.

Bonus Rooms Become Game Rooms

Lennar kids room

Lennar’s multi-use kids’ spaces are extremely spacious.

Bonus rooms are edging into game room territory. “They are definitely high tech and designed for gaming stations,” says Hunt. “They include TVs, gaming chairs, or sofas and other types of comfortable seating.” Graphic designs and bold patterns and colors work well in many game rooms. Though traditionally bonus and game rooms have been carpeted, Hunt says she is “now seeing a lot of hardwood flooring in bonus rooms as well.”

Mudrooms Include Kids’ Storage

Mudrooms that are adjacent to the garage and kitchen entry continue to be a very popular trend with many families. “Benches, hooks and cubbies for sports equipment and backpacks are very important,” says Hunt. Tile or other easy to clean flooring is most common in these spaces.

Mudrooms or other spaces in the home where kids gather are sometimes accented with a wall painted with blackboard paint, perfect for erasable art or making lists of chores that can be checked off. Some of the model homes in Preston Development’s Knightdale Station feature chalkboard walls in their mud/laundry rooms.

So take advantage of open houses or home tours in new neighborhoods in the Triangle. If you’re planning a move, a redecorating project or just looking for fresh ideas to consider in 2016, it’s a fabulous – and free – way to keep in touch with today’s design trends for kids and the whole family.

Apps and Sources to Help You Design Your Child’s Space

Colorsnap: This is a free Sherwin Williams app that can match wall colors as well as suggest a Sherwin Williams color match from a photo of a room’s wall color.

MagicPlan: This free app allows you to draw an accurate floor plan by taking pictures of your rooms.

Houzz: This site features thousands of photos of homes, all types of rooms, gardens and outdoor spaces and almost anything you can imagine. You can easily search for ideas by putting in keywords like “children’s bedroom” or “game room” to pull up images. Set up a free account and create your own catalog of ideas.

Pinterest: Another excellent and free site that’s great for generating ideas or saving images of things you like for your own reference.

By Katherine Kopp