As a retreat, a play area and a bedroom, kids’ rooms serve many purposes so the interior design needs to versatile. It must also withstand children’s wear and tear, from dirty hands and accidental spills to roughhousing and slumber parties.

Interior designer Kate Jackson, a mother of three, loves designing kids’ rooms because it gives her the chance to use fun colors, patterns and styles. Plus, it’s a good opportunity to involve the children in the design of their room.

In the Perspective New England Beach House, Kate followed three simple rules to convert the third floor into an inviting kids’ room: design by function, start with a neutral palette and have fun.

Design by function
Kate conquered the wide-open, almost L-shaped third floor by assigning functions to each area and designing to those functions. She designated a portion of the room with small, high windows as the sleeping area. Twin beds with upholstered headboards in durable Sunbrella fabric, a chest of drawers and pretty ottomans covered in stain resistant Sunbrella fabric at the foot of each bed, give the girls a private place to sleep.

The space by a large, arched window with a great view became the hangout area. Kate defined the hangout area with a braided Sunbrella area rug on which she arranged a large sectional (good for sleepovers), club chair and small coffee table. Because the furniture is upholstered in durable, stain resistant Sunbrella fabric, there’s no need for the girls’ parents to worry about spills, dirty feet or “accidents” with felt tip pens.

Stairwell landings can be easily overlooked, but Kate made the most of the space by installing a ceiling-mounted wicker chair to transform this small area into a quiet reading nook from which to enjoy the ocean view. The chair hangs over a cream colored Sunbrella rug that helps to define the landing area.

Layer colors over neutrals
Kate created a base palette of neutral colors for the girls’ room. Two braided Sunbrella area rugs from Colonial Mills, one in very light green and the other in cream, add texture and color to the whitewashed wooden floor.

The sectional is upholstered in durable Sunbrella Sailcloth Salt, a creamy white fabric. White fabric upholstery in a children’s room? Durable, stain resistant Sunbrella fabric gives parents confidence that spills and messes won’t be permanent.

Using basic neutrals as a base palette allowed Kate to layer the room in colors and patterns that will grow with the girls: lively pinks, blues and greens on upholstered headboards, decorative pillows and accessories to pull the room together. But, if their tastes change, updating their room is as simple as switching out pillow covers.

Have fun
The best part about designing kids’ rooms is shedding your adult perspective to see the world through a child’s eyes again.

Kate added an element of childhood whimsy in the third floor children’s reading nook with the hanging wicker chair combined with two fluffy pillows covered in colorful, durable Sunbrella fabric. Her use of ottomans upholstered in hot pink with green trim gives the sleeping area a youthful touch.

Involving children in the design of their room can be a unique learning experience for them and a good reminder for you to keep your outlook young.

See how durable Sunbrella fabric stands up to ketchup, blueberry and chocolate stains in our stain resistant Sunbrella fabric durability challenge video. Watch other home interior design tips from Kate, including how to incorporate area rugs into a design and how to hang window treatments to block the sun and preserve the view.

The Beach House video series is part of Perspective New England, a design journey exploring the versatility of Sunbrella fabrics for every aspect of your life—at home, on the water or on an adventure. Also check out The Rhode Yacht, a 1977 Airstream Argosy transformed by Sunbrella, and The Real Yacht, a Morris Yachts M36 sailing yacht brought to life with Sunbrella. Follow the entire project on Twitter and Instagram @Sunbrella and #PerspectiveNE.