The Kids Room – A Guest Post By Holly Mathis

We invited our friend Holly take the reins today. We hope you enjoy her post (and blog!) as much as we do!


Hello!  I’m Holly Mathis, and like you, I was so excited when I heard about Kevin and Layla’s decision to adopt.  Every word they have used to descibe where they are on this journey has been so authentic and inspirational.  What a blessed child our little friend will be when they meet their new family and settle into their Alabama nest. Life is sweet!

I was even more excited when they asked me to guest post on the theme of children’s spaces.  Many of you know I love this topic, so it’s fun to dream with them about the “little dreamer” on their way HOME to TLC!

I love Kevin and Layla’s idea of going down to the bare wood walls in the kids room. White painted wood will be the perfect backdrop for color and life!  I also adore the inspiration photos she showed on this post.  The main thread in most of the photos on that post is that they show non-juvenile theme fabrics and objects, but that none of the rooms are light on color or fun!

Here are my thoughts on creating a room for their little one that is based around play, rest and nuturing as they all bond and fall in love.

  • TEXTILES– Like I mentioned above, I love the idea of using non-juvenile fabrics. I found the dusty blue zig zag one at Premier and the red & gray one HERE.
  • STORAGE– Of course they will need lots of storage, and I can’t wait to see what vintage finds the Lettered Couple find (or BUILD!) for this room! Check out these lockers…

{image via Pottery Barn}

I can see Kevin pulling this off if they need extra storage and the numbers are so TLC!

  • PERSONALIZE– I think it will be really wonderful for this child to realize how much the Palmers want him/her and love him/her, and that he/she belongs and that he or she has their own place in their new home.  Having someting with his or her name on it- a pillow, a painting, or even written on a chalkboard would be fun and easy way to incorporate it into the room.
  • PLAY– I love the IKEA slide on the inspiration board above. Wooden toys that don’t blink but that encourage creativity add to the aesthetic nature of the room and will stand the test of time! I also think art supplies, and things to create with, are also very important so that children can learn to express themselves as they experience change.  Equally important is a place to display their art, so they know you value their voice and creations. I would have lots of paper on hand, especially if communication is a barrier. I know Kevin and Layla will encourage art making and display and I just can’t wait to see all of this begin! Just imagine the fun projects they’ll cook up!
  • NATURE– Children of all cultures love nature. I would love to see Kevin and Layla include some of their photography of trees, or build a tree in the room, or use a large map as artwork…

    {Map from Ballard Designs}

    The use of blue and green may be soothing and give an earthy feel that is calming and nuturing to everyone. They could also include a photo, or silhouette, of their pets (that bonding will be important for everyone too). Layla blogged about a cute bird mobile…

…and I love the idea of birds, or origami, in the room…

(Spare Bedroom Studio)

  • BED– For sleeping, I’d suggest this TROFAST bed from IKEA that expands as they child grows, or something similar that would work for a toddler and a school-aged child. I know Kevin could easily augment it with a rail if need be.

  • AGE AND GENDER– Kevin and Layla are open adopting a sibling group if they meet all the qualifications involved, so the room also needs to work for a range of ages and gender. That said, I know in this challenge their creativity will really blossom! Recently, I put my boys together (ages 18 months and 6 years) and it was challenging for me to create a space that both boys would love, and that would function well too. I used a vintage Jenny Lind bed painted white, and newer crib with a similar look to give continuity to the small room.

My baby Henry loves his big photo on the wall (far right, below) and points at it often.  Drew, my six year old, is more “cool” about it, but I know he likes his photo too. Drew also has a collage wall above his bed that showcases his favorite soldiers and drawings. And look! A blue chevron pillow and wire storage! (*smile*) And a mini banner for a bit more color too…

The rhino on the wall makes baby Henry laugh every day…

As Kevin and Layla get to know their child(ren) they’ll be able to add more personal objects, photographs and toys.

I can’t wait to see the space they create for their child(ren), and then what the child(ren) him/her/themselves bring to the space.

Because that really is the best part of all, you know. The sound of little feet, chatter, and giggles.

Best wishes to the LETTERED FAMILY!

Holly Mathis


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  1. says

    I *LOVE* this post, you guys! I cannot wait to see what kind of sweetness you bring to that kiddos room…and life! ;o)

    I sent you an email about your box…hope you got it ok.

    Smiles, Mary

  2. says

    I recently started redo-ing my boys room. I too want to move away from the juvenile (read: Pixar Cars) themes. I love all the ideas in this post and look to incorporate a few. Kids love a well thought out room they can function in. Just slapping up some decals is not enough.

