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Birdie’s Bedroom Reveal!! Designing WITH (Not For) Your Kids, And How We Exploded This Room With Color

Welcome to the reveal of my 8-year-old daughter’s room, and while she is desperate to be a teenager it truly represents her personality, her sparkle, her happiness, and her love of color and I’m really crossing my fingers that we have years with most of the pieces. And y’all it was SO MUCH FUN. I know I’m extremely lucky to have a child who is currently really into what I’m also into (design) and that might not always be the case, so for now, I’m full-on celebrating this very special 2-year collaboration and I’ll always remember the first room that we designed TOGETHER. (As a caveat, if your kid doesn’t seem to care, then just do whatever you want (or don’t), both of my kids have real design and style OPINIONS which I absolutely appreciate and want to honor so I work closely with them).

My goal was to let her take the lead, knowing that this room needed to match her personality which is very fun, energetic, colorful, and happy and she has OPINIONS about design and color, which I love. She mostly just loves all the colors – thus the Schumacher Butterly wallpaper we chose (which is the main thing I’m nervous that she’ll beg to change as a tween, TBH). I wrote about it a while ago here, but one of the bigger mistakes I almost made was trying to mute the colors and tame it down a bit, fearful that it was going to look just chaotic and not have longevity. We were working on her dollhouse together when I heard her squeals of excitement for the colors and wallpaper we were using on it (which were WILD), and that’s when I let it all go and said, “ok girl, let’s make this room YOU”. (See below at the bottom on what my takeaway from that is now). Now onto the room!!!

WAIT! You Rearranged! 

Ok, so two days before the shoot (and we really try to stick to deadlines these days), I flipped the bed on the opposite wall and all our problems were (almost) solved. It fixed the nightstand debacle because we didn’t have the limitations of the windows OR the closet door anymore. HOT TIP: Kids do NOT like to come home to their rooms rearranged, I think it feels weird to them, but it only took her a couple of hours to be on board and I fully understood. Once we put the bed here we played with our furniture again, the scallop table worked in the corner. Now, one of the only things I don’t love here is my vintage Saarinen table (on the right) simply doesn’t read enough to make it look balanced, but in person, it is actually fine. Maybe one day I’ll stumble upon the perfect nightstand (maybe not). Anyway, thanks to all for encouraging the room to flip – IT WORKED. 

The Art Studio Corner

This corner is my favorite because it is so functional for her to do arts and crafts, and yet so lively and fun, stylistically. She wants to be an artist and while I don’t need to give my opinion on how good she is, she is extremely prolific (produces 2-3 pieces a day), dedicated, and passionate and will sit there for hours and draw. I don’t know what I love more – the bulletin board we made together (see this DIY post), the hanging fringed lamp we bought together at the Monticello Antique Mall, or just how we kept the IKEA pedestal table I’ve had forever and found the right art cart to hold her supplies. It took a few tries to figure out how to arrange the room but in this corner (and with just one hanging light) it works so well.

Oversized Pink Lampshade (vintage) | White Tulip Table | Blue Task Lamp (vintage) | Chair (vintage) | Corkboard (DIY) | Large Wood Paintbrush | Disco Ball

And why yes, that is a disco ball on the ground (it’s where the sun hits the longest in the morning actually) and a giant paintbrush made by local artist Purl (@total_nonsequitur). We shot on the GLOOMIEST day, with no sun at all, so Gretchen used the flashlight on her phone to reflect light on the disco ball, but when there is sun it is extremely dreamy and reflects colorful light (from the window films) all over the room.

Art Cart | Green Pencil Holder

I LOVE that now the first thing you see is that vintage painting that I bought from local art dealer Fabius Grange. My goodness, it’s just incredible. It pulls in every single color in the room.

I got the art cart from Bed Bath and Beyond which took me FOREVER to find one that would sneak under the table that didn’t look like a kitchen utility cart. This one is more suited for paints, but we were able to take out a shelf and put in crafting tools. Both of our kids take a watercolor class after school one day a week and they LOVE it. Typically we don’t allow painting up here (carpet and all) but I might put down a washable rug and let her paint with washable watercolor (I got these watercolor pencils for her for Christmas so I’m curious if this would make it less dangerous). I would love to change the wheels on the cart to something less office-y but I probably won’t at this point 🙂 I’ve had the desk chair forever (vintage Paul McCobb) and I bought the blue task lamp on Facebook Marketplace when we first moved here for $60.

