Joy Cho of 'Oh Joy!' Shares Her Top Tips for Organizing Rooms for Kids

Designer Joy Cho shows us the pastel bedroom and the organized playroom she designed to be fanciful and functional.

Last year, Joy Cho, the designer behind the Oh Joy! brand, moved her family from an apartment to a freestanding house in Los Angeles. Though they now had extra space, daughters Ruby, 9, and Coco, 6, were happy to share a bedroom, so Cho opted to turn the spare room into a playroom. "Their bedroom is chill for reading and relaxing," Cho says, "while their play area is for all the hustle and bustle." The result, a collaboration with Cleo Murnane, of Project M Plus, is an inspiration for any parent who wants to cut through the clutter and corral the toys.

Joy Cho and kids in their bedroom with bunk beds
A Soft Spot: The bedroom’s soothing palette helps set the tone for Cho’s daughters, Coco (left) and Ruby, to unwind each night. Both are in daisy pj’s inspired by Cho’s line of books with Scholastic. Bethany Nauert


Bunks Are the Best

This space-saving piece of furniture was a no-brainer, given how narrow the room is. Cho chose the Perch Bunk Bed, which can grow with her kids. "Each bed separates out," she explains. "The top becomes a loft, and you can put a desk underneath. The lower one can be its own bed." Beneath it all is a trundle that pulls out, ready for when sleepovers return. At the foot are shelving units that attach (Perch Shelf; Perch Console).

Choose Happy Colors

bedroom bunk beds
Bethany Nauert

Always looking to incorporate surprise elements, Cho turned the closet into a cheery focal point instead of blending with the wall. A contrasting color perks up each door—an easy trick anyone can pull off with paint. "The girls share the closet, so it's divided right down the middle, with drawers and hanging space for each of them," Cho says. The vintage rug, with atypical kid shades like rust, mustard, and black, also proves there's no need to be matchy-matchy. But the biggest wow is on the ceiling: pink leopard-print wallpaper from Eleanor Bowmer. "Graphic wallpaper overhead makes the ceiling look higher," Cho says.

Sass Up the Shelves

bedroom shelving and art
Bethany Nauert

The sisters are able to keep the room neat because Mom made sure everything has a place. "The books are color-coded in rainbow order to help them know where to put them back," Cho says.

The Girls Say ...

"The bed is so cozy!" Coco tells us. Adds Ruby: "We like to look out the window from the top bed."


Space to Create

girls at play table in playroom
Bethany Nauert

"My kids love crafting, so it made sense for their playroom to be primarily an art room," Cho says of Ruby (in blue) and Coco. "They often come here in the morning after they wake up and entertain themselves while waiting for breakfast." The playroom setup features two tables from Nico & Yeye joined together to form a large work surface that's perfect for bigger projects. Cho invested in several sets of Acrylic BaCk Kids Chairs, also from Nico & Yeye, for crafting with friends when playdates make a comeback.

Deck It Out

playroom potted plant
Bethany Nauert

Cho loves faces and figural art, so this pot from Jungalow caught her eye.

photo strip collage decoration
Bethany Nauert

The girls love to decorate their playroom with their own creations, like these photo-strip collages that Ruby DIY'd with her iPad. Using a pretty binder clip to hang them up makes it a snap to swap in their latest artwork.

Introduce Fun to Function

playroom creation station storage
Creation Station: The playroom is set up so the kids can grab what they need—and easily clean up when they’re done. Bethany Nauert

Cho tacks up cute tools, finished projects, and baskets of books and pens to maximize space. "Pegboards are efficient and double as storage and display," Cho says. Underneath, glass jars hold tiny doodads, and solid white IKEA Variera bins hide the chaos of other art and play supplies.

This article originally appeared in Parents magazine's February 2021 issue as "Divide and Declutter." Want more from the magazine? Sign up for a monthly print subscription here

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