One of the most common phrases a new parent hears is “they grow up so fast.”
That’s what interior designer Jenna Burger likes followers of her design blog (JennaBurger.com) to keep in mind as they get ready to welcome a new baby into their home.
But she also wants you to be able to save for college.
“My blog has been my experimental playground. It has helped me share ideas with clients, talk design with people all over the country and also feel more confident. I really enjoy creating DIY projects and inspiring people. It can be so costly, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
“Whether you are remodeling a kitchen or designing a child’s room, I think it’s important to have a plan. Choose classic pieces that will live for years to come,” said Burger, a mom of three, who worked as an interior designer for a high-end architect downstate before returning to the Capital Region six years ago.
“Instead of creating a theme, I like to focus on an element that is basic and layer in things that you don’t mind changing out in a short amount of time.”
She suggests people look at discounters and specialty stores like Marshall’s and Home Goods for accent pieces and decor.
Burger says the Internet is a great resource for do-it-yourselfers. “I recommend you first turn to Pinterest to look for pieces that appeal to you, and when you have them all collected you dissect each of the items. Ask yourself why they like that space, or why they like that look. Is it the desk or the lamp or the chair? Then look for specific pieces and research the reviews. What’s are people saying about its construction?,” she says.
In baby’s rooms, Burger suggests starting with a lighter color palate for walls and major fixtures and then adding pops of color with pillows, bedding, window treatments and accent rugs.
The main elements are that you choose pieces that can live a long time even as your needs change. Dressers, for instance, can be used as changing tables. You may need a pad on top for a year or two, but it will transition easily as the child grows.
It’s also important that parents don’t impulse shop.
She suggests collecting ideas from magazines or online sources and creating a reference before you buy anything.
The only rule she says people should follow is to measure twice.
“You really don’t want to try and squeeze a five-foot dresser in a four-foot space,” she laughs, noting that she suggest people also make sketches of the space to get a better idea.
“I don’t like to limit with rules. I think it’s important to incorporate things that you and your family love and that have meaning.”
But she also believes second-guessing yourself should be a big part of the process.
“I think one of the things people can get caught up in is collecting all kinds of different pieces that they love and then realizing they don’t work together.”
Of course, even that is a balancing act. After all, you don’t want to be too matchy-matchy.
The most important thing is not to get overwhelmed.
For her own daughter’s room, Burger selected an accent wall that has stayed the same color as the child transitioned from baby to bigger kid, she just switches in new artwork and other decor.
She also suggests going “vertical” for storage. “People often forget they can go higher. Everything doesn’t have to be low for kids.”
However, everything should have a place to reduce clutter. And while that means being vigilant in the elimination of underused things, it also means coming up with clever storage options.
“In my son’s room, I have wooden carts I put on casters that fit under his bed. They have smaller compartments where he can put small toys like LEGOs and baseball cards. Walking through with the kids and putting away toys as a nightly ritual, also keeps it from getting too overwhelming.”