  3. nel says

    Where did you get the lettered sign of love, joy, peace, etc (fruit of the spirit)? I love it!


  4. says

    Great post Holly! Love your blog!!

    Kevin and Layla: It’s going to be fun to see the personality your new little person will bring to the room you design! I just posted pics of some kids rooms last week because I’m going to be changing my boys into one room soon. I love kids rooms!!

  5. says

    I agree with so many of Holly’s suggestions – mainly textiles, storage, personalization & nature. Love her boys’ room too. She pulls it off brilliantly. Great guest post!


  6. says

    Thank you for sharing such great ideas, Holly. I am getting ready to make some changes in my boys’ rooms and needed a little help.
    So excited for you, Layla!!!

  7. says

    This was a wonderful post! I really enjoyed seeing how a professional puts together the inspiration board and then moves that to the actual items for a room. I would never be learning all of this interesting and informative info. if it weren’t for this new blogging lifestyle! Soon, the streets are going to clear because people might just be living in their blog worlds. Could work for me! Best of wishes for your upcoming adoption plans.

  8. says

    I really don’t think there is anything more fun than working on a bedroom for kids whether it is a nursery or a big boy or big girl room (or both)! I {heart} all things Jenny Lind too. Oh, and I love that rhino! Layla, I am just so excited for you – and Kevin too of course. :)

  9. says

    Wow!!! Holy, thank you so much for so much inspiration and tips! Thank you thank you thank yoU!!!!!!!!


  10. says

    great inspiration rooms & don’t forget that when bringing in vintage objects with old paint to seal or strip because of lead poisoning & when using wire objects (baskets) that they may have rough edges. sorry to be a party pooper but at certain ages children are very curious.

  11. Danielle says

    Great ideas…I love it! Does anyone know where the rectangular wire baskets are from? I have been looking for something like that for a long time. Thanks :)

  12. says

    I love your suggestions for the children(s) room. So tranquil and has a feeling of safety and protection, which children need.

    Congratulations on choosing a child to join your family. What a true blessing and may God continue to bless all of you

  13. says

    the rhino is from Anthropologie..they had a rhino, elephant, gazelle and giraffe i think…so cute.

    and the round rectangular wire baskets are vintage..

    the round wire basket is from the etsy shop MY SPARROW.

  14. says

    I love these ideas! We need to have our two little ones (3 years old and 18 months old) in the same room and haven’t done it yet. Your pictures were amazing inspiration!
    Kevin & Layla:
    If you little one(s) ends up being as creative and handy as you two are, you may need to make them their own tool bench! We just made an inexpensive, wooden one for our preschooler:
    Beautiful spaces for kids!

  15. says

    what a great post!!! beautiful bedroom ideas, I am working on my 5 year old’s bedroom and this was so full of inspiration :)

  16. Jenny B. says

    Oh, wow! Thanks Layla and Kevin for sharing Holly with us! I now have a new blog to love! :) So many great ideas… Yippee!

  17. Allison A. says

    LOVE it! Holly you did a great job and I must say, I love your sons room. That map is fab.

    The bird mobile is by the great people at Anthropologie.

  18. says

    Oh, this is just so awesome. You two are going so wonderful. And I can’t wait to refinish those floors. I’m serious. 😉 Getting excited!! -shaunna

  19. says

    Congratulations to the new parents, what a wonderful journey for you. You have picked the perfect person in Holly to provide ideas and vision for your new family’s bedroom(s), she is a very talented person with a great thought process for children’s rooms that show creativity in thought and design.

  20. says

    Gorgeous inspirations! Love that there’s a planned fun and activity in the rooms. Kids love doing fun things! Enjoy the week, Kellie xx

  21. Hope says

    Where did you get the Chihuahua looking silhouette print/clip art? I really want that for my home – I have two chihuahuas! Would love to be able to use that.

  22. says

    We are so thrilled for y’all as you embark on this amazing journey. Our prayers are with you. Thank you for stopping by, I look forward to reading though your lovely, creative blog.

  23. Erin says

    Great post. I’m also wondering about the chihuahua silhouette. Can you list the source (or maybe a link to a how-to if you made it yourself)? Thanks so much!

  24. says

    Concerning the adoption post I am so sorry to hear of the decline in Ethiopian allowed adoptions. There are so many adoptions needed and it is alread so so hard to do! We adopted from Vanuatu and that was 2 years ago. We are still working on her citizenship as it is a complicated thing. But she has been ours since day 1 and we took her home straight from the hospital. Her adoption story is my blog at I will be praying the decline does not go through!