I'm a grownup who loves kid decor

Updated Oct 12 2015

My chain of thought post product purchase after seeing the tag "Circo": Wait a tick, isn't that a kid's brand? Certainly this isn't a bathroom owl rug for kids. Yes, it had been surrounded by circus-y looking stuff, but what kid has their own bathroom? Probably a few, actually. It does have pastel hearts on it. I did it again, didn't I? (Marge noise.)

And thus continued my unintended obsession with kids' decor I assume is for adults. And actually, a lot of it probably is intended for adults. Adults like me. Places like Urban Outfitters make bank selling anthropomorphized lamps.

You know, like this one. I saw this in a model home once… in the kid's bedroom.

As a woman who has passed the age of 30, I still get giddy over things made of plush. I have a feeling I'm not alone. I recently discovered this stowaway after a trip to a certain boy wizard's theme park. He resides on my grown-up refrigerator alongside a stein and a wand you can't see in the picture. But trust me, it is there, calling my adulthood into question.

On the other side of said fridge lives my trusty garden gnome named Gnome Chomsky. He has been a resident for a decade and is probably the only thing that could more likely be owned by old ladies than children. But I'm lumping him in anyway. He, alongside monkeys (particularly of the sock variety) and Domo, have claimed permanent residence of some kind for most of my life. They come and go with popularity, but always have a place in my heart.

Speaking of sock monkeys, this was a recent purchase that has yet to make its way onto a wall:

Wall decals rock and this one from Blik was a no-brainer. I also purchased this. More monkeys, I know. But it will be worth it when they come alive and become part of my traveling circus. Only one animal has so far.

Nothing is crazy different about my junk, and I fall for trends all the time. But I do like my kiddie stuff, and as long as they keep cranking out animal-shaped things, I shall acquire them. Like the mugs above, which were recent finds at a thrift store. Thrift stores don't judge me on my youthful purchasing because they can't prove anything! No paper trail… muhahaha.

Who among you will join the ranks to take back what is rightfully ours? Lend me your ears, your animal-shaped pillows, your anime posters, your video game paraphernalia, action figures, World of Warcraft plushie (that I totally have somewhere in storage), and your birds with eye patches and Owl and the Pussycat paintings!

We will take back the night day and feel unashamed of our Spongebob Magic 8 Balls. Who's with me?

  1. I am with you, sister!

    I am unashamed of my Yu-Gi-Oh magnets, finger painted curtains, and Beanie Baby collection!

      • Thanks! Some of my paint froze when our heater broke and afterwards was only kinda good, so I used it up on paper curtains I bought at the hardware store. They're not a permanent curtain but I'm keeping them there as long as I can get away with!

  2. I too will admit loving kids products. I went shopping at IKEA and found the best pink flower lamp in the kids section! I also have a small collection of stuffed animals I could not live with out. Mainly Jovi, my pink hippo and Jag, my pink love dragon.

  3. I'm with you! Our apartment is a weird technicolor dreamland, complete with our old toys (My little ponies/peewee/action figures) and an assortment of mannequins <3

  4. I feel the same way. I'm a total geek and have recently obsessed with purchasing posters off of etsy for my room. I have Batman and Rogue and Gambit prints everywhere, littered between goth-like candelabras and antique cameras, and book shelves filled with comics and graphic novels, scary movies and video games. But I get no end of grief for my stuff from my sisters, because I'm 27. Well, guess what? I like it. I don't care if goth/steam punk/comic book geekery looks weird together and if it looks like a 13 year old boy decorated my space. It's what I like.

    • I'm envious. All my gamer, video game, and graphic novel interests are hidden in closets. I need to check out the selection on Etsy! 🙂

  5. We totally do this too and we're "grown ups" with a home and everything. So what?! It's awesome.
    I make sock monkeys and crochet animals so they are strewn EVERYWHERE along with our tie-dye wall tapestries and posters, cactus plants, and the crap I bring home from work (a toy importer).

  6. Oh!!! I love that owl and the pussycat painting!!!

    I love kids decor when it's all casually around the house. For instance, we have a ghost soap dispenser in the bathroom. And it makes me laugh every time I wash my hands.

