HOW TO STYLE YOUR KIDS' SHELVES IN 4 EASY STEPS!

If you’ve been blessed with becoming a parent, surely you are realizing that all of the toys, books, photos, stuffed animals (aka stuff) needs to be stored somewhere. It is likely that a bookshelf of some sort has made its’ way into your child’s room and if not, now is the perfect time to get one!

kids room shelves

Pretty (and functional!) shelves aren’t as simple as they look but with careful thought, everyone can turn a mediocre bookshelf into something you will proud to see and use everyday. We love this plain white bookshelf that goes from floor to ceiling.

kidsroom shelves

SHOP THE LOOK…

Styling kids shelves starts with the most obvious step of all, but one that so many people often overlook.

STEP 1: CLEAR YOUR SHELVES

If you want to tackle the job of styling your shelves properly, start by taking everything off and giving them a good dust / clean. By starting with a clean blank slate, you will already be on your way to successful shelf styling!

empty CB2 stairway shelves - this is step 1

STEP 2: ADD BOOKS

Now that your shelves are clear, take this chance to go through the books and donate any that your children have finished with. This may sound like a no-brainer, but trust me on this one! Kids interests change quickly and you will surely find at least a few that are no longer needed.

Once you have all the books that are going back on the shelf, break them up into sections, such as board books on one shelf or chapter book series grouped together. IF you are super particular with the way the shelves LOOK, you can also get as choosy as same size books or same colour spines together. You can also use special books, photos or actual art pieces and lean them against the back of the shelf or wall. By doing this, it adds an extra layer of depth making shelves appear deeper.

In the photo below, there are 57 books! If you have many more than this, fill up every second shelf leaving the bottom shelf empty for baskets or bins.

cb2 stairway bookshelf with books - this is step 2

STEP 3: ADD STORAGE BASKETS AND SMALL CONTAINERS

Start with your biggest storage baskets or bins on the bottom shelf. We use these metallic baskets for everyday items that get left on the floor. It keeps the floor tidy and the kids know where to find items that they have left around the house. As kids get older, I find the toys get smaller! This means that there are lots of little ‘treasures’ and it’s handy to have little boxes in their rooms for these items.

cb2 stairway white shelf with books and baskets - this is step 3

STEP 4: ADD ACCESSORIES (AKA THE FUN PARTY!)

This is where the true fun comes in! Keep in mind that empty or white space is just as important as the items you place on the shelves. Here’s your chance to add little vases, candles, wooden toys for younger kids, or in my twins’ case, the Maileg collection that has grown over the years. These are perfect for adding to the shelves along with their mini globe (similar), daily calendar, and letter bookends. If you aren’t sure where to place things, just try it and then stand back and see what you think. Try to add smaller items next to larger and mix it up between placing things right in the centre or 1/3 of the way in on either side.

girls room styled bookshelves
Sophie Mouse series with letter bookends
kids book collection
girls shelves

If you have any questions about how to style a functional and pretty shelves for your kids, ask away in the comments below and if you redo the shelves at home, I’d love to see!

SHOP THIS POST…

STORAGE BASKETS + CONTAINERS FOR KIDS SPACES

boys room with star decals and cozy sheepskin rug

Anyone else in the organizing mood? If you’re like me, getting my kids’ rooms and play area organized is top of my priority list this month (that’s January for you!). It’s a case of new toys and old ones, clothes that are too small and books that seem to seep into every area of our home. That, and Marie Kondo, who’s motto of ‘tidy your space, transform your life’ seems to resonate loud and clear! Please tell me I’m not the only one!

children’s storage bench with toys

SHOP NOW…

So, while we’re all thinking about getting things sorted, I thought it would be helpful to share some of my go-to places to shop for baskets and bins, and even the tiniest of containers which keep my client’s rooms and my own rooms neat and tidy.

I like to think about storage starting from large to small, with the obvious largest items being stored in closets and under bed drawers, which I’ve talked about how to conquer in a previous post. Once those areas are exhausted or the rooms don’t have those options, I use baskets, bins and all the way down to little containers for treasures that kids seem to love to have in sweet little bowls on their dressers and side tables. My kids collect rocks and a plethora of other weird and wonderful items, which I’m sure yours do too. Books are another story and I’ll address those in a later post, although board books are a great item for mid size baskets on the floor!

