Extreme Kids Rooms: Why Do Parents Do It?


Extreme Decorating: A Dream for the Kids, or the Parents?

So what exactly is it that drives parents to spend more money decorating their kids' bedrooms than most American families spend on their child's college education?

For many parents, it is a chance to give their children what they never had.

Julie Spangler, a mother of three, came from a poor background. Born in Korea, she came to the United States as a child and went on to create a successful life for herself in her new country.

When it was time for Spangler and her husband to decorate their daughter, Kylie's, bedroom, in their lavish, new home just outside Minneapolis, Minn., they spared no expense.

"It's more about me," admitted Julie. "It was really an opportunity for me to create a kind of fantasy room for her that was totally princess-y…a girl's dream come true as a bedroom."

The dream for Spangler, and perhaps her daughter, included $10,000 worth of hand-drawn and hand painted murals, a $2,700 mosaic bench, a $1,400 mosaic mirror, more than $1,700 worth of furniture, a $1,200 custom butterfly chandelier and more.

"There are mermaids that reflect us," Julie pointed out. "So there is a mommy mermaid and a Kylie mermaid."

For those keeping track, the Spanglers spent $39,313 on their 10- year-old daughter's bedroom.

The story of Julie Spangler and her extreme decorating is neither unusual nor extreme, confirms Jennifer Duneier, the president of Duneier Design in New York City.

"People want their children to have the most amazing rooms, partially because maybe they didn't have the fantastical room that they wanted as a child," she said. "Or now they have the means and they want to blow it over the top for them."

And when the kids are gone and the means are still there, where will mothers like Julie focus their attention?

"This is a beautiful silver hand carved dog bed," Duneier pointed out to Spencer in the Zoya B. showroom in Manhattan. "It's about $2,600, and of course you can do it in any fabric, any size you want."

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