Kid-Friendly Decorating Tips from Stars of 9 By Design

06/04/2010 at 10:00 AM ET
Tim Geaney

Robert and Courtney Novogratz have a lot on their plates.

Not only did they just wrap the first season of their reality show, 9 by Design, but they’re raising seven children under the age of 13, too!

So the couple definitely knows a thing or two about creating kid-friendly rooms.

And it seems mom and dad are rubbing off a bit on their brood (Wolfgang, 12, twins Bellamy and Tallulah, 10, Breaker, 8, twins Five and Holleder, 4, and Major, 16 months).

“A lot of our kids have very specific design likes and dislikes,” Robert and Courtney tell PEOPLE Moms & Babies.

But mostly the family loves watching movies, eating pizza before bedtime and traveling.

Since the Novogratzes — who are co-owners of Sixx Design — are such pros, we asked them for their top tips for creating nurseries and childrens’ rooms out of unique spaces.

Check out what they had to say.

Tim Geaney

Decorating a nursery for a delivery surprise

Go for a neutral hue. Pale yellow, green or even white work well. You can always add accessories and bedding for color later.

Keep the décor simple. You want to create a room that will work regardless of the sex. Plus, kids grows up so quickly, it’s best to design something you can update over time.

Have fun with art. Cool, colorful posters and paintings will stimulate your baby from the moment they are born. Just frame with plexiglass to guard against accidents.

Decorating a nursery on a tight budget

Shop at budget-friendly retailers. Ikea stocks stylish and affordable cribs, bedding and nursery accessories. Also, buy paints from big-box store, like Home Depot, where prices are reasonable and the selection is vast. Online shopping is also a great way to find bargains. We love Amazon.

Reuse what you already have. Try spray painting an inexpensive set of drawers in a fun color. Repurposing things in your house is a great way to decorate on a budget.

Decorating a shared bedroom

Go for a unifying theme. From the paint to the bedding, choose colors that don’t clash. And if your kids are old enough, ask their opinion. It will make them feel a part of the process. Want to add a personal touch? Give each child their own “expression” wall. That way they can put up their favorite knick knacks or photos that reflect their personality.

Carve out “me” spaces. A nook, no matter how small, gives them a place to call their own.

Kate Hogan

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Showing 58 comments

Jen K on

WOw, nothing like having 7 miserable looking children.

lisa on

Ah, I can only figure out the sex of 3 of those kids due to their, um, different first names. Any idea who’s who?

S.A.M on

LOL @ Jen K….I didn’t notice until I read your comment…so true!

jessicad on

I’ve seen the show, the kids aren’t miserable, I’m sure it’s just hard to get that many still for a photo shoot.

Why are people so quick to look for negativity, I don’t get it.

Janna on

Do you really believe their children are miserable based on one picture? Or does it just make you feel like a superior human being to criticize other people?

Odds are, they were asked to look serious (aka not smiling) for the photo.

j.bananas on

On the show they are anything but miserable. They’re cute! Mom is holding baby Major. Five and Holleder (4) are on the left side of the ladder with their sister Bellamy. Breaker is sitting on top of the ladder. Tallulah is under the ladder and Wolfie is standing to her right.

Tess on

That nursery is really ugly.

SMore on

The family is like this in the photo:
Breaker is on top of the ladder
Bellamy is next going down the ladder with either Five or Holleder on her lap.
Then is Five or Holleder.
Mom is standing holding baby Major.
Tallulah is standing under the ladder.
Wolfgang is standing in front of dad.
Bellamy and Tallulah are girls and the other 5 are boys.
Mom and Dad’s names are Bob and Courtney.

And apparently you’ve never seen a photo were people don’t smile. These kids and the parents are AWESOME. They are a great family full of fun and great design ideas. Miserable doesn’t touch this family!!!

Iesha on

Wolfie is a boy, Tallulah and Bellamy are the girls, breaker is at the top and a boy, 5 and Holly are the blond and brunette little ones and Major is the baby.

Kasey on

It wouldn’t be this website if people didn’t judge based on a single picture, alone.

