phoebe’s room

Phoebe wakes up every morning saying "Hi Mom, I missed you" (how sweet is that?!) and then "I wanna big girl room". So, as much as it breaks my heart to change her sweet nursery, I think it's time.

I've had to give up on a lot of the ideas I'd originally had for her big girl room because we have a serious lack of space/storage issue in her tiny bedroom. I wanted a sweet little wooden poster bed but actually this bed we have in the craft room with the storage drawers underneath is a much more sensible choice. I'll be losing a comfy place to hang in the sewing room but honestly it looks more like this most days anyway.

Other than the bed choice I'm not having much luck planning this room. I can't decide what toys need to be out for playing, what clutter should be put away, etc. I guess I'm looking at bins or shelves for her toys and books and then some type of dresser (although I am considering putting her clothes in those underbed drawers). Anybody have any good organizing ideas/tips for me? Any cute girl rooms I need to look at? What part of your girls' rooms do they love the most? If their room is tiny, that is. We have no space for forts or canopies, no alcoves or closets under stairs unfortunately, just a square 10 x 10 room.

61 thoughts on “phoebe’s room

  1. Amy says:

    I would love to give you some great tips on storage and organization, but I gave up on keeping clutter put up in the girl’s rooms about 12 years ago. :)

  2. sarah jane says:

    I had a white canopy bed in my childhood bedroom and didn’t like it. It wasn’t possible to do anything cool with the canopy part like store stuffed animals up there. It was really just for show and was the kind of bed my mom wanted when growing up. I always wanted one of those wrought iron day beds in a room with a big dormer window with built in window seat. Ideally in the attic all to myself.

  3. strikkelise says:

    I recommend a wardrobe with wire baskets, and a rod for hanging dresses over them. That way she will be able to find day-to-day clothes herself without making a total mess. My son got a wardrobe like that when he was 4 (IKEA Pax) and was immediately able to find a clean pair of socks or a new pajamas before bedtime. His big sister has most of her clothes in an ordinary dresser with big drawers, and her clothes are a lot more messy.
    Your sofabed with drawers will be great for storing extra pillows or blankets, as well as dress-up clothes etc.
    Also, for small spaces, the tall, narrow IKEA Benno shelves for CDs can be used for a lot of other stuff, like smaller books, toys etc.

  4. Shannon says:

    Georgia’s toom is tiny, tiny too (12 by 12) and I’m looking at a summer redo. She’ll be getting a higher bed since her sis is moving out of the crib, and I’m going to try to get some rolling bins that will fit underneath in white. Her bookshelf needs to be purged but looks cute in there – it’s a dollhouse shaped one I bought on clearance at AC Moore and finished in white. She has a fabric banner above her bed I’ll sub out for a wire to hang artwork from, and I have my eye on pottery barn kid’s library stle book rack – that way she can keep out her faves and I can put the rest under her bed, etc.
    Does she have a closet? I try to fit as much in there as possible, with a hanging shoe cubby and that helps too.

  5. RC says:

    My daughter (age 11) has a tiny room too. I turned her closet into a storage place for her toys, crafts, etc. She has an armoire for her clothes, a bookcase for books and a tiny desk that she has really outgrown from her 5 year old self! 😉 She also has some deadspace behind the door and the foot of her bed so I put a basket there for her stuffed toys. I also have her agreement that she keeps stuff off the floor because her room is too small for her to leave toys/crafts/books laying around.

  6. Katherine says:

    For our very small house I’ve found that hanging shoe organizers on the closet door is key. One closet door shoe container is filled with mittens, gloves, hats, and scarves. Another has all the pouches filled with pen, pencils, tape, glue sticks. In my daughter’s room I have a rack style shoe organizer on the door and I used it to store diapers and wipes when she was little now the bottom row has hangers with all of her dress up clothes at easy reach and her shoes are on the higher racks along with hats. The shoes are just now big enough for the rack.

