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Photography by JENN PABLO

If there’s one place in the home where you can truly let your design imagination run wild, it’s the kids’ room. Whether you have little ones of your own or not, we can all appreciate an epic, kid-friendly space that inspires even the most mature adults to tap into their creative roots.

From sophisticated, tween-approved dwellings to whimsical, gender-neutral playrooms, we’ve seen our share of stylish spots. Ahead, you’ll find all the stellar kids’ rooms and nurseries that took us by surprise this year. Playtime might be over for the rest of us, but for the kiddos who get to call these Pinterest-perfect dwellings their private playground, it’s just the beginning. 

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Photography by Raquel Langworthy

This family added a bold dose of playful character to their new home with the help of some bright pops of wallpaper mixed in with subdued, clean neutrals. The wallpaper bearing a whimsical fox-motif makes for an ideal focal point, offset by the plain white shiplap designated for the adjacent walls. 

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Photography by HOWIE GUJA

Okay, if we could go back in time and have a sleepover in this rad playroom, we definitely would. From the custom wallpaper by Cavern to the over-the-top indoor climbing wall, this space is all about championing amusement and creativity. Plus, as designer Laura Flam put it, “The triple bunk bed was basically designed for the most fun sleepover party possible.” Ah, to be young. 

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Photography by JEREMY LIEBMAN

When it came to revamping Domino’s very own mini style-expert’s nursery, it was out with the neutrals and in with the hues that would pack in a punch. From the floral curtains that reveal her little hideaway to the rainbow ladder to match, there are no shortage of colors that inspire. 

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Photography by Julia Wheeler

When it came to overhauling their son’s nursery to be more fitting for his four-year-old self, Julia Wheeler and her contractor/woodworker husband were all about making the space feel fun yet functional. A wall outfitted with barn doors cleverly conceals a built-in shelving system that houses everything from books to toys, while the custom palm tree-themed wallpaper contributes to the room’s laidback, beachy vibe. 

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Photography by BO POWELL AND JULIE HOLDER FOR JULIE HOLDER PHOTOGRAPHY

When Austin-based photographer Julie Holder set out designing her daughter Marigold’s nursery, she wanted to create a space that was modern, warm, and dynamic all at once. While the room’s whitewashed walls promise a clean and neat look (even when total chaos strikes), delightful pops of color—peep the pink settee, graphic throws, and Marigold’s artwork—make for an especially inviting spot to host play dates, change diapers, and settle down for a nap.

 
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Photography by AMBER MAY

In keeping with the rest of this relaxed Soho flat’s artful aesthetic, scattered touches of intense color grace the nursery. While the almost mobile-like light fixture and custom cardinal red-striped wallpaper act as more playful elements within the space, they also give the room a chic, adult-friendly edge. We commend this stunning nursery for being a place both mom and dad will want to hang out at… even at 3 am.

 
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Photography by NIKOLE RAMSAY

Proof that strong colored walls can pull a room together, this completely pink suite defies traditional princess-ey vibes without compromising the room’s calm, feminine energy. Riddled with vintage finds and objects collected on travels abroad, this empowering space is all about encouraging nostalgia. Note also how large-scale art works best with a generally monochromatic scheme.

 
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Photography by RC STUDIO

With its calming blue hues and ultra soft surfaces, this minimalist nursery is inspiring us to take a nap of our own. A dreamy reminder that small space dwellers don’t have to skimp on style as their family grows, we love this nursery for its simplicity and savvy storage hacks, such as the woven toy basket that doubles as a textured accent piece. 

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Photography by NICK GLIMENAKIS FOR HOMEPOLISH

Introducing the hideout of our childhood dreams: What was once a home gym in this spacious apartment in NYC is now a vibrant kids’ loft, with all the makings of an envy-inducing playhouse. Courtesy of Homepolish designer Pippa Lee, the space is decked out with a bookshelf, hidden chalkboard, reading tunnel, work station, and, yes, a rock climbing wall (!!). Jealous much?

 
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Photography by MICHAEL WILTBANK

For all the mamas who want to start their future feminists young, take a hint from this nursery, where sentiments of strong women and intimate family passdowns line the walls. Inspiring her daughter to always dream big, Jenna Arnold—activist and co-founder of the non-profit Organize—hung a collection of dreamcatchers above the crib, ensuring her activist-in-the-making will always sleep well.

 
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Photography by AMY BARTLAM

It can be tempting to go wild with wallpaper in the kids’ room, but a strong print on all four walls can quickly overwhelm what is typically a messy teenager’s bedroom. This sweet girls’ room can teach us all a lesson in restraint: What would have been a too-busy pattern for the walls instead charms the ceiling—adding both intrigue and height to the room.  

 
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Photography by MICHAEL WILTBANK

Teeny spaces were meant for tiny people, right? Well, at least that’s the case when you’re a family of four living in a 650-square-foot apartment. With two kiddos roaming about, Brooklyn-based writer and stylist LaTonya Yvette came up with a functional fix: Install a fake wall to act as a divider between the children’s room and the rest of the living space. We love this ingenious solution almost as much as we love the makeshift garden she created on top.

 
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Photography by PIPPA DRUMMOND

With the hope of designing a space that evolved with her daughter, Poppy, as she grew older, Madewell’s lead designer Joyce Lee opted for polka dot wall decals as a low commitment way to incorporate pattern, while also introducing a sense of whimsy to her 2-year-old’s bedroom. Elsewhere, vintage locker baskets—which act as wall-mounted cubbies for Poppy’s toys—serve as a timeless storage fix.

 
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Photography by SKYE PARROT

Artist Carly Jo Morgan’s funky Topanga Canyon, CA home is filled with earthy furnishings and futuristic details—and her 3-year-old daughter’s room is certainly no exception. Magical creatures, fantastical unicorn art, and a friendly heart-shaped pillow (made by a friend and fellow artist) promise revolutionary play dates.

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Photography by HERVÉ GOLUZA

An ode to the streets below, we love how the graphic wardrobe in this historic Paris apartment brings a contemporary (and educational) edge to a quiet bedroom. By sticking with clean-lined furnishings and simple bedding, the home’s original features—such as the herringbone floors and molding—shine in this put-together boys’ room.

Originally published December 2017. Updated April 2018.

See more of our favorite spaces from 2017:

The Celeb Homes We Fell In Love With This Year
Our Most-Loved Living Rooms of 2017

The Laundry Rooms We Couldn’t Stop Gushing Over In 2017

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