“Kids’ spaces are my favorite spaces to design!” says engineer, photographer, and home decor enthusiast Brooke Smith. Why? Because she enjoys finding items her kids are into that still fit within her home’s overall style. Plus, she adds, “with kids’ spaces you get to add whimsical touches that you don’t in common spaces in your home.”
See how this busy mom of three did just that in her children’s bedrooms. Daughter Aspen’s bedroom is full of granny-chic details like a collection of vintage floral prints, son Cooper’s bedroom incorporates classic touches like a Jenny Lind bed, and baby daughter Brecklyn’s vintage nursery is the perfect combo of sweet and sophisticated. Keep scrolling to see all of Brooke’s children’s rooms along with her tips for creating meaningful, “collected” spaces that can grow with your kids.
Name: Brooke Smith
Location: Wichita, Kansas
Home’s Square Footage: 3,600
Kids’ Names/Ages: Aspen (5), Cooper (4), and Brecklyn (1)
Little Girl’s Bedroom
How do you begin the process of creating/decorating a kid’s room or nursery?
It’s fun to give their rooms a “feel” rather than a theme. For example, Aspen loves fairies, so I wanted her room to have a fairy feel without having fairies plastered all over her walls. The challenge with kids’ spaces is making sure they can also grow with them. [One way to do this is to] keep the major components (like furniture) classic, and then you can accessorize with their current interest. It’s much easier to rotate out art or pillows or bedding as they grow.
You mention on your blog that Aspen’s room took three years to “complete”—what were the obstacles in designing her space?
Her dresser was painted a very soft pink from her nursery, and I was very hesitant to paint it because my mom’s friend had painted it for her nursery, and it was the perfect color for that room. But it wasn’t working in her big girl room and didn’t feel like it fit her personality. Once I finally committed to painting it, the rest of the room fell into place. But this was after trying different bedding, different rugs, different furniture, decor, and getting frustrated along the way.
How did you finally know her room was complete?
After I found the final piece of furniture on Facebook Marketplace!
What’s your favorite part of Aspen’s room?
I really love her vintage floral collection. This took a long time to collect but was also fun to hunt for. My mom and grandma own a vintage store, and I got several prints from them. I also really love her bulletin board (in her closet). We made it together and it’s a cute spot for her to store her art projects from school. Her favorite spot is her princess tent.
Let’s talk about kids’ room storage—what are some storage hacks you’ve incorporated into each space?
We keep storage cubes in each of the kids’ closets with baskets for them to throw things in. I also make sure that only our aesthetically pleasing toys go in their room, and I try to purge clothes pretty much immediately. I keep a basket to toss in things that don’t fit in their closet, and when it gets full I fold them up and donate them.
Get the Look
Wayfair | Evolur
This adorable granny-chic dresser is a near-perfect match to the one used in this bedroom—and you can always DIY and paint it pink!
Any pink-and-white wallpaper like this one ties the whole vibe of the room together!
Etsy | Heritage Prints Co.
Art similar to these easily downloadable prints will bring the room’s vintage look to life.
Etsy | Domestic Objects
I feel like it goes without saying that every kiddo would love having one of these in their bedroom.
Little Boy’s Bedroom
You’re currently working on your son Cooper’s room. What’s inspiring his bedroom space?
I’m honestly not sure. Sometimes that’s what takes me so long to finish spaces. I have to wait until I find something or see something that sparks inspiration. I do want to incorporate more pattern and color (he wants red walls, LOL). I also haven’t crafted anything for his room yet, and that’s one of my rules for a room. I have three, actually: It needs to incorporate a found/vintage piece, something DIYed, and patterns.
With so many nursery and kids’ room ideas out there, where do you start when designing a space?
Normally, there’s one thing that kicks off the rooms as a starting point. For example, with my son’s nursery it was a vintage dog stuffed animal we found in my grandparents’ basement that was my mom’s that ended up setting the tone for the entire room.
Get the Look
Crate & Kids
This is the very same bed frame used in Cooper’s bedroom!
Target | Threshold
These ultra-soft bedsheets perfectly fit the room’s vintage feel.
This is the same banner Brooke used—perfect for any little boy’s bedroom decor.
We love the rich color of this storage-friendly dresser.
Vintage Girl’s Nursery
Brecklyn’s nursery is so timeless! Was there one element that inspired her room?
I had found the sweet vintage wardrobe on Facebook Marketplace, and that was the starting point for her room!
The print of the little girl and the dog. This was in one of my best friend’s rooms growing up, a room her late mother designed for her, and she kept it all these years and gave it to me to love and use. There’s also a vintage fur hat from a sweet friend of my mom’s who only knows me through social media but will find things or bring things from her own home that she wants to give us. It’s so sweet, and she has such spectacular taste.
When it comes to your children’s rooms, where do you save/splurge?
I think wall covering/paper is an area worth splurging on. It adds so much character to a room! I also tend to splurge on a few accessories, with the hope that they will keep them forever and pass them down to their kids. We’ve kept most furniture pretty budget-friendly, buying most of it on Facebook Marketplace.
Did you DIY any elements in your kids’ rooms? Any lessons learned through the process?
Yes! I’m not a great DIYer, but I love having something I’ve made in their rooms. I’ve pleated several lampshades, pressed flowers for Baby B’s room, and sewed the curtains in Aspen’s room. I think the most important lesson is to just try! I’m a terrible sewer and any seamstress would laugh at my attempt at curtains, but I think all the imperfections add character.
Get the Look
Wayfair | Chris Loves Julia x Loloi
This is nearly a spot-on dupe for the rug used in Brecklyn’s bedroom.
Target | DaVinci
This gorgeous crib fits seamlessly into the nursery’s vintage look.
Etsy | EllaArtPaints
Similar to the artwork hung above Brecklyn’s crib, this cute print is a decor must-have.
Etsy | Porter Lane Home
Vintage floral prints on throw pillows can tie the room together—and make for a comfy spot to sit.
Don’t be afraid to take your time in their room. Collected-feeling rooms don’t come overnight. In addition, if they have a strong request, try to incorporate it. You can find something cute for pretty much every “theme.” I recently helped a friend design a Frozen-themed bedroom for her 3-year-old and an outer space-themed room for her 6-year-old, and they both turned out so cute! She was initially dreading the Frozen theme, but we found ways to incorporate Frozen princess touches without it looking tacky.
Brooke Is The Everymom…
Harder kid transition: 0-1, 1-2, 2-3? Why? All of them for different reasons! But if I had to pick one, I’d go with 0-1. It’s pretty life-changing going from being an individual who can do whatever they want to having to keep someone alive! After that, at least you’re already immersed into parenthood and your whole life doesn’t change overnight.
You’re an engineer and a photographer—can you share one tip for taking good photos of your kids? We could do a whole post on this, but probably the most important tip is to make it fun for them. I did a fall photoshoot with them this season, and instead of telling them I was going to take their pictures I told them we were going hunting for fairies and bugs, and they loved it.
Favorite activity to do with your kids? Cooking! It’s something we have to do daily, and they love to help. It can get frustrating at times, but you can turn so many things in the kitchen into a lesson.
Favorite date activity with your husband? We typically just go to dinner. All three (young!) kids together is a lot for someone who isn’t used to it, so we bring the baby with, which limits our options.
Planning any New Year’s resolutions this year? I really need to start making my health a priority and getting an appropriate amount of exercise and eating healthy. I’ve been nursing for over a year, so I’ve had the appetite of a high school football player and I’m hoping to scale that back to more normal portions!