  7. I'm big fan of potterybarnkids.com and other kids' offshoots of bigger furniture retailers. They're often cheaper, modern, more colorful versions of the grown-up brand.

  8. HA! I love this post. It's so me. I have a weakness for all things cute. In our apartment you'll find a plush chibi Cthulhu, a singing cutesy Korean cat clock, a link from Zelda video game decal, a hello kitty toaster among others. And my favorite child item I had to throw away last year, a penguin shower curtain with googly eyes. *sniffles*

  9. Our whole house is filled with toys and action figures and plushies and stuff, because we're both longtime collectors. But as far as themed decor, one of our bathrooms is decorated with monkeys. I'm sure the stuff was designed for kids but whatever, it's cute and we like monkeys!

  10. I don't know that I'd go so far as to say that I love "kid's decor" because I definitely don't love most of the mass-produced/overtly gendered stuff I see in stores. However, I love colorful, whimsical, fun decor, and that often comes off having a youthful feel. I also have an unabashed love for Ohdeedoh.com (which isn't Ohdeedoh anymore…)

    Our spare bedroom/craft room is white and black with a turquoise accent wall and yellow and turquoise accessories. It's also decorated with vintage Disney prints. Now that I'm pregnant, almost every person who visits our house assumes that that room will be converted into the nursery. No way! I love that room just the way it is, and I'm excited to decorate the other room as an awesome nursery!

  11. Agreed! I have stuffed animals and random art projects everywhere – there are stickers on my computer and I sleep on an old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pillowcase (used to be my brothers, lol). My cubicle at work is filled with coloring book pages, a My Little Pony, Pound Ponies and play-doh. I think the only reason I haven't bought much from the kids' furniture and decor section is because I've been scrimping for a while and I'm actually trying to get things OUT of my house rather than bring them in.

    Here's an interesting question though – Is there a line where decorating with things meant for children becomes creepy? I have a male friend in his 40s who has Bob the Builder sheets on his bed (he announced this to me once very proudly in a reference to how he's in touch with his inner child). He's a really wonderful person with a beautiful daughter – but I'll have to admit, that one weirded me out a bit. Of course than I promptly was quizzing myself asking why I was so weirded out and questioning my double standard- why am I allowed to have kids' stuff but not this guy? I've somewhat concluded that my thoughts are perhaps affected by a bit of gender and age bias – but I still feel the same despite that awareness.

    • That's an interesting question. I'm sure there probably is a line where it becomes creepy, no doubt, but I personally haven't seen it IRL. I imagine most of the youthful stuff around people's houses centers around pretty normal interests: sci-fi, gaming, nostalgia, kitch, GNOMES, etc.

      • I have to admit I've wondered something similar: why do I go into rage/lecture mode when someone bemoans a friend or family member who hasn't "grown out of" video games or anime, including stuff that is actually intended for children, and yet I would find it weird if someone still played with Barbies.

        Why is electronic entertainment ok in my mind, but physical toys are not? And even then I don't find it weird if an adult collects toys, just if they were to actually play with them in anything more than a joking sense.

      • Maybe the fact that it was bedsheets is what squeeged you out? If I heard that someone had a Bob the Builder figurine or collected Bob the Builder toys, I would probably just laugh and think of it as quirky. But bedsheets are in such a personal, intimate area. Maybe it's that a collection of toys would be on display for all to see, but the sheets could be hidden away? I dunno. Just thinking.

  12. We have two bedrooms. One is mainly for me and my husband, and is decorated with Star Wars posters and a painting. The other is mainly our son's room, and is the Miyazaki room with painted murals on the walls. So yeah… kind of childish, but we love it!

  13. I can't help my love for the whimsical either. I have those giant leaves from IKEA that are meant to be a canopy over children's beds, over my own bed.

    • I think that is the best way to put it: "whimsical."

      Another Ikea kid-purchase: In our old apartment, there was a narrow exposed pipe running from floor to ceiling. We bought Ikea's plush dragon and wrapped it around the pipe as a sort of guardian.

  14. Our house is decorated with a lot of kids stuff. Partially because my husband isn't really into decorative items and I haven't had a lot of money as an adult, but mostly because we love it.

