Designer Stephen Saint-Onge grew up in what he calls a town dropped right out of a movie set, complete with a diner, mom-and-pop stores, and buildings that have graced the main street for decades. It was that essence around him that taught him what being home is.
If you’re looking to create a “home of your own” or design that perfect nursery, Saint-Onge encourages each of us to remember what our home can give back to us: “Memories… simple, fun, crazy, moving, cinematic moments that we act out in the setting of our homes.”
In creating family-friendly children’s rooms, Saint-Onge offers up these tips.
Define your child’s room: Is it a bedroom or playroom too?
Create a “Look Book”: Collect images and pieces around any theme and colors that coordinate; older children can make their own book.
Repurpose furniture: Identify the key needed pieces. Do you need to buy furniture or can you repaint or repurpose pieces from other parts of the house? If you’re buying, be sure the piece will grow with your child’s needs.
Spruce up hand-me-downs: If your younger children are getting cast-offs, repaint, refresh and add new accessories or hardware.
Assess storage: From toys to books, can you store some elsewhere to rotate items, as kids love something one week and don’t the next? Do your kids need cubbies for storage or a table for crafts?
Light the stage: Be able to adjust the lighting for quiet or playtime.
Add rugs: Especially over hardwood or tile floors to soften the room while also making it quieter.
Treat the windows: Do you need to darken the room for naps and brighten it for play? Dress the windows accordingly.
Define their space: Especially for older kids, let them have one part of the walls to do a vision board or tape their own items up to personalize.
Add music: A music player on a shelf can help young children drift off to sleep more easily.
In his latest book, No Place Like Home, Saint-Onge shows families how “good home design has the power to change lives.” Describing his own family’s white clapboard farmhouse, Saint-Onge says “At dusk, as the lights of my home glow and I see my family inside going about their business, I think how simple this sight is, and yet it truly is what life is all about: Home and family.”
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