LARGE STORAGE BASKETS WITH LIDS

blue and rattan baskets with lids

Without a doubt, these baskets pull double duty on holding all the things, from blankets to diapers to large plastic toys while looking pretty on the outside. You can use them ANYWHERE and that is their beauty; they are covered and so a living room, playroom, nursery, even dining room corner is a perfectly acceptable (and great!) place to keep these. If you want to be the host that has everything cleaned up when guests come over (trust me, this is NOT me!), I’m sure these work well for papers, cords and laptops too ;)

MID-SIZED BASKETS

Girls room dresser with storage basket

These are typically open baskets but still a large enough size for items such as blankets, diapers (next to change table for easy access), stuffed animals, and generally items you want to be able to reach easily. They are super versatile and easier to move around than the really large ones. Some clients prefer all open baskets and these ones are a few of my faves.

EVERYDAY BASKETS

storage shelf with toys in kids room
kids playroom storage

The most popular size for a reason!!! From belly baskets to the 12” ones to fit all cube storage, everyday baskets house things your kids play with the most regularly. The baskets on the top shelf in the left photo are holding musical instruments that my client didn’t want her son to have access to at bedtime, but wanted a basket she could easily pull down for the times she was ready for her son to play music ;) In the photo on the right (our newest basement playroom), those baskets hold blocks, Magnatiles, large Legos, stacking cups, etc. The kids can choose whichever they like and also put them back (fingers crossed!).

LITTLE CONTAINERS / BOWLS

wooden zebra toy
finger puppets in wood bowl

Like it or not, SO many kids seem to collect little treasures of the strangest sort. If you can dream it, I’ve seen it! As all parents know, kids will keep things wherever they want (no matter how hard we try!) but I find it helpful to provide at least a few options for their special things. This is where the little bowls and boxes come into play. If you have a spare drawer in a dresser, nightstand or even under the bed, it’s an ideal spot for these. If your little ones are anything like mine though, they take pride in their treasures being in the open on their shelves or on top of their dresser, and I know one day, I will miss seeing those little messy trinkets. :)

In case you like to PIN things for later, here are some of my favourite baskets and little bins for storage in children’s rooms.

storage baskets, bins and bowls for kids spaces

OUR FAMILY FRIENDLY LIVING ROOM

They say that home is where your heart is and I believe this is completely true. For me, that means comfort, playfulness, support, love and moments of happiness when you need them most. Home is mainly the people you love, but creating a house that aligns with these feelings and qualities is something I have always loved doing. Last week, I shared Xavier’s big boy room and today, I’m so excited to share a glimpse into our family friendly living room!

Vancouver Interior Designer and Blogger Melissa Barling jumping on couch in living room
A family friendly living room design with round coffee table by Winter Daisy Interiors

This is a space that gets used by everyone. Forts are built, games are played and at the end of the day it’s a quick and easy room to clean up and look presentable.

The sectional is perfect for family movie nights and pillow fights too. It took a few years before we decided to buy a coffee table again and when we did, we chose a round one so that there weren’t any sharp corners for the kids (or us!) to run into.

The gallery wall is a random selection of both frames and art. Most are paintings that either I or the kids have done and there are also random materials from past travels. I always thought it would be a temporary display, but reality is that art doesn’t get changed in our house too often so it’s been up there for years!

Mom and minis cuddling in living room

While we don’t have fresh blooms on the table all the time, it sure is lovely when we do!

hydrangeas in vase on coffee table
A soft and neutral living room in the home of Vancouver Interior Designer Melissa Barling of Winter Daisy Interiors

SHOP THE POST:

HOW TO CREATE A HOMEWORK AREA FOR KIDS

kids desk setup
children's homework desk area

To create a homework station in your own home, you really only need a few basic things:

  1. A table or desk;
  2. A chair;
  3. Some type of light (either natural or a lamp); and
  4. Basic supplies (pens, pencil, eraser, scissors, tape, etc).

As with any space, creating an organized and inviting area to tackle tasks, such as homework, is key for kids. I love to think that it’s a great starting point for staying organized through life, that good habits start early and that making it fun goes a long way to making kids work hard too!

For younger kids, I love to put a desk next to a reading corner. Reading is one of our favourite ways to learn and it's handy to go from sitting on a chair to a more cozy and casual floor area where we can snuggle and read. For us, our only homework for Kindergarten was to read to our kids. I also love to keep a few books and toys nearby for those frustrating moments when everyone needs a break. It’s a great time to connect and reset.

dream big sign on kids homework desk

I like to think about ergonomics when setting up a desk. Make sure that the child fits correctly with feet flat on the floor and knees at a 90-degree angle. The desk surface should be 2-3 inches above their elbow when bent.

