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March 25, 2018   
HOME Features Furniture For Children

Children's Furniture: From toddler to teen, here's furniture that grows with your kids

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By Rosemary Thornton, contributing editor

toddler bed
The rails on this youth bed from Young America's "Built-to-Grow" collection were once part of crib. When the rails are no longer needed, the bed becomes a conventional twin bed, like the maple bed, shown below.

twin bed
This bed was once part of a crib. Part of Young America's Built-to-Grow collection, the children's furniture is designed to last a lifetime.

Furniture that Grows Up

One day Junior crawls out of the crib and announces that he's ready for a real bed. His $300 - $500 lightly used crib disappears into the attic, replaced with a toddler bed. In a couple of years the toddler bed will be replaced with a bigger bed.

A growing trend in juvenile furniture spares the crib banishment to the attic. Manufacturers at the High Point (NC) Furniture Market in October 2005 introduced new lines of babe-to-teen furniture. Called different names by different companies, the essence is this: Furniture that grows along with the child.

The "Built-to-Grow" line, introduced at the Market by Young America (Stanley Furniture Company) reduces the child's needs to four basic groups:

  • infant
  • preschool
  • 'tween, and
  • teen.

While other furniture companies offer cribs that convert to youth beds, this line goes the distance from babyhood to adulthood. Part of what makes this line work for multiple age groups is that it's not theme-based or faddish. No smiling cartoon characters or cute little critters will be smiling back at you from these beds.

"This is good, basic furniture" said Glenn Pillaman, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Young America. "The consumer builds soft goods laround the furniture to match the child's age."

In other words, use lamps, rugs and linens to satisfy your child's "have-to-have" cravings. When he outgrows Spiderman or she outgrows Bratz, replace the accessories, but keep the furniture.

Lea Furniture's new "Kidz Room in a Box" makes it easy to make the decor switch. Each box contains seven coordinated accessories:  a clock, bulletin board, lamp, three storage boxes, wall-hanging, picture frame and a small rug. Colors are all designed to complement Lea's (a division of La-Z-Boy) juvenile furniture lines.

Retail price for the "Kidz Room in a Box" is $199.

Crib to Bed

Selling for about $700, the Built-to-Grow crib begins life as a traditional crib. As baby grows, the crib transforms into a toddler bed, using the original mattress. A few rails from the crib become a guard to prevent tumbles out of bed.

When the wee one turns into a robust grade-schooler, the rails disappear and the bed becomes a traditionally styled twin unit. The company says this bed will take your child right through the teen years.

The Cottage Treasures and Cottage Cove line of the Built-to-Grow collection has 35 pieces, including chests, beds, armoires and nightstands , in 20 styles.

The classic lines and smaller size of juvenile furniture makes it a good choice for vacation homes and guest bedrooms. This hutch is from Young America.

Not just for kids

Juvenile furniture is ending up in places other than children's rooms. Many people are buying the traditionally-styled juvenile furniture to fit into the smaller bedrooms of vacation homes and guest bedrooms.

"Adult furniture just keeps getting bigger and bigger," said Pillaman. "But second bedrooms are not getting bigger."

The modest size, combined with features such as simple finials, rounded corners, wooden knobs and turned posts, give the bedroom sets a timeless appeal.

A room can be outfitted with a bed, dresser, mirror and chest for about $2000 - $2,500 (October 2005).

Perennial Millenials

They're not consumers yet, but the parents of those born after 1982 are. And California-based furniture manufacturer Z Generation has designs it hopes will appeal to parents and kids. Its new bedroom group for teens and tweens, combines the retro look of a tufted upholstered bed (shown here with pink leather) with eco-friendly woven rattan and synthetic woven accent pieces.

The Pod Chair and Ottoman, is offered in three colors: pink, lilac and slate. Underneath the removable cushions is extra storage space.

pink bed
The color is sure to appeal to pre-teen girls, while the 50s retro-look tufted head and footboards might make parents or grandparents nostalgic.


Kids might not want to outgrow the Pod Chair and Ottoman from Z Generation.

blue iroom
Lea's iRoom furniture is modeled after the popular iPOD digital audio players from Apple Computer. Interchangeable trim allows kids to go from pink to blue to gray to black. The clear maple finish blends into a variety of decors.

Designed to appeal to the 12 to 17 set, this iRoom dresser has sleek lines and changeable hardware and trim. Available starting March 2006, the dresser will sell for $599.

Trendy but timeless

Lea's new iRoom furniture piggybacks on the runaway success of Apple Computer's iPOD portable digital audio players. But the clean simple lines of the clear maple furniture appeal to pre-teens, teens and adults. Metal accents and trim match iPODs colors -- Electric Blue, Metallic Pink, Jet Black, and Steel. The furniture, which won't be for sale until March 2006, generated considerable interest at the High Point Market. Or maybe it was the free iPODs the company was giving to qualified buyers.

There's no pressure to decide on a color when making the initial purchase of iRoom furniture. Case pieces are shipped with all the trim colors included so that your capricious teen or 'tween can choose (and later change) trim color(s).

"We followed the map that Apple created when launching the iPOD," said Earl Wang, VP-Brand Manager of Lea Industries. The target consumers - are "hip, technologically inclined young people."

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