Have you ever tried getting multiple children to not only sit for a photograph but also look like they’re actively enjoying it? Even when I was younger, I absolutely hated getting my picture taking and I had a far from miserable life.

The lengths people will go to in order to insert a negative jab.

Cristy on

This family is as far from miserable as you can get. The children are darling…all of them. The parents are awesome…and their ideas rock. Oh how I wish they would come and do my house.

I sure hope there is another season of the show…it was quickly a favorite.

As for the picture…I love that photo.

K.C. on

I think the photo is gorgeous!

AM on

Love the show, love the parents, love their designs and the portrayal of their relationship…and ALL their kids are adorable.

Sandra on

What channel is this show on? I’ve never heard of it. The kids names are suitable for artistic parents, but they are very strange. Five is a child’s name, since when? Does Breaker get teased?

momof3princesses on

Why is this even a reality show? The room pictured above isn’t even cute….looks like a bunch of left over items put in there. Seems they are making a show out of just about anything and everything. I don’t know if it is just me but it seems like people are purposely having larger families just for the chance to be famous and get their own show. Hmm…I smell Octomom and Kate Gosselin…And i agree with others….a picture speaks a thousand words and these kids faces speak a ton!

Allie-Rose on

Someof those names are eyebrow-raising to me, but I guess after some celebrity baby names we’ve heard, they seem pretty normal

Shannon on

Wolfgang, 12, twins Bellamy and Tallulah, 10, Breaker, 8, twins Five and Holleder, 4, and Major, 16 months

Two sets of twins? Wow! 🙂

Erica on

Those design tips are extremely unoriginal…most people already know to go with neutrals when you don’t know the sex of the baby, that bright colors are stimulating, etc…

On the other hand I saw a couple episodes of their show, and while their kids are adorable I’m not a big fan of their aesthetic. It’s kind of generic IMO.

rb on

Nothing screams “soothing baby nursery” like dead animal on the floor. Faux or not, those..cows?? are just fug.

robinepowell on

Please tell me ‘five’ is a nickname?

Also, are these all their own or some/all adopted?

Astrid on

Wow that older daughter on the ladder is just beautiful! I can’t believe she’s ten, her face is very mature for ten. She really looks like she could be a model. Not too surprising, since the parents are both good looking as well.

kmb on

wow, what ridiculous names.

Heather on

It’s called an artistic photo! Ever heard of it. They are all supposed to look angry ok. The way models look on the runway yeah know. Kinda mad. lol This show is awesome and the family rocks. I LOVE Design and Modern so this family is one I would of LOVED to be BORN into! Counrtney and BOB keep it going! You read my mind! My parents have no idea what I’m thinkin but you do! lol

Amy on

Love this show, love this family. I love that they gave their kids’ names that have such great meaning to them. The kids aren’t miserable- watch their show, they’re happy, they’re bubbly, and smiling. 🙂

Lola Monroe on

Wow….some of you people are so rude & miserable…momof3princess…you especially. Get off your high horses & smile for once…it’s ONE picture people…go sit behind your computer screen and trash people you dont even know some more.

Beautiful family & they are FAR from miserable…interesting, different and unique names, it’s 2010..who cares!!!!

Laydacris on

I’m sure Jen K was being sarcastic. I found her comment quite amusing.
I think other people need to get off their high horse on here and get a joke.
The world doesnt need to be so serious, plus its highly unlikely they even know or care who half of you are!

jessicad on

I love their design style, wish I had an eye for that stuff! I also love how the Mom never wears make up and she’s absolutely gorgeous. They seem like a really cute couple!

Denise on

I believe that this show is on Bravo…I watched a couple and the kids seem pretty happy to me. Seriously…is “Five” the name of the fifth child born? It seems as you count down the names/ages it is the 5th child. Not too creative there. The other names aren’t really all that offensive. Is Holleder the mom’s maiden name? Don’t think I’ve seen that name anywhere else.

Jen K on

Thank you Laydacris.

