Boys have their own ideas about how their rooms should look. Nine-year-old Russell, an avid outdoorsman and Scout, imagined room like a tent in a forest. He shared his thoughts with designer Beverly Feldman of Feldman/Assoc. Interior Design, who took note of the pitched ceiling and dormer windows. She selected an animal print wallcovering in golden khaki hues flecked with bits of blue and black. The print gives the illusion of a textured tent fabric until you look closely. Tucked into dormers are custom-made palm trees. Lit from below with uplight, they cast dramatic and faintly ominous shadows.

Instead of being stuffed with toys, bedroom above is full of serious learning tools to grow with, all precisely arranged: desks, a private, well-lit reading loft, books. In one corner, a computer center, in another, a puzzle corner. This is Michael's room, designed by interior designer Eileen Brown. At 5, Michael is a mathematical prodigy who plays endlessly with numbers. He dislikes mess, and is happiest when his possessions are neatly stashed in designated areas. A happy child who can sometimes be timid, his pleasant disposition is reflected in the cheerful, abstract mixture of peach, taupe, teal and gray in window and bed coverings. Scaled-down furnishings help Michael feel less intimidated than larger pieces might.

When there's no room to spare, two brothers share this vividly colored room designed for maximum privacy and flexibility by their mom, interior designer Rebeka Gurfinchel. Eight-year-old Allan and 14-year-old Isaac know how fortunate they are, because all their furniture is custom-made to take advantage of every inch of space. Beds are far apart, each with an individual light to give the boys some control over their own space. The beds come with roll-out storage. Every surface in the room, from walls to furniture to bedspreads, is completely washable, but the best part is the pale, neutral shades of the furniture. The brightness comes from duvet covers, pillows and accents.

Brothers Mike and Daniel don't need to share. As a matter of fact, there's room in each of their bedrooms for guests. Designer Suzanne Levin/Silverman of Louis Mazor created an individual environment for each child, but the rooms work together because the strong masculine hues are related and tied with reds. Both rooms were designed for a young child, yet are meant to grow with each boy as his interests change. Today, 9-year-old Mike's favorite possession is an autographed bat given to him by Jackson, who had moments earlier batted a foul ball into Mike's very own noggin. However, he still loves his collection of personality bears, which are displayed in a natural sisal-wrapped corner pillar.

For Daniel, Mike's 13-year-old brother, a growing interest in sports has meant an accumulation of trophies and pennants. Storage is anywhere Daniel wants it, but mostly in built-in bookshelves in the upper bunk's loft-like area, echoed in the lower bunk. In the ceiling, a square track light is accented in red. As in his brother's room, industrial elements such as the track lighting and the ladder strengthen the architectural detail and add interest and punch to a standard, square room.

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