Q: With another baby on the way, I want to move my young daughter into a currently unused room. But I'm perplexed about where to put the bed, which has 5-foot headboard posts. There's only one wall without openings, and it begins to slant about 3 feet above the floor. I'd like your advice on this problem and on the overall design of the room.
A: The first thing to understand is that a bed doesn't always have to be placed against a wall. It can be pulled out a few feet. As the accompanying photo shows, that would be one simple solution to your dilemma.
The space behind the headboard can then be used for storing toys and dolls. To give that arrangement a finished look, attach a rod about 5 feet up on the sloping wall and shirr a fabric between it and another rod on the floor directly below. That will also create the effect of having the bed placed directly against a wall.
A more radical but equally simple alternative is to cut off the bedposts. In most cases this will not drastically alter the design of the headboard.
As for the general styling of the space, keep in mind that a child's room usually does not meet adult standards of neatness. There's not much point in creating an elaborate or fussy design. The most appropriate look could best be described as cheerful and casual.
Painted furniture is a good, light-hearted choice for a child's room, while a profusion of patterns and florals appeals to a lot of young girls. In this model, white furniture is accompanied by an all-over gingham plaid wall covering that coordinates with the lush floral pattern and border used on the sloping surface. This combination of wall coverings -- all from Sunworthy's "Kettledrum II" collection -- produces a cozy, tentlike effect.
One big advantage of such a color and pattern selection is that it's likely to remain appropriate as your daughter grows up. If she enjoys this kind of look now, the chances are good that it will retain her favor in coming years.
Cotton would certainly be my preference for fabric material in such a setting. If it fades at all, it does so gracefully.
Round out the design with slipcovers over the chairs, throw-style bedspread and soft, loosely fitted fabrics. Don't even try to give the room a tightly tailored appearance. It won't last for long and besides, your daughter will have plenty of opportunities to create crisply styled settings later in her life.