I have no idea who these people are. They could be the happiest, bubbliest family in the world. But honestly, they LOOK miserable in that photo. Artistic or not. It’s just an honest comment. I didn’t say they ARE miserable.

michelle on

I ABSOLUTELY Love them. Their show was so fun and I learned a lot about design. I hope thye come back for another season. If you didnt watch the show and see how their family works and how all the kids are beyond happy, why do you have to down people. I dont understand that just by reading this people jump to conclusions and say the negative things they say. Thier book is going to be amazing. The pictures are beautiful. 🙂

Jenn on

The names make me want to hurl.

Michelle on

People will always have to find something rude to say about large families. I think it stems from a sense of inadequacy and a mistaken feeling of superiority that they can tell others how to live or how many offspring they can have when they can afford to support them unassisted.

Plain Mean on

Their kids are quite beautiful! The names are quite beautiful bit I would rather see a Bellamy than another Aiden- Jayden- Kayden- Madison- Addison- Avery- Ava- Riley

Ashley on

I stumbled upon this show when I was sick in bed one weekend and couldn’t get enough of it. I love this family SO much.

grace on

LOVE THE NURSERY DESIGN. LOVE THE SHOW, CANNOT WAIT FOR SEASON II. As for the negativity critism, different strokes folks. Have you even seen the show or their designs?? So quick to judge – bored mommy housewives I guess. Their children are beautiful and so real. Looks like a gap ad.

Jaedyn on

I quite like the name Bellamy (especially bc you can call her Bella). But I was wondering: do you pronounce it bella-mee or bell-ay-mee?

J on

Yes Heather, we’ve all heard of artistic photos. ever hear of lightening up a little? God forbid someone be allowed to comment on the photo full of angry looking people.

J on

Exactly Laydacris and Jen K. they probably are a nice family, but these “artsy” photos where people try to look so solemn just seem odd.

Hey Michelle, nobody was insulting large families. Your psych analyst attitude wasn’t necessary, stop reading into harmless comments on ONE photo.

Shay on

As someone who is actually a viewer of the show, this photo reminded me of the episode where they where attempting to rangle all the kids together for a photo shoot….and of course them being children wanted to be off playing or doing something else.
There was running around, screaming, whining, complaining, tears from the little ones…
That may be why they’re not all smiling. Kids aren’t always the easiest photo subjects in the world!

Mallory on

I googled it, Lisa…Tallulah and Bellamy are the only girls…All the other kids are boys. I honestly was unsure about Five and Holleder because of the names, the pic, and the fact that I don’t watch the show.

Hanna on

Does anyone know if this show is out/coming out on DVD?

Sarah M. on

They have done interviews with the parents and the kids. The kids were asked how they liked their unconventional names. All of them, the ones that were old enough to talk, said they liked that they had different names. And yes, the fifth child is named Five. Courtney said it was because they were trying to decide on a name and couldn’t decide/agree on one, so they just figured ‘Hey, why not Five…”. The whole family seems very loving, outgoing and down to earth.

Mrs.B on

momof3princesses, if you haven’t heard about the family or watched the show, google it first or ask someone before you write a rude comment. The family is famous but not because of their show but because of their talent and design company. Not every one is doing a show just to get famous or because of the number of children they have, especially not this family. If you watched the show you would have seen what kind of houses they build and live in.

The kids are beautiful and so happy!

JMO on

some parents should be beaten for giving their kids names like that!!!
But they’re a beautiful family – even with serious looks.

s keller on

Hi. Absolutely! I agree with the comment about the names. Some names are soo overused. I like when people come up with unusual ones – and wow – most of these are unusual. Anyway – names don’t really matter that much – a happy family does; and this one seems happy. Also, as a photographer, some of the best photos I have ever taken have been serious ones. Or – like someone said – these are children. Maybe it was naptime or something. One more thing. As long as they can tell who is who among their kids, what does it matter?

