Ideas for Children

As the somber, solemn president of Lifestyle Interior Design, an international interior design, and model home merchandising firm, I have enjoyed lighthearted times, particularly when I am designing children’s rooms in playful, color-driven materials, while seriously developing child-to-child and child-to-adult lay-outs formulated to engage and encourage interaction. Fun is work.

I consult with my custom home clients and/or their builders, developing comforting and amusing specs, shopping and purchasing—a little retail therapy–then overseeing the final installations. The experience gives me a tiny window of opportunity for good natured mischief — mine, of course, not theirs.

Horses Romp Through Her Dreams

We developed this room around a little girl's love of horses. Her horses romp through her dreams...sigh!

Ceilings play an important role in our children’s rooms: typically they are ignored but they can be significant not only to the appearance of a room–but also how they may affect emotions. How do we feel in a space: are we anxious, comforted; tranquil, ruffled, relaxed, energized?

Ceilings offer psychological meaning: they are the needed roof over our head. Our roof-ceiling is the ultimate residential shelter. It provides security. It defines our spatial relationships, desk-to-bed, for example. But in the end the ceiling offers us protection.

Aesthetically ceilings add interest to boxy, plain vanilla spaces. They can tell the story of that space. And they present an opportunity for a theme.

Ceilings can fool your eye too. They lower or raise the feeling of a ceiling in a room. A low ceiling should be lighter and brighter than the walls. Extra high ceilings should have intense color coatings, like the color of the night sky, or any high contrast that appeals to the wall color. If you have a vaulted ceiling you have interesting architecture, the first thing your eye goes to as you enter a room. Play up that architecture with contrasting color, or a thematic border that enhances the amusement aspect of the room. The border will attract the human eye to the edge, as opposed to the center, so it makes the room appear larger than it is.

Iridescent Night Sky

We installed the iridescent night sky on this high ceiling, visually lowering that ceiling, while lending color and contrast...and an opportunity for nighttime learning...about constellations.


A Comforting Canopy

A comforting canopy over this princess bed tucks the little child into her room



How to: Trim the pencil point canopy and window valance in contrasting tape. The valance and canopy reinforce each other and calm the space through continuity.

We re-covered the rocker with hand-painted canvas to keep this room playful. It balances the lively plaid pencil point bed skirt too. We installed a sconce over the bed and under the canopy to secretly allow relaxed reading before sleep. But what a “lift” for a little one to climb into a bed! — Three fully upholstered, cheery steps, stapled with room fabric scraps. The duvet cover is a production item, available in discount stores, machine washable ready to deal with oops! Paint walls and ceiling a white shade of pink to further animate a little one’s bedroom.

This was the "Before": That old rocker, the grey-pink wall color and the fabrics appear ready for a Granny, not a six year old.


Princess Room Drawing

Here's our Fabric Design for our Princess Room




Truck Bed Drawing

This is our drawing of a single bedroom window made active and amusing for a little guy.



Keep on Truckin

Trucks everywhere!--On the desk, --on the dress -- over the window. (He's getting ready to read "Road and Track") Those are real life trucker blades too. Oh, to sleep in a truck!



How to: Draw the truck concept to scale on brown craft paper; cut the headboard and footboard out of MDF; paint the “truck” in poster board colors; attach the painted segments to a steel bed frame and over the window, then install a set of real life truck wiper blades for authenticity—reality! This little boy is ready to go places. Keep on trucking little one!


Sandra Elizabeth Clinger is an award-winning internationally recognized interior designer.  She holds a BA degree from the College of New Rochelle and an MA degree from Villanova University.  Today she is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers and is recognized by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) as a Certified Active Adult Housing Specialist. She holds multiple distinctions including a national first place award for Historic Preservation and a Colorado Home of the Year Award. She is a 1970’s poster model for the Lange Ski Boot Co. selling over three million copies, one of which hung in the Vail home of the President and Mrs. Ford. Ms. Clinger has been hostess to the President and Mrs. Carter at her ranch in the High Country.

Her design work appears in over fifty publications and may be seen in two HGTV episodes. Ms Clinger is equally at home on the lecture circuit as she is comfortable at her computer: In recent years she lectured throughout the US on behalf of NAHB enjoying large attendance in Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Denver and Las Vegas. She has appeared on Denver radio talk shows. In her youth she was a television/ stage performer.

Her work is also featured in Ultimate Decorating (Publications International, Ltd.), Cabin Style (Publications International, Ltd.),  Today’s Historic Interiors (Schiffer Books) and soon to appear in Nursery Décor (Schiffer Books). Her design work has appeared in Better Homes and Gardens, Colorado Homes and Lifestyles Magazine, Mountain Living, Colorado Expression, Architecture and Design of the West and numerous additional publications. She has written for Victorian Sampler Magazine and other shelter publications and shelter industry periodicals.

Sandra Elizabeth Clinger M A,


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Lifestyle Interior Design is a full-service project management and interior planning firm serving the custom home client, the resort industry and the builder community.

New release on itunes

“Wary and Weary of Love” ™

David Alan Clinger and Kenny Passarelli

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