    I still have most of my cuddly toys. At the moment they're packed up but I fully intend to 'display' them on a spare sofa when I can get rid of the old TV that's currently 'stored' there. Our walls are covered with about 50/50 music and video game posters, including a full-wall display of my Guild Wars posters and a lot of my knicknacks and ornaments are stuff I was given as a kid.

    Come to think of it the fish shaped bath mat we inherited from my parents was probably intended for kids too.

  15. THIS! I love so much of kid's decor. I, too, have several collectibles from a certain boy wizard's theme park – as well as Disney princess figurines (some adult-oriented because they are ceramic, but plenty in plastic too), plush toys, and animal-shaped items. It helps that I love anything cute (a-la Cute Overload or Daily Squee). I don't set out looking for kiddie decor and I am able to shop like a good grown-up in the "adult section," but sometimes there are such cute things in the kids' aisles that I find it difficult to resist. Obey the siren song of cuteness!

    Even my husband is complicit, purchasing me a toy Batman (which is cute and not menacing), Adipose (from Doctor Who), and My Little Pony ("Look! I bought you a pony like every girl wants!")

  16. We don't have any kid decor, but that's only because we are dirt broke and only have what other people bought for us or handed down to us. HOWEVER, my roommate was wonderful enough to put her small assortment of stuffed animals in the living room.

    My favorite has to be the Mew plushie that sits in a basket on the wall beside the door. He always brings a smile to our first-time guests, and I honestly think he helps them relax a little more.

  17. I can't wait until i get into a better place to display stuff, because i've got some hella cool zombie posters and toys i need to display. I collect Living Dead Dolls which aren't really meant for kids anyway, but some people still look at me weird when they see i have a doll collection. then they realize one of the dolls is in a straightjacket…
    I don't think i'm even friends with many people who wouldn't have some kids stuff, somewhere. a few of us have recently gotten back into Lego, so you'll find a big lego dragon in one friends' kitchen, next to the TARDIS ice bucket and the seventy million hidden Domo figures.
    I like looking at "adult" houses but i don't think i could ever live in one. Nerdery/kids stuff makes my house feel like my home!

  18. You bet I'm with you! Children get the bestest watches designed for them. Check out this beauty I got my hands on last year.
    I buy most of my gym t-shirts in the boy's department of Target, because they don't make too many super-hero t-shirts for women.

  19. My collection of porcelain dolls is the first thing to go up when I move. I still have the majority of my stuffed animals, and sleep with one (a giant stuffed cat named Chudley). I unabashedly collect Beauty and the Beast paraphernalia. One of my life ambitions is to have a couch that looks like Totoro.

    I identify with this post. <3

    • Gotta love Beauty and the Beast! My fiance has taken me to see it in 3D twice and he said we could see it at least once more! YAY!!!

  20. I wish I had taken photos of my apartment (more like a dorm) when it was in full pony-swing. I'm currently living with Mom, waiting for the hubby to get back from deployment so we can get our first place together!

    AND THERE WILL BE PONIES. (He said I could!) AND PLUSHIES EVERYWHEEERE. And Metal/Anime/Star Wars/Video game posters. I will somehow pull it all together, and PICTURES WILL BE HAAADDD.

    PONIIIIEEESSSSS. I always get judged for my ponies ;__; But then why are they so damned cute? And why is that new show CLEARLY made for adults? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOVDu7etQlc

  21. YES, I'm with you! (You've got great taste, by the way.)
    I always buy my bedding in the kids section, so I have these awesome Toy Story, Lord of the Rings and Lego bed sheets. I love them.

  22. Our bathroom totally looks like a kids bathroom. A whale shaped ashtray is our toothbrish holder, there's an alligator in our bathtub to keep us from slipping, and an octopus with an eyepatch keeps our trash.
    I also have an owl mat in the kitchen…love it!