  7. Clair says:

    Hooks, hooks, hooks. Pretty ones and lots of them.
    Great to hang bags (filled with swim gear, ballet gear, dolls, books, dress up clothes… whatever they fancy) Hooks for coats and dressing gowns, hooks for pyjamas and well, everything.
    My girls love them and they are endlessly handy, you can do rows at different heights too.

  8. Melissa H says:

    I have that bed in my sewing room too! And I never see it either! But those drawers are great for holding fabric. In my mind they’d be a bit big for little girl clothes and heavy for her to get her own clothes out. Our daughter has a similarly tiny room and mostly plays in other parts of the house but we do have a small rocker in the room which she hides behind and a bookshelf that provides lots of book amusement and a teeny, narrow cabinet my husband made her that is filled with dress up clothes. It all fits but just barely.

  9. Ashley says:
  10. penny says:

    i’d have to try to scare up photos of my childhood bedroom but something i really liked was a high shelf my father and i built around 2.25 walls of my room (the closet ended that one part) and my bed was always under most of it. a portion of my many many stuffed animals were loving placed there, the favourites slept with me of course! I was always excited to grow taller and learn I could do more than touch a fuzzy paw that dangled over the edge with my finger and tiptoes. as i grew older it was nice to have them there when i needed their comfort and out of the way when i pretended to be grown up.

  11. the fabled needle (jen) says:

    my room was super tiny growing up but it was all i needed. i’m no decorating expert but i think having lots of pretty hooks (maybe on the wall behind the door?) would be fun and useful and shelves/a tall bookcase too. when i was little one wall of my room was papered which i loved.
    decor 8 and design sponge are the 2 blogs i can think of off the top of my head. for organizing, real simple mag always seems to have good ideas.

  12. Becky says:

    My daughter’s room is 11×10 and it’s totally cluttered. I’ve tried all sorts of organizational things(shelves, bins, hooks, utilizing the closet as much as possible (it’s an old house, it’s really small too) underbed storage, the works), but she resists using them and I have just given up. It’s her room and she can live in it the way she wants. She has her mother’s problem of piling up unfinished projects. (AHEM.)
    We gave her a canopy anyway (her fairy tent) and that space is her special hiding space, where she sits and reads and keeps every pillow from the rest of the house that she can get her hands on.
    No matter what you do, I highly recommend a canopy.

  13. Erin H. says:

    I re-did my 4 yr. old’s room (yesterday in fact). In her 10×10 room she has a single bed in one corner, a tall dresser, and a short dresser. She has 2 canvas bins for books (no toys in the room at this point – we feel bedrooms are for sleeping and reading). I re-arranged the room to open up a whole corner (!) and I am envisioning a beanbag chair of some kind and maybe a little tulle fairy tent hanging from that corner – we’ll see. Purple paint makes my little fairy pretty stoked

  14. christina says:

    oh I think my fav thing in my daughter’s room is her kitchen, it doesn’t take up too much space tucks against the wall, and it self stores all of its pieces and looks so sweet with another shelf over it – I would say that and a doll crib I would leave out. After that I use rolling stacking tubs in her closet and she has a white shelf with pbk basket but I would say her closet toys that she can see get played with more often.

  15. Francis says:

    She loves bulletin boards because they are small but really fun, also I picked up these giant leaves that you hang over your bed and it makes them really fun. Also try some paint, yes paint! You also need some bins you can stack as many as high as her little arms can reach, because she will need some where to put here stuff, and learning how to clean is a good experience. I hope you have fun redecorating.

  16. katie jacob says:

    Growing up, my sister and I had to share a tiny room for quite a few years. Our dad built high shelves for the things we wanted to display, but didn’t play with and he also put up a net for the stuffed animals we did play with! They were accessible to our short little arms (sometimes we needed a stool) but off the floor and pretty much out of the way.
    I love fancy doorknobs mounted on little wooden squares for hooks and once or twice I’ve seen this all around the room wall pocket for storing books…have you seen this? If I can find the example online again I’ll pass along the link. Just a few suggestions, sorry if they’re repeats!

