For players

Designers create rooms where imaginations can run wild.

By Marni Elyse Katz
November 1, 2009

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1. Just because it’s a child’s room, you aren’t limited to pastels or primary colors. Cambridge designer Kate Maloney’s subdued scheme includes gray-blue (Benjamin Moore “Polished Slate”) walls, a plum Ligne Roset love seat, and a fun black-and-white rug by Woodard & Greenstein.

2. It’s the new, improved beanbag: a sculptural pouf by Tucker Robbins makes a sturdy side table and also functions as an ottoman or stool. This one’s wire, but there are rattan versions, too.

3. Use molding to define an oversize painted-on magnetic blackboard.

4. Shelves built into this attic bedroom’s sloped ceilings provide storage, but leaving them open lets light filter through to the far side of the room.

5. You can’t have too many beds -- especially in a vacation home. Portland, Maine, and Sherborn, Massachusetts, architect Richard Renner designed this room in a home shared by three families, each with two or three kids, to have “a summer camp feel,” with five bunks.

6. Built-in drawers, beds, and shelves give small spaces a streamlined appearance. With detached furniture, Renner says, “dust collects and things get lost.”

7. Build a stage! This one includes several curtains, creating “snow,” “water,” and “forest” backdrops for imagination-fueled productions. Cubbies provide ample costume storage.

8. A production needs an audience. The scale of this love seat, a Danish piece from Reside in Cambridge, works equally well for adults and kids.

9. Don’t be afraid of color, and lots of it, says Wellesley designer Andra Birkerts, who used four paint colors, including bright purple on the walls, “to give definition to the room.”

10. Birkerts laid out three solid colors and three matching patterns of replaceable, durable Flor carpet tiles. Besides adding color, she says, they’re “low-pile, so the kids can run trucks over them.”

Marni Elyse Katz blogs about design at Send comments to

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