  23. I am one of the luckiest women EVER!!!!!!! The house my fiance bought has two bedrooms that are panted a lovely soft lavender color. I have taken one room as my bedroom and it goes so well with my baby pink blanket set. It also works with my my little pony collection (new and vintage), my collection of stuffed sheep from Bath & Body, and a stuffed hot pink unicorn pillow that is shaped and sized like a body pillow for an awesome 4yr old.
    That is just the tip of the iceberg! I decorate the house with stuff animals, action figures, toys, figurines,crayon and marker drawings, legos, dragon pets from a Renaissance festively, and more.
    I've made a my little pony blanket for me, a dinosaur and cow blanket for my fiance, and plans for a cow infested dress for myself. Plus, I've made a plush cow/lizard for my fiance.
    I figure if there is a child inside of me it is probably one little boy and 80 screaming little girls.

    P.S. I think the wand remote control was made for people like us.

  24. The top of our entertainment center contains a batmobile, along with several superhero statues. My mom was with me when I was unpacking these items and she wrinkled her nose and said "those are going away somewhere…aren't they?" and I said, "They go riiiight here" and perched them up on the top in the middle.
    I also have Tinker Bell collectibles peppering my bookshelves in our living room. And a Tinker Bell pillow case.
    I also have coloring books and will put my favorite pages on our fridge. People compliment my nephew's coloring and then feel uncomfortable when I inform them it is I who have an incredible ability to stay in the lines.

  25. first shelf of my dvd shelf. Barbie collectablies, the adult kind that me and my friends saved up for(fourty dollars was alot back then) because I AM the star princess. So I had to have the star princess barbie doll.
    second shelf. Sailor moon. Complete anime collection. Two wands, one heart locket. One handpainted reisin statue and some little toy things. 🙂
    Third shelf assorted kids movies, Tangled(my fav) Kung fu panda(1&2 fiances fav) and some Anime.
    fourth shelf is all the 'adult movies' I go from Tangled to Silence of the Lambs.
    fifth shelf. My Monster High doll collection.
    Fiances movie shelf is mostly southpark. With the top shelf holding his 'action figures' our walls are purple and I painted a white shiloutte tree. My book shelf has alot of 'grown' books. But also has a whole shelf of manga(still working on my sailor moon collection) random My little ponies grace the shelfs as well as Littlest per shop. My hoops decorate the wall and I have recently become the proud owner of a hoopin hello kitty(the guys face when I specifically asked for that toy in my happy meal was priceless)
    kids stuff is more fun. That's just the way it is, when shopping for carpet we couldn't find anything we liked till we went to the kids section.
    My engagement ring is a custom made replica of Usagi's from SailorMoon. Because I am that awsome.
    Be not affraid of your inner child. Grown ups could learn alot from 'kid' stuff.
    Also, I am so insanely jealous that you got to go to HP world. WHIINNNNE. One day. One day. And Disneyworld, ima dress like a princess the whole fucking time. You best believe that.

    • Killer collection! But if you do end up going to HP Land, wait until they expand it. Apparently that's happening soon! 🙂

  26. I'm not going to lie…I buy all the owl stuff from Circo all the time…I have plates, bathroom stuff, picture frames

  27. My husband and I rent currently and our place has looked like that of a geeky teenager since we were…well, geeky teenagers. Anime wallscrolls cover whatever wallspace they can fit on and a tower of plushies protects our bed, and then in our living room we have two large bookcases full of manga and D&D books.
    We're huge cute addicts, so when we do purchase a house of our own, our friends better watch out. I can imagine it may end up looking a bit like a young Japanese girl's bedroom.

  28. I have a stuffed animal collection that I've managed to haul with me throughout every single move, and it includes my Swedish Chef plush doll (naturally) and a femur-length jackrabbit hand puppet acquired at an arboretum. (Fun fact: my sister and I used to roll down the passenger window, set the jackrabbit on the window well, and have him interact with passersby. The double-takes were priceless!! We even had one guy rummage around at a stop light and produce a tiny stuffed bear to play back at us with! What the heck?!)

    Sooooo… tell me again what the problem is with loving kid's stuff? I mean, think about it… Kix. Kid-friendly. Mom approved. Thoroughly delicious. This stuff is like Kix that never gets soggy!

  29. I see no problem. Now we are grown up we can buy whatever we want
    it's the awesome of being grown up! I have never seen why i would grow up and suddenly decide to use my awesome grown up freedom to buy boring things!

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