  17. katya says:

    lodge bed are good becausse you can store stuff underneath but it depends if you would feel worried that she might be too young

  18. Jennifer says:

    How big is the sewing room? That built-in shelf looks so cute. I don’t know the layout of your house, but would switching Phoebe’s room and the craft room make any sense?

  19. carin says:

    Check out apartment therapy’s new book. Its got a few cute ideas… Lots of ikea curtains to make a great bed nook that is dreamy and fairylike…

  20. Tracy says:

    Does she have a closet at all? I would recommend having it professionally done by somebody like California Closets. We did this with my daughter’s closet and it increased storage space dramatically. My daughter also has an armoire instead of a dresser. This way she can open it up and see everything–no digging around in drawers.
    I like the suggestion Penny had of shelves running beneath the ceiling for books and toys.
    My daughter has a regular bed, and we use under-bed storage containers for toys.
    I love the quilt wall. How does Phoebe feel about that? Does she want it to stay or go?

  21. sarah says:

    You should ask your daughter what she wants. It sounds like she may have a fairly solid idea of what a “big girl’s room” looks like. Look through your Martha Stewart Kids magazines together for ideas.
    Also the first rule of organizing is to first know what you have. It sounds like the perfect opportunity to purge what she doesn’t use/like anymore and pare down. You’ll have more room and less stuff to buy to hold the stuff!
    Assess what you have to organize and then find a place for it. It’s easy to tidy when everything has a spot. If it doesn’t have a spot, then it either gets one or it goes away.
    One wall of Billy shelves with baskets in some of the shelves will go a long way toward organization. Consider half-height bookshelves all along the wall to run under the windows–keep in mind that a lot of bookshelves are deep enough for two layers of books. Either buy/build shallow or double-up the books.
    Also, as one person said, hang stuff. Go vertical. Hang organizers on the back of her closet door and bedroom door. Consider a picture rail around the wall for fairies, etc. to perch on. If there is dead space behind her bedroom door, consider a coat rack there–great for hanging dress up feather boas and tutus which are decorative and necessary. :)
    Paint one wall chalkboard or whiteboard paint (or part of the wall) to save the space of an easel.
    Corner bookshelves are great, too. Or get two ladder bookshelves and put one on either side of a pouf for an instant nook.
    While you already have a bed, you may want to think about a bunk bed with the desk built into the bottom. IKEA has one but I’ve seen other, cuter ones, too.
    Good luck!

  22. Bele says:

    We have tiny rooms, too and a rather messy daughter… What works for us, is a furniture system with sliding doors. We have the doors in different colours (easier to find the right door), they are made from perspex, so the furniture looks lighter in total (its a very sunny room) and the sliding doors don’t take up room. You can see an example here:
    < “>>
    There must be something similar in the States.
    I am sure that you will find a stylish solution!

  23. Meghan says:

    On a whim, I purchased two storage cubes at Target for my boys’ bedroom. They have been a huge success. They are big enough to store all of the playmobil items in one and Star Wars guys in another. Plus they are easy for the boys to move around the room for other activities and they actually sit on them.
    I couldn’t find the exact ones online but here is the general idea. I think I got mine for $15 or $20 a piece. A good purchase and they have held up quite well. I am thinking about getting some more for other rooms.

  24. sassypriscilla says:

    I recommend a dresser for the clothes and using the space under the bed for storage. We don’t have a lot of room either but fortunately have a closet that we stack toy bins in. I don’t hang my son’s clothes yet – just his old halloween costumes.
    For organization, I use small plastic totes and use a label writer to label what is in them.
    I really love the quilts on Phoebe’s wall. I wonder if someday you could piece them all together for her for a big quilt. I know they are finished on their own but perhaps they can come together for her as a special memory.

  25. poppet says:

    It’s great reading everyone’s comments, as I’m in a similar predicament. Although I’m going to try and put both my girls (1 and 4) in the same room together.