Wallpaper | Trim Color | Door Color | Desk (vintage) | Desk Paint Color | Mushroom Stool (custom upholstery with vintage quilt) | Gold Lamp | Sconces (vintage) | Art | Bed (vintage) | Duvet + Sham Set | Tassel Lumbar Pillow | Arch Pillow | Yellow Throw | White Side Table (vintage) | Yellow Task Lamp (vintage + similar)

Now for the other side of the room…TBH this is my least favorite shot because the side table just doesn’t show up!! Again, in person, it looked fine but here there is a clear imbalance and it drives me nuts. So I might change the table, but I wanted you to show how the room was laid out (also nice bed pillow styling, Emily, so messy). I mean, I could just paint that vintage tulip table, I’ve had it forever and shape-wise it’s a great contrast to the blue scallop table…TBD.

Desk (vintage) | Desk Paint Color | Mushroom Stool (custom upholstery with vintage quilt)

But this vintage scalloped table is SO CUTE now. I bought this also on Facebook Marketplace and it was awaiting its moment. Well, here it is. We painted it the week of the shoot this super dark blue/green called Rainstorm by SherwinWilliams and it turned out PERFECT. This was one of the decisions that Birdie and I didn’t agree on (she wanted a bright teal or a purple). I pulled rank and said that if she didn’t like it we could repaint it together after the shoot, but I need to do what’s best for the whole room and this darker color would ground the corner and I think she would love it more long term. She came home from school and loved it.

You are probably staring at the CUTEST mushroom stool EVER. I bought the vintage quilt from Shop Wilma (a local awesome vintage dealer) and had ADF Upholstery make it into one of her signature mushroom stools. The kids fight over this stool (Charlie uses it for his drum set) so I want to find another quilt and make another one so they each have their own because my goodness they are perfect. Farmhouse, but make it playful.

Storage Bench | Throw Blanket (unavailable)

The storage bench has her costumes and adds a little bit of softness to the bedframe (which I still want to switch out for something more simple, modern, and upholstered but she really doesn’t want to so at this point I think we are keeping this rickety bed until we need to upgrade).

The sconces though… I’ve been hoarding these for a while, unsure where they should go. And while they are far too fancy for an 8-year-old’s room they are perfect in here so somehow she’s the winner of these 1970s Italian beauties. They are incredible.

The desk is one of two places where she keeps all her “stuff” and she collected the porcelain swans while antiquing with me. I’ve had that Saarinen side table and the yellow lamp forever – both vintage.

Did You Change The Window Shades?

Colorful Window Film | Brass Switchplate | Window Shades

You might notice that the window shades have changed. The function of the easy Decorview shades (and how insulating they are) was not something we could give up, but I didn’t love how they looked at the top of the vintage diamond windows. So I reached out to Twopages because I was really impressed with the shades in our family room, and within weeks these custom-sized and lined white Roman shades arrived. I designed them to be fully functional, of course, but what I LOVE is that they act as a valance and actually hide the insulation shades underneath, so we leave them up for the most part! Since the glass is original (and therefore very thin) we keep the “undershades” closed most of the day in the winter to not waste heat. I just love how these made the room look so finished while keeping it looking cozy and modern.

Chair (vintage) | Round Pillow | Wicker Ottoman (vintage)

On the opposite side of the room (next to the painting) I put my second vintage Swedish chair (that no 8-year-old deserves but here we are) and it’s perfect. I may end up stealing it if it works in a more prominent room (the other one works perfectly in our guest room) but the scale works so well and I love how it pulls from the pink in the wallpaper, yet is a bit deeper and richer in a good way.