T on

I saw a preview of the show but turned the channel to something else. I don’t like the nursey pic, BUT, everyone has their own styles of what they like and don’t like and designers usually design if many different styles suited to their client. I enjoyed reading & seeing the family pic & thanks to those who pointed out which child is which. I wonder if Tallulah and Bellamy are named for the old movie stars Bankhead and I think his name was Ralph (Bellamy). And it’s pronounced Bell ugh me. I quite enjoy unique names, why do we need a zillion Michael’s, Rob’s, Bob’s, Steve’s, Alexis, etc.

bre on

There’s actually an interview with the family on another site, and the dad list how the kids got their names. It has meaning to the family. I’d rather have a sort of out there name that has meaning, than something trendy and boring that my parents just thought sounded pretty.

Daze on

I love the beautiful and unusual names. Two sets of twins is awesome. I had neighbors like that. By the time the last child was born, the ages were Sandy/Randy 12 (boy/girl twins), Wayne 11, Tammie 8, Lisa/Teresa (identical girls)3 and baby Jessica. Five is no more unusual than Seven (another celeb baby, but I am sure he’ll get heat as he gets older. The others are at least ‘names’. A name is a moniker that identifies an individual apart from a whole. There is a song that goes “I went to school with 27 Jennifers”. It’s so funny and true. I have like, 7 close friends named Jennifer. When a name gets so common, it is no longer a ‘name’. I begged my cousin not to name her baby John…it’s not a name, it’s a word that means toilet or the customer of a prostitute…This is a gorgeous family. Bellamy does look like a model. So does Breaker. The twins are definately fraternal, both sets.

Jen DC on

So the kids’ names are kinda strange – at least Five’s name is kinda weird… But those kids are so full of life and fun and helpfulness that you just get used to it!

It’s no different than someone naming their kid Octavius (8) or something – it just happens to be in English instead of Latin.

Anyway, these guys are a lot of fun and I love the remodels they’ve done for their houses. They have great style and seem to be very much in love with each other, their crazy life and enjoy their job. Frankly, I’m a bit jealous!

I don’t think the above nursery is a good representation of their style. And yes, the advice is neutral – but they can’t give specifics without looking at a particular space. Whaddaya want from them?

fuzibuni on

this article plugs home depot and amazon, and i realize that they have some good deals, but keep in mind that these corporations are big reasons why family run hardware stores and local businesses are nearly extinct.

Supporting local business is good for the community and keeps the money you spend in your town. Plus the service you get is usually much better. Just something to consider.

Jaedyn on

T, if it is pronounced “Bell-ugh-me”, I love it! Sounds like the french words ‘Bel Ami / Belle Amie’. I love it!

JMO on

say Bellamy’s name quite fast it sort of sounds too close to another phrase!

Marina on

momof3princesses – no, I picture do not speak more than words. I know that my specialization make me more incline to words as you put it. One picture, it’s only one moment of the thousand that there is in one day, try to multiplicative that by 365 one. If someone see your children having a tantrum they could easily think that you are a bad mother with that logic, when maybe you are not. If you don’t like them that is fine, but think before you speak!

Mary on

I LOVE all the kids names! I’ve never even heard of this show so I went to and watched a few clips and it looks like an interesting show.

Bren on

Watch the show, those kids are far from miserable. They are a really interesting family that allows their kids to show their identities. I really admire parents like them.

Stef on

“Five” is going to be made fun of when he goes to school. Kids are cruel. I’m all for original and unique names, but there’s a line and when you cross that line, your kid is the one who suffers.

MiB on

Actueally number names weren’t that unusual when people have more children, I have personally met a Nine and a Seven (the seventh son in a family) and there is an Octavia (yes, she was born as number eight) in my family tree. Actually, if you look at old names, You will see a lot of names that would be deamed strange today, I for instance would never give a child exactly the same name as it’s dead sibling, but my great, great grandmother did. My other great great grandmother gave all her four daughters the middle name Maria (I know Sylvester Stallone gets a lot of flack for haveing given all his three daughters the middle name Rose). I have also met octogenarians named Clever and Kind and a friends great great (great) grandmother was named Happy.

Kenton on

We have a few boy names (Thank God Bug is a boy!) but are absolutely stuck at nohnitg for girl names. I love the name Lucy or Lucille, but our precious puppy was Lucy and our family is dead set against us honoring our deceased dog by naming our future Daughter after her.