Mid-century children’s bedrooms from Ethan Allen, 1974

1974-ethan-allen-boys-bedroomI am hearing reports of a Retro Renovation baby boom. Weddings, too. So exciting 🙂 No question, nothing gets the decorating instinct into overdrive than having a bun in the oven. In fact, we’re all just feathering our nests when it comes right down to it, aren’t we?

1974-ethan-allen-boys-bedroom-the-beatlesImages in this post are from Ethan Allen circa 1974 — ahhh, The Brady Bunch Years. Continuing with our bedroom series for a few more days, I chose them to illustrate another point, which is that there are numerous “traditional” styles that are just fine for mid-century homes. Lots of this stuff is solid wood, and you can buy it really inexpensively.


I have seen a number of the Ethan Allen sets with the modular bookcases, desks and drawer cabinets and my goodness, they are so functional and so well made.

"Growing up room" - phase one
“Growing up room” – phase one

A couple of other thoughts on kids’ bedrooms:

      1. Personally, I would buy a new crib out of safety concerns – the image above is shown only for decorative inspiration.  Bunk beds, similarly, scare the heck out of me. Do your homework re child safety when you’re thinking of buying and using anything vintage. NOTE: After this story was published, questions have come in about how to assemble the twins into bunks. On this issue, in particular because it is safety-related, please contact Ethan Allen directly. Also contact them if you have other fixit or parts questions.
      2. When your kid is big enough for a bed, and if you’re going to buy something you plan to have them grow into — I recommend going straight-away for the full-sized bed. By the time they are 13 or 14, they want a bed this big. When they’re littler and have sleepovers, they can double up. When they are older, the friends just sleep on the floor. When the kid is little, and they are sick, you can lay down next to them.  I had a girlfriend who is really smart, studied and networked on such things tell me this early on. I didn’t listen. She was right.
      3. Once your kids get old enough to care — let them decorate their own room, of course. It makes for awesome memories and is, I think, super important to establishing a sense of self. We need to do a whole post (hold please!) on our first personally-decorated bedrooms. I remember mine well… a very formative decorating experience.
      4. Capel braided rugs — great for kids’ rooms, get a design that includes a variety of colors they can grow into and you are all set.
      5. Bedspreads — go look at the corded cottons and other childhood classics (like the one in the first photo today) on Vermont Country Store’s website.
      6. Wallpaper? Here’s one room I’d say “no.” That’s because wallpaper is so personal … Your kid will want to change their wall color two-to-three times growing up. Wallpaper is a ton of work and your work will likely not have much of its day in the sun. But if you want to do it for “you” and your baby’s nest, knowing that he/she will likely want it gone within 8-10 years, well, go for it.
      7. Changing tables make great laundry centers in the laundry room after they’ve gone out of diaper-changing use.
      "Growing up room" - phase two
      “Growing up room” – phase two

      With that said, decorating a child’s room “in mid-century style” is just as wide open as in an adult bedroom. If you are buying vintage furnishings, there are great deals out there, especially if you have an open mind regarding style. In fact, I like to say that vintage bedroom sets and dining room sets are the best bargains around. That’s because you only have x-number of bedrooms and only one dining room. After that, you are done. So folks don’t generally “collect” them, like Stangl birds or whatever. This means there is less demand, which means lower prices.

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