03/26/2012 02:01 EDT | Updated 05/26/2012 05:12 EDT

Arlie's Bedroom

Candice Olson

Sugar and spice and everything nice -- isn't that what little girls are made of? Well, most of us with little girls know that's really not the whole story! I had to keep this in mind when I was approached to update a three year old's nursery and turn it into a little girl's room. My client wanted Arlie's room to be a place that would grow up with her and be more than just a place for sleeping! This was music to my ears, as I've always believed a child's room should reflect their personality and be a getaway, an imagination playroom, and a warm and welcoming spot to play games and dream.

I started the project by choosing the palette for the room. A very subtle pink colour would be perfect for the wall -- not too girly-girly, but still soft and feminine. The walls were base coated with this colour and then, from the chair-rail down I added playful stripes of pink, salmon and soft buttery yellow. Already the room felt light and feminine!

Once the colour scheme had been established, I tackled the window in the room. It was recessed back about three feet and I saw it as the perfect spot to build in a small window seat. It would be a place for Arlie to curl up in and read books, listen to music or just daydream. I added a wooden pediment at the top of the window frame, hand-painted with playful, romantic swirls in the same colours as the wall. This worked to give the spot focus and importance in the room. I then added pink and cream floor-length, striped drapery panels to frame the window nook. I think my favorite detail here is the pom-pom fringe that we ran along the inside seam -- fun, fun, fun! The addition of an overstuffed seat cushion and fitted Roman blinds completed this little girl's getaway.

Moving from a crib to a bed is a big step for a child and I wanted Arlie's big girl bed to really make a statement. I brought in an antique iron twin bed, and painted it in a soft, neutral antique pink tone. I added a trundle bed underneath for the many inevitable future sleepovers. Cream and pink floral linens and throw pillows completed the bed's charming appeal. A bookcase with slide-out baskets hid all of Arlie's toys and treasures, and provided a great home for her family of fish, while a toy box against the wall provided more storage. Adding a small round table to the middle of the room created a perfect spot where Arlie can host afternoon tea parties for her dollies.

The closet was turned into a mirror image of the window seat, including the painted pediment and swag drapery. Finally, I wanted the lighting in this room to be soft yet functional. I started by adding two antique wall sconces on the sidewall. This provided great light on the side of the room that wasn't flooded with the natural light from the window. A lovely white antique lamp on the dresser added to the soft luminosity in the room.

A baby's nursery has grown to suit the needs of a little girl, and will continue to do so as Arlie grows up. It will easily take her through her childhood until she hits her teens and will want to do away with all my hard work! In the meantime, put on the teakettle and pull up a chair. Time to play!

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