Kids Rooms’ Patterns & Prints

How do you choose patterns and prints for your kid’s room?  I was sitting in the chair at the salon today.  Alyse has done my hair for over 12 years.  While my hair was setting she took out her phone and started looking over my website.  She asked me this question, “how do you choose patterns and prints?”  With so many choices and options available it can be tough on a busy mom to begin to work through the layers of fabrics, patterns, prints, and colors.  I have been  a professional designer for over 20 years, so my brain is on designer auto pilot. It appears to be very  little thought and planning in how I choose fabrics.  My experience allows me to make good decisions for my clients and for my website too.   How do you choose fabrics when you are not the creative type?

I can easily style a room.  Style myself in fashion, NOT!!!  Several years ago I was working on a project with Vogue Bambini.  (A boutique children’s magazine whose parent company is Vogue.)  We were getting ready for the big kids runway show.  I packed very little to wear, for a trip that would be keeping me in New York City for over a week. What I did when I got there was watch what the “fashionable” gals were wearing and then modeled my wardrobe.  I am a NW girl, and believe me sandals with socks is not cool. I do have a savvy daughter who keeps me in the latest fashions in middle age professional mom.

Emily and Mom
She keeps me out of socks w/sandals.

In the same way we  model our fashions worn, we can model our fashions and style right into our kids’ rooms.  A designer is going to style your entire room.  We do it so easily because, like I said earlier, it’s like designer auto pilot.  To choose your patterns & prints you could hire a designer.  A good designer will get to know you, ask you questions and find what fits you, your lifestyle, and the character of your child.   I encourage that on my website, to contact me, so I can ask the questions before big decisions are made.  If you are going at it alone.

Here are some steps to help you along.

.1.  Are you someone who likes change? 

I personally do not like to keep changing things up in my home.  This is an important question to ask yourself.  The prints or patterns you choose for your child, will either easily transition through the ages, or need to be changed about every six months.  You little boy is in love with construction vehicles.  Every time you pass a construction site he is going bonkers bouncing and yelling “Tractor!” “Tractor!”  He has every heavy machinery toy made.  And then one day you see this.  The fabric that you will build this entire room around.  You will have a comforter, pillow cases, accent fabrics,window coverings and colors all around this investment.  Your son LOVE LOVE Love’s it.  The room is done and everyone is smiling until that moment when he now loves….drum roll please………trains, planes, sports, or animals, or bugs, or you name it.

So if you like change, have the means to spend all over again, then this is not going to be a  problem. Which is why I ask the question.  If you like change then it’s not to limiting how you choose your prints or patterns for your kid’s room because you will be doing it over with the shift of the winds.

If you are like me, like to do things once in every great while then choosing your print or pattern is going to be more involved, more mulling over, more questions to be asked.  So ponder this first question.

2.  What are the colors you want to live with for a while?

I get that this is your child’s space.  Personally a three-year old is not going to be making major financial decisions in my home, so I do still have a say in the prints and patterns chosen.  You will be spending a lot of time in this room.  So will your child.  What is it about your child’s personality that you could name with a few colors.  Is your child earthy and nature loving (green).  Is your child into transportation, sports, jungle animals (red, yellow, oranges and blues)  As you being to think through colors, it becomes a science to choosing the right colors for your child’s space.  Something that can easily transition from one season to the next.

3.  How do you narrow down the prints and the patterns?

First you find and then decide on your key pattern and print.  As I design for this website, I try to think of a specific personality, a specific kind of child.  Do the same, only you have the real child right in front of you.   Years of experience makes it easy for me to do this. For all practical purposes here is how I came up with the “Emma” collection.  I wanted a little girl’s room that felt like a country outdoor kind of girl.  I found this floral paisley print. I fell in love with it.  It all started with narrowing down other fabrics I had found, but the one I “loved” is what I chose and this became my key pattern and print.  If you have to talk yourself into loving a print or pattern, please move on.  Kind of like dating fabric.  You look, wonder, ask yourself some questions and then you come to the point of realizing either A. You are never going to love it, so you move on, or B. You love it and you are ready to move forward.  See just like dating.

Paisley, Floral, Diamond prints chosen.

3. How do I bring in other prints and patterns or do I?

The fun of decorating a kids’ room is how the prints and patterns work.  Once you fall in love with your  key pattern or print you now try to  find fabric accents.  If you are a play by the rules kind of person this might be hard for you. I don’t ever try to make colors match precisely. I would pull out the threads of my fabric if I did that. I try to find the best colors to bring out the best colors of my key pattern or print.  I tried different hues of reds, blues, tans, browns and realized that when I mixed a red accent it made the key pattern colors pop.  My eyes did the work. Visually it was a delightful surprise.  The harlequin blue fabric was the 3rd and what I thought would be the final fabric added.  Then I saw the navy and white large polka dot, which was perfect for the backing on the duvet cover.

4.  How does a non-theme pattern or print work long-term?

Thank you for asking.  A non-theme pattern or print works for a very long time, because you are never-changing out your design accents or choices of colors. You are just changing out the simple  decorations & accessories that are age appropriate to your child.  Here is a picture of the “Emma” Collection, designed and decorated with a little girl in mind.

“Emma” Room designed with
a little country girl in mind.

For the little girl who is not into pinks, loves the outdoors, and mama who wants to have a room that transitions this is how the patterns and prints work long term.

Young art to accent the
“Emma” collection

Then one day your little grow up a little, and then a lot. You have these colors invested in your bedding, your accents, your design.  Now take a look at some bigger kid accents.

5. How do the patterns and prints transition?

The transitions come with the changes in your accessories or accents. The changes and transitions come as your child begins to grow up, collect things and narrows down those things to that which works in the color scheme.  Notice on the nightstand of the first picture.  Cute little lamp, tea set and owl print in the back round.  Now notice the following pictures I have off the web, as examples how prints and patterns transition.

Take some cute pictures of your child w/a sibling
or friend in colors that match her room.

Let her hang her own art. Give her colors
that work in the room’s color scheme.

It is not always easy to know exactly what and how to make these transitions, but as you begin to settle into the colors of the prints and patterns you choose, you will be surprised at how much is out there. Kind of like the first time you bought a stroller. You never noticed a stroller in your life until you had your own. Then you suddenly see that everyone has a stroller. In the same way, once you have chosen your patterns and prints and you begin to see more clearly. Why?  You have your direction and you are now going in that pattern and print direction.

I really wanted to throw another picture of the “Emma” collection into the mix of pictures.  Here this picture has no accents. Just the prints and patterns. Look how this color scheme works with various older design accents. I started with one key pattern or print, the paisley fabric.

Take pictures of the outdoors in colors and hues
that match your room and her personality.

Carrying the same color scheme through out.  You never know what will be available when your child starts purging tea party and board books to floral and handbags.  Why not choose patterns and prints that will make the transition over the seasons of life.

If you are not ready to go it alone then it’s time to call on a designer.  We have a saying here at Hung Out To Buy. It goes like this…:”we’ve done all the designing, now you get to do all the shopping“.  I would love to help you in your process.  I hope this has been helpful as you begin the journey of decorating your kids’ room.  Choosing the design, the prints, the patterns for your children’s bedroom.

Call me, Elizabeth I would love to help.

I would love to hear from you.  If you have any questions and if this was helpful, I would love to know.


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