When it comes to pushing the interior design envelope, few spaces in most homes are better suited to receive bright and bold colors, patterns, furniture and accessories than a child’s bedroom.
“(Kids) might be in this room for a certain number of hours each day, but their imagination should be able to travel freely” while they are there, said Justina Blakeney, whose bohemian-style, hand-drawn designs are the hallmark of her lifestyle brand, Jungalow.
Los Angeles-based Blakeney maintains a wildly popular decorating blog on her website Jungalow.com and boasts a sizable social media following. She has authored a pair of books that provide inspiring ideas and tips for achieving her signature boho-chic style at home, including “The New Bohemians Handbook: Come Home to Good Vibes” (Abrams Books), which was published last fall.
Her ever-growing product line is varied — from sofas and chairs to rugs and planters, and even wrapping paper and yoga wear — and is sold online as well as in stores, including Target, Living Spaces and West Elm.
Add Pottery Barn Kids to that list. In December, the company began peddling a line of Blakeney-designed bedding, furniture, accessories and gift items for children age newborn through preteen. Pieces range in price from less than $20 for a pillowcase to nearly $1,400 for a twin-size bed.
The line includes the same sort of mix-and-match, botanical-heavy prints as the wares she creates for adults, but with a more kid-friendly feel.
“My style is so whimsical and colorful, and I incorporate a lot of animals and plants and stuff already. I almost didn’t have to change my style at all,” the 38-year-old Blakeney said recently. For the Pottery Barn Kids line, “it was more about putting things together in a slightly different way, with kids in mind.”
Even if youngsters don’t always understand or appreciate the white-hot bohemian aesthetic. “I definitely don’t think they get it in the same way that (adults) get it,” she said.
Rather, kids “innately have a personal style, and I think things get sort of formulated more concretely as they grow,” she explained. “But I think that untamedness and that wild side and that unbridled creativity is already there in children.”
Blakeney said she hopes the items and spaces she designs for little ones “help to enhance and inspire that creativity.”
“It’s that sense of wonder and … exploring the Earth and beyond that I tried to capture,” she said.
Meanwhile, Magic Disco Caravan has “sort of this nomadic, Burning Man festival vibe, which I think transcends all ages,” she said. “It’s that feeling of, like, we’re all out in the desert … and we’re dancing, and there’s an infinite amount of stars, and just this feeling of a big party where everyone gets to tap into who they truly are.”
Both the Jungalino Nursery and Jungalino Room collections include white quilts adorned with teal palm fronds and sheets printed with fanciful tigers and elephants.
The hand-drawn characters featured in an accompanying wall mural are directly inspired by stories about the Glump Glump Forest, a mythical land concocted by Blakeney and her 5-year-old daughter, Ida, who also helped to name pieces for the Pottery Barn Kids line.
“I feel like more than a stripe or polka dot could ever do, having these characters that aren’t known characters … really can inspire kids to come up with their own ideas and their own stories,” Blakeney said. “It is really what I hope people get out of this collection.”
When decorating a child’s room, parents shouldn’t be afraid to mix things up.
Blakeney also advises parents to purchase quality furniture and bedding pieces.
“When it comes to stuff for kids, they grow out of things so quickly, so you get tempted to buy cheaper stuff or things that won’t last as long,” she said. The items in her collections are designed “to kind of grow with the child, so there’s a non-throw-away element” to them, which also makes them suitable for handing down to other family members.
With kids, comfort is key. Blakeney said she thought a lot about the tactile elements of children’s rooms while designing the collection.
“The rugs are really plushy, because I know my daughter likes to dig her fingers in and roll around and do gymnastics and be a little wild on the rugs and floors. I think things that have fun textures are really important.”
Also, don’t overlook the benefits of fun lighting, she said. “Things that glow in the dark or things that sparkle do create that sense of wonder … and also can help with bedtime” rituals.
Jannicke Ramso, owner of the full-service Las Vegas design firm Tiny Little Pads, agrees. Lighting “is so important, but kids don’t realize it,” she said.
Parents may wish to equip fixtures in children’s rooms with dimmer switches. “If you’re playing, you need a lot of light. If you’re napping, you barely need light. And at night, it all changes.”
Ramso designs high-end nurseries as well as bedrooms, playhouses and play spaces for infants through preteens. (As part of her company’s services, she also plans parties and other events for youngsters.)
Before beginning an interior design project, she tries to meet with parents and kids in person or via FaceTime or Skype to learn more about them and gather their suggestions for the space.
“Designing is creativity, and that’s what kids are all about. They are so inspirational,” Ramso said. “You just have to present it to them in the right way — that we are creating something — and get their ideas.”
It is important for a child’s room to reflect “the uniqueness of the kid, whatever that is,” she explained. “What are they into? What do they like? What makes them happy?”
A child’s bedroom design “is a part of how they grow up and how they’re influenced — how they keep it tidy, how they keep it messy,” Ramso said. “All of these things reflect their personality and their changing world as they grow.”
Ramso’s background is in hospitality design. A firm for which she previously worked designed award-winning interiors at Strip casinos, including the Encore, as well as nightclubs, bars, restaurants, retail spaces and spas locally and around the world.
A mother of two children (her third child is due this spring), she said the muted colors and the butterfly-adorned upholstered wall that were in her eldest daughter’s nursery were inspired by Encore designs. For the room’s chandeliered ceiling, she created a multicolored, faux-carousel canopy that paid homage to the Parasol Down lounge at Wynn Las Vegas.
The ceiling of a child’s room is “a blank canvas” that often goes overlooked, Ramso said. “Babies and kids spend a lot of time in bed. It’s another outlet for something fun and to be creative.”
She also enjoys mixing modern pieces with vintage accessories in nurseries and children’s rooms.
“That goes back to the (child’s) uniqueness. … It’s not just about going out to stores and buying brand-new everything,” Ramso said. “We all have a story. A baby doesn’t have a story yet, but there are always pieces that have been in the family, and there is a story behind them. I always like to incorporate that into a design.”