  26. Jackie says:

    For my daughters’ rooms, we built a bookshelf type unit with adjustable shelves in the middle of the long, but not deep closet. One one side of the bookshelf we did a double rod, which makes it easy for her to get to everything to keep it organized. Then on the other side we did a single rod so that she could hang dresses and longer items. All of her clothes and shoes go on the bookshelf unit, which makes it easy for her to get to stuff withouth digging through drawers, and she can see it easily. Also, it makes it easier for her to put stuff away. By doing this, we were able to take the dresser out of her room, which had just become a jumble of clothes in the drawers and a bunch of clutter on top. We hung a mirror that would normally go above a mirror low on the wall, so that she could have a mirror on the wall type of experience. My experience has been more open space is good, and go as vertical for storage as possible. Baskets and bins are good, but not too big, not too small. Now it sounds like the end of a fairy tale. Hope this helps.

  27. Anna S. says:

    I used to live in a very tiny condo in a big city. I had a bed built into the wall. It was a bed with underbed storage, much like the one that you have for Phoebe. It fit into a wall alcove and I put up a curtain rod and hung curtains so I could close it off. Very handy. My friends called it “the Hogwarts bed.” You could push the bed into a corner and have curtains around it. That would allow for some fun fort-making, I suspect.
    Anna S.

  28. IamSusie says:

    My daughter’s room is smaller than that and I also highly recommend a California Closets makeover of the closet space. You need a bookcase, mounted shelves up high for display keepsakes, and a little area for doll/stuffed animal play. Mount a mirror in a low place for dress up and imaginary play. My daughter liked having a little desk and a set of chairs so she could play school and have a coloring/art area with her little friends. Girls collect so many little bits and things, so be ready as she grows!

  29. margie says:

    I think use the storage under the bed for clothes, and get an nice bookshelf/side board for favourite toys/books. I think the bed needs a little something. A quilt and some nice pillows. And please oh please leave that beautiful quilt wall!

  30. Cheryl Arkison says:

    Wow, love that wall of mini quilts. Hmm…
    My only advice is to be flexible. Pick storage and display options that can change. Toy tastes start to change quickly at this age. For us, this means one Expedit (Ikea) bookcase for books (arranged by colour) and one large one for multipurpose storage. This one changes all the time. It is filled with coloured bins, boxes, displays, puzzles, and games. We switch it around according to what needs to be accessed.
    But my favourite thing is actually the little table in the room. It gets used for crafts, drawing, stacking books, playing teacher, and so much more. Essentially a small coffee table, it is worth every inch of real estate.
    My girls share a room, the bigger of the two in our house. They also share it with the entire family’s clothes in the two closets and dressers. And my fabric stash in an alcove. Needless to say, flexibility and using every tiny inch is very, very important.

  31. Elisa says:

    I built shelves on my walls so I wouldn’t have to deal with dressers. Works pretty well for me. You can tack up fabric to create curtains that can cover up the shelves you want covered and leave open shelves you want to display.
    I like wall murals. It would be a great project to do with your daughter and she can experience taking part in the decoration and design of her own big girl room.
    Have fun!

  32. Hillary Lang says:

    I have a pegboard that was displaying cute baby clothes. I think I’ll lower it and she can hang dress up clothes or bags. She has a crazy amount of handbags. I might need more. I love hooks too!

  33. Hillary Lang says:

    I’d love to wallpaper in there! I even have the perfect vintage wallpaper to use. but she has paneling :( it was just a bear to paint over. I can’t imagine tearing it out now. I might wallpaper a panel or something to put behind a desk or somewhere.

  34. Hillary Lang says:

    the sewing room is way bigger! I’m not giving it up. for now. I’m sure she’ll end up there as a teenager. it’s at the other end of the house though and I like having them both close by.

  35. Hillary Lang says:

    I don’t think Phoebe has ever once mentioned her quilt wall! She’s probably so used to it though. I’m going to leave it up til she’s adjusted to the big bed. and until I can bear to take it down :(

  36. Sarah B says:

    I have several of the Expedit shelves and love them….I have been planning on adding beautifully molded trim to the edges to soften them up. You can also add lace, wall paper, fabric baskets etc. to make them more girly. I wish I had more of them (now that I don’t live near an Ikea….)

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