If you can, put the desk near natural light. Looking out a window is helpful to rest little eyes as well as enhance productivity. If this is not possible, a lamp works well too. 

Keeping basic supplies handy ensures the child can focus on the task at hand. We like to keep supplies minimal and tidy, such as a pencil, pens, stapler, tape, scissors and paper clips and add in any other supplies when they are needed for the homework.

art above desk

The final touch is adding a few fun pieces like inspirational quotes, art and even a plant. Using little extras like a chalkboard or letterboard is a great way to keep key reminders close at hand.

Setting up an ergonomic environment, with comfortable surroundings and inspiring extras helps to make the space feel cozy and inviting, hopefully encouraging kids (and you!) to enjoy their homework time as much as possible.

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BEAUTIFUL KIDS TOYS YOU’LL ACTUALLY WANT TO DISPLAY

Oeuf bookshelf for kids

I think we can all agree that kids toys tend to get a bad rap. This post is about to change all that! Known for their impossibly bright colours and often less-than-subtle design, kids toys can become an eyesore in your living space as they find their way outside the playroom (if you are lucky enough to have one).

But friends, it doesn’t have to be that way. Constantly hiding toys doesn’t have to be the norm. Believe it or not, you’ll find quite a few beautiful pieces for your kids if you look in just the right places. I’m talking toys you’ll actually want to leave out when guests stop over. And toys that blend with your design aesthetic in the most seamless fashion.

Where do you find these unicorn toys, you ask? They’re right here in my roundup sorted by colour to suit every taste and style.

Browse for your favourites, PIN THEM and kiss those toy battles goodbye.

NATURAL WOOD

natural wood toys in kids room

Note to all design-savvy parents: you can never go wrong with natural wood. Whether it’s baby teethers, toddler blocks, or big kid puzzles, wood tones complement any color palette and provide a timeless sense of style. I also love that you can pass these down for generations to come.

natural wooden toys for babies and kids

01. // Riga Roo Rocker; 02. // Tegu Magbot; 03. // Hippo Ride On; 04. // Stacking Wheels Toy; 05. // Percussion Set; 06. // KEVA; 07. // Puzzle; 08. // Mozartkugel Music Box; 09. // Castle Box; 10. // Goose Toy Figure; 11. // Doll House; 12. // Cubebot; 13. //  Story Car 14. // Baby Teethers.

MUTED TONES

muted pink girls room

I love colour, especially in tones that blend with our own home decor. Strike just the right balance with muted tones like soft pinks, blues, yellows and greens for a look that feels tasteful yet fun.

Pastel hued toys for kids

01. // Silicone Rattle; 02. // Pastel Blocks; 03. // Mouse Soft Toy; 04. // Superhero Mouse; 05. // Porcelain Tea Set; 06. // Giraffe; 07. // Jamm Scoot; 08. // Gallop Horse; 09. // City Blocks; 10. // Rabbit Hand Puppet; 11. // School Bus; 12. // Tool Bench; 13. // Rainbow Tunnel; 14. // Tea Trolley; 15. // Baking Playset.

BLACK TOYS

A favourite for a reason, black is the toy tone that brings a modern touch to any room. Not only will the clean lines of black and white toys add visual interest, but the high contrast combo is particularly great for developing babies.  

dream big and nesting dolls in vancouver kids room
black coloured toys for kids

01. // Nesting Dolls; 02. // Stacking Game; 03. // Wood Teether; 04. // Rocking Donkey; 05. // Tool Playset; 06. // Tambourine; 07. // Polar Bear; 08. // Stacking Tunnel; 09. // Building Blocks; 10. // Rocking Horse; 11. // Contrast Art Cards; 12. // Ricepapa Plush; 13. // Activity Mat; 14. // Teether Toy; 15. // Teepee.

WHITE

canvas teepee in children's playroom

Nothing adds to a room’s light and airy appearance like white-toned accessories—toys included. Don’t be afraid to hunt around for your little ones’ favorite playtime pieces in their colorless counterpart. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find white toys add some much-needed calm to chaotic kid spaces.

White toys for kids

01. // Rocking Horse; 02. // Wooden Camera; 03. // Celia Doll; 04. // Wood Easel; 05. // Mini Guitar; 06. // Canvas Teepee; 07. // Stuffed Bunny; 08. // Teether Rattle; 09. // Play Kitchen; 10. // Modern Slide; 11. // Micro Scooter.