When I was in design school, we were given an assignment to design a Children’s Museum.                             

Since this was a class project, we didn’t have an actual client, meaning it was the perfect opportunity to pull out all the stops and let our imaginations – and our inner child – run wild.

I decided to have some fun.

Being the daughter of a museum curator does have its advantages, since I was able to visualize this museum project from the viewpoint of a child who was taken to museums probably from the time I was old enough to walk.

I admit, I didn’t always go willingly. Cause, let’s face it, a big stodgy old building, as most older museums tend to be, aren’t exactly a child’s idea of a good time. It can be downright boring.

I know this from experience.

Plus, I’m now a bonfide museum docent who tours school children young and old, and I can tell you things haven’t changed.

Entertaining kids in a museum can be a challenge, but it can also be a joy.

For my project, I decided to give the children an exciting, hands-on experience, without the usual “Do Not Touch” approach. In fact, in my museum, touching was not only encouraged, it was the whole point of the experience.

It was meant to be educational, without the kids knowing they were there to learn.

My concept for this museum was based entirely on interactive, life-size room settings inspired by famous paintings, such as Vincent VanGogh’s ‘The Bedroom’.     

In this case, the painting would be three-dimensional, with every detail intact, and enlarged to child scale. It would be theirs to explore to their hearts content.

Other museum ‘exhibits’ would feature an artist’s studio (again, borrowed from a famous painting), a pint-size replica of King Tut’s tomb, the Parthenon, and numerous child-size reproductions of mid-20th century designer seating, should anyone care to rest amid all the activity.

The goal was to teach about Architecture, Archeology and ancient civilizations along with modern living. As I envisioned how children would interact with the various collections in this museum I became more and more enthralled.

Of course, this was a school project, and the museum was never built. It was a product of my imagination and nothing more.

However, I had complete floor plans drawn out, and even built an architectural model, as part of the requirements.

So it was with much amusement, that I recently learned of a child’s book titled “The Sixty-Eight Rooms” written by Marianne Malone, and featuring the Thorne Rooms collection at the Art Institute of Chicago.

I was intrigued.

Yes, I’ve written about these 68 rooms before, but bear with me a minute.

You see, in this story, two children have been shrunk down small enough to enter into these rooms and explore life in another day and age. They actually spend an adventurous night locked in the museum, caught up in this miniature world.

We have only to use our imaginations to see how much fun that would be.

How often to you let your imagination run wild? Or are you caught up in the ‘shoulds’ and ‘must dos’ of your life?

Whether you are remodeling your home, or working with an interior designer, here’s an idea.

Give yourself permission to have some fun and explore.

Allow yourself to pull out all the stops. At some point, yes, you’ll need to face reality and reign yourself in, but in the meantime enjoy yourself.

First, find out what options are out there waiting for you. Don’t set any limits, and don’t overlook quality. Just leave yourself open to all the wild possibilities.

Let you mind soar.

Then, when you’re ready, step back, and review your findings.

Was there something you fell in love with, a must-have? Once you’ve figured out which of your new-found discoveries for home design might be worth the splurge, you can decide where to compensate.

It’s all about give and take, and finding balance, both in terms of your budget, your personal comfort, and your inner happiness.