A Little Girl’s Room Grows Up!
Designer Jennifer Connell takes on the sentimental project of renovating her college daughter’s bedroom.
We all know the day will come when our children are no longer little kids, or even tweens, but young adults. Their lifestyles and tastes mature and that carries over into their bedrooms. They no longer love that pretty pink princess bed or that giant hockey mural on the wall. Such was the case for designer Jennifer Connell when her youngest daughter Katie left for college.
When your daughter Katie left for school you decided to renovate her room. What did her room look like and what was your objective with this renovation?
Well, to be honest, this is the third renovation I did for Katie. It comes with the job. The first time I changed her room, she was twelve, and it went from a little girl’s room with soft pink walls, sky ceilings and a hand-painted monogrammed bed to bright highlighter-yellow walls, a vibrant orange rug and lots of white and turquoise accents. I bought her a modern built-in platform bed and some mid-century modern furniture. It was quite energetic, but that’s what she wanted at the time, and she loved it – at least for a while! Then she started getting headaches and blamed it on the wall bright colors (smart girl). What could I do?
How did Katie’s style and interests influence the direction of your renovation?
As Katie grew older, she developed a different style than what she had previously wanted as a child. She favored a soft Bohemian look with lots of blues and creams. So when she left for college I promised Katie that I would re-do her room for her. I wanted a soft color, free of headaches! I chose Benjamin Moore Oyster paint for the walls and replaced the bold Designer Guild turquoise and white cabana stripe window treatment with softer Designers Guild Blue ombre panels. I also looked for fabric designers that carried BoHo lines that I knew Katie would love!
Where did you go for inspiration?
Honestly, everything inspires me; I’m so visual that I take in everything around me. I exhaust myself from it sometimes. There are so many talented designers out there that inspire me. I find them on social media like Instagram and Pinterest – the best thing for inspiration since sliced bread!
I have a couple of go-to designers and architects I see on my newsfeeds every day. I adore them. I follow them. I like their images! I ask my clients to do the same and create folders of images they prefer in social media such as Houzz.
Discuss the sentimental aspect of getting rid of your daughter’s childhood possessions?
I still have Katie’s bed and her baby furniture. I’m holding on to it. I don’t know why – I guess you can say I’m sentimental. I’m sure Katie will want new furniture for her children when she has them. When we sell our house, I’m going to have a big estate sale so that I can start over. If she wants her childhood furniture, I’ll hold on to it for her. If not, maybe I’ll find a lovely family with a little girl whose initials are CKG!
How does the functionality of a room change as kids become young adults?
I am all about function. If a room does not function it doesn't matter if it’s drop-dead gorgeous, you can’t enjoy it.
Everyone thinks kids need a desk, but they don’t. Adults need desks; kids need space to spread out on like a nice big bed. That’s where you find them doing their homework. They need drawer space for their athletic stuff, workout stuff, socks, etc. I love luxury sheets, but we have dogs in this house, and those dogs go wherever they want. So the bedding has to be washable and durable.
For the Boho feel, I chose John Robshaw pre-made bedding. I also used John Robshaw fabrics to create custom pillows for Katie’s West Elm Sofa. I used soft blues, pale lavenders, and white accents. I just removed one piece of furniture because it was a dumping ground – Katie’s desk.
Now for the million-dollar question....
Did Katie like her new room?
How did she react seeing her room for the first time? Yes, she did love it, she ran up to me and gave me a huge kiss and hug and said I love it! Wait, No that was my dream. She said she loved it and was happy she wouldn't have any more headaches!
Six "Coming of Age" Design Tips for a Child's Room
- Switch to more classic pattern and textures such as plaids or stripes.
- Avoid loud, bright colors and instead choose subtle tones that stand the test of time.
- Stay away from trends as they quickly become dated!
- Take inventory of what he/she no longer uses and get rid of it.
- Rethink storage options!
- Consider where your kids spend most of their time in the room and make that space functional for their specific needs.
Jennifer Connell is a Designer in Bedminster, NJ specializing in Interior Spaces. She possesses a deep understanding of the needs and style of her clients while having fun with House Candy, the accessories that bring a space to life. Her services include full-service interiors, outdoor space design, retail and hospitality design and design consulting.