Wall Mirror | Jane Denton Wall Art | Shelves | Shelves Paint Color

Now for the other side of the room – we hung these cute scallop shelves (that we painted Silken Peacock by Sherwin-Wiliams) to display all her treasures, books, and art. We had to actually take off the brackets and screw them into the wall because they hung off the wall in a slanted way, FYI, but once up, they are sturdy and so cute (I feel like it’s a design flaw and for $80 each should sit flush against the wall so I wanted to warn you).

Shelves | Shelves Paint Color

I’m obsessed with her little clay sculptures and that painting she made of Oscar and Buttercup (with her COVID nanny who was an incredible artist).

What Do I Want To Add/Change?

I like to play a new game called “If I could snap my fingers” which is an exercise on what I would change if I could, obviously, just snap my fingers. For this room, I really want to add crown molding. We tried a DIY that totally failed the week before the shoot (I’ll show you in a bit) but it just feels unfinished. We are working on Charlie’s room in 2024 so I want to wait until we know for sure if want it in there and if so I’ll hire someone to do them both. And yes, I would like to simplify the bed to help the room look more like the rest of the house, but I’m in no hurry anymore. Maybe I’ll find a different nightstand to balance out the blue table, but again, would likely be something vintage I stumble upon (and sadly the wicker-skirted table is too wide and high).

Listen, it was not without some style/decision bumps along the way. We didn’t agree on everything and we had a few conversations about complaining (and entitlement, my kryptonite) but we landed in a good place – aka  “No I will not buy the $13 purple and lime green polyester canopy with LED lights you found via Pinterest, but yes, of course, you can use your own money to buy what you want after the photo shoot that is for our family business and I’ll happily help you :)”  Of course now it’s all done she loves it so much and I get to hear her telling her friends how she made the bulletin board and chose all the colors (selective memory, I def had to tweak them when she wasn’t noticing). And after much begging I even let her be in the YouTube video with me (where she proceeded to tell her friends she’s on YouTube, and I was legit mortified that people thought that I am encouraging my 8-year-old old have a YouTube channel! I am not!!).

Designing with your kids instead of FOR your kids can be challenging and I’m very lucky that this was easy for me to challenge (this was my dream room when I was a kid). My best advice is to limit the choices, don’t let them shop online by themselves – even on Pinterest, and let them express themselves in the lower stakes pieces (like the window films), making sure that any major investments have longevity or flexibility. And you can always do what I shamelessly do and bribe her with shopping money and a doughnut to go vintage shopping with me, where we found so many cute things in her room.

Don’t forget to watch the long-form YouTube video (Watch a short fun teaser below after the ad plays)!

Bedroom Resources:
Wallpaper: Schumacher
Carpet: Stark
Door Color: SW 6239 Upward
Trim Color: SW 7006 Extra White

Windows: Vintage
Colorful Window Film:
See this post
Roman Shades: Twopages
Insulated Blinds: Decorview
Switchplates: Rejuvenation
Vintage Desk Paint Color: SW 6230 Rainstorm

Mushroom Stool Upholstery: ADF Upholstery
Gold Table Lamp: Schoolhouse
Shelves Paint Color:
SW 9059 Silken Peacock
Wall Mirror: Bed Bath & Beyond
Large Wooden Paintbrush: Purl Samoheyl
Bed: Vintage
Bench: Bed Bath & Beyond
White Side Table: Vintage
Sconces: Vintage
Art Table: IKEA
Art Card: Bed Bath & Beyond
Wood Chair: Vintage


*Design by Emily and Elliot Henderson (and ARCIFORM)
**Photos by Kaitlin Green

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Karla
3 months ago

I absolutely love how bright and colorful and happy it is! I adore that you and Birdie worked together to create a room for her. <3

Ellie
3 months ago

I love it too! It’s fun and pretty and exuberant. I love that it was a joint project too.

Ashley
3 months ago

Love what you both did with this space! Such a fun room! And I love learning about the process of decorating with a Little. Bravo all around!

ST
3 months ago

So pretty!
You mentioned paint in the room – has she tried Kwik Stix or the likes? They are waterless tempera paint sticks in a glue stick style packaging. Very helpful for when kids want to paint but you don’t want a mess/no water access. Kids love them!

Susan Marie
3 months ago

This is insanely cute and fun. LOVE.