One of the most exciting times in a person’s life is welcoming a child into the home. It also can be one of the most challenging.
There are many things to consider, among them furnishing and decorating your child’s room. Because children grow and change so rapidly, this can be one of the most frustrating — and expensive — tasks.
Fortunately, many furniture-makers are working to make outfitting your child’s room easier by offering collections that adapt as he or she grows.
“It is wise to plan ahead and purchase furniture that can grow along with your child. A child’s room may undergo three or four age-related changes as the child grows out of a crib and into young childhood, then to tween and teenage years,” said Debbie Dilbeck, sales and merchandising executive assistant for Standard Furniture Manufacturing Co. “Choosing versatile and functional furniture that adapts as the child grows is important .”
“Children’s furniture purchased for the long run is a smart investment because, when selected thoughtfully, a family can use these products from crib to college and save thousands of dollars along the way by not having to replace or throw away outdated products,” said David Petersen, vice president of retail and brand development for Young America, Stanley Furniture’s youth and infant division.
Through its Built to Grow program, Young America collections change along with the child. The crib, for example, can transform into a toddler bed, a twin-size bed and then a full-size bed by changing side rails, panels and footboards, according to Petersen. “Also, a dresser with a changing station on top can be repurposed as a simple dresser.”
Currently, the line features seven collections, offering styles ranging from traditional to coastal to modern, which can be customized in nearly 20 colors.
“A child will never outgrow Built to Grow furniture, in part due to Young America’s classic, sophisticated designs and finishes. Our products will be stylish for years — possibly generations — to come,” Petersen said.
Introduced at the winter event at World Market Center Las Vegas were the company’s newest collections: Abigail, which has a traditional look with understated feminine feel, and Boardwalk, which uses transitional elements with a coastal feel.
“Our introductions of Boardwalk and Abigail illustrate Young America’s ongoing dedication to providing parents with sophisticated, timeless designs that will seem just as stylish when their children are 16 years old as when they are 6 months old,” said Ward O’Quinn, product manager for the brand.
Hallmarks of the Abigail collection include soft, curving lines, decorative drawer pulls and a rope-twist detail .
The Boardwalk group has a tailored look that will appeal to boys of any age. But it also is clean and understated and could appeal to tween and teenage girls. Decorative features include recessed campaign drawer pulls, bead detailing, canted posts and soft corners.
Although Standard does not manufacture cribs or infant bedroom furniture, its youth line is styled to grow from young child to teenager.
“We do see parents choosing to change the child’s bed as they grow for an updated and current look, while keeping the storage case pieces, or adding additional ones,” Dilbeck said.
Standard’s Young Style collection has several standalone color metal and upholstered beds, as well as matching stools, benches and ottomans to add variety and function. Additionally, the line helps maximize space with creative options such as trundle and loft beds, some of which can be configured with clothing storage pieces.
The My Room and Rochester collections have corner daybeds , while its Hideout Bedroom group has an All-in-One+One bed that has a bookcase headboard, dresser footboard and bed with a pullout drawer trundle bed beneath. It also offers a midheight loft bed with a small dresser and bookcase beneath.
Dilbeck said soft profiles, curvy lines and traditional ornamentation are sought-out features when furnishing girls rooms, particularly young girls, while tween and teenage girls prefer a more contemporary look with clean lines and glossy finishes.
Boys of all ages do well with transitional, casual styles, often with slightly rustic finishes, she said.
In addition to appearance, safety is a main concern for children’s furnishings.
“We know from our long experience in this industry how important safety and health concerns are to parents,” Petersen said.
He said Young America’s dresser drawers have a soft-close feature that prevents them from slamming shut on little fingers. Also, the drawers’ extension is limited to reduce the risk of a tip-over accident.
Other features include rounded corners, bed rail locking systems, anti-tip kits to secure large pieces to the wall and Greenguard certification, which offers independent tests to make sure the paints and finishes follow stringent chemical emission standards.
Standard also is proactive in its approach to child safety, Dilbeck said.
“We carefully meet all mandated safety regulations for children’s products, as well as exceeding voluntary safety guidelines. Tipping-restraint kits come with all Standard youth furniture over 28 inches tall, which anchors the furniture piece to the wall to prevent tipping. We use no-lead base paints.”
Both Dilbeck and Petersen said the essential pieces for a child’s bedroom are a bed, which serves as the focal point, and clothing storage pieces such as a dresser or chest.
“With nurseries, two pieces are pretty obvious must-haves — the crib and the changing station-dresser combination. Parents don’t need to buy an entire furniture suite for a newborn — pieces can be added as the child grows,” he said.
“Additional storage pieces, such as storage ottomans and bookcases, with ample space for toys, books, games and collectibles are high priority. Functional pieces such as a desk for a study or vanity for makeup are also popular,” Dilbeck said.
One key consideration is the size of the space.
“Because kids rooms are often smaller bedrooms, parents must be mindful of what will comfortably fit in a space ,” Petersen said. “We design Young America products on a smaller scale than traditional bedroom furniture for that specific reason.”