Tips for Decorating Children’s Bedrooms
Find out how to get their rooms to grow right along with your kids.
Decorating children’s bedrooms can be a challenge, considering that the rooms will need to grow and change as they mature. To make sure you don’t end up with a style that your child is going to quickly outgrow, follow these design basics:
Choose flexible furnishings. Go with a style of furniture that has simple lines. A bed that’s shaped like a race car is great for a 7-year-old, but when he’s 13 it’s going to be time to buy new furniture. Daybeds and oak wood are wonderful choices in furniture, since they work well with any color and can be used for a child at any age. When buying furniture, remember this tip: The simpler it is, the more flexible it is.
Give them room to grow. Children need plenty of space to move, play, store clothes and entertain friends. Design with your child in mind: A toddler requires lots of floor space for playing, while a teen needs seating for more adult activities such as visiting with friends.
Let the kids have a say. Allow them to be creative and express their own personality by allowing them to choose some of the furnishings and colors in their bedroom. Their private space will become a place that reflects their personality – and they might even keep it clean.
Don’t add your fantasy into theirs.
Decorating a room provides a great opportunity for children to express their personalities, and can be a great opportunity for parents to learn more about their kids. “I’ll ask a child what her favorite color is and the mom thinks it’s blue and the girl will say red,” says designer Sherri Blum of Jack and Jill Interiors. “One girl wanted a workstation in her room for doing art. Her mom didn’t know how important art was in this girl’s life.” Blum assures clients that they will have final say but always tells them, “If you really want pink and your daughter wants lavender, we can redo your room in pink.”
Don’t spend big money on trends.
Only follow the trends if they work for you, your child’s age and your home. For example, fluffy Flokati rugs are a tactile draw for children, but impractical when it comes to clean-up and safety.
Do get funky with accessories.
Accessories are a great way to introduce a trend, because they don’t cost a ton of money. Beaded door hangings — sure! Or punch up a bed ensemble with cute pillow cases.
Don’t buy twin beds.
One of the biggest mistakes parents make is not thinking ahead, says Blum. “The little boy who’s 4’10” now may be 6’3″ in a few years,” she says. “It’s important to think ahead to the future needs of the child and the future needs of the room.” Buy at least a full-sized bed if the room is big enough to handle it. Interior designer Ann Fox, based in Dallas, notes that homes there tend to have plenty of space, so she advises moving toddlers straight from cribs into queen-size beds.
Do consider built-ins.
Often when a child goes off to college, their room becomes a home office or a guest room. Built-in shelves and even desk space are “great for a study or den.”
Bookcases or display cabinets are one of Lyn Peterson’s three most important items to invest in for a child’s room (the other two are the bed and good lighting). Shelving offers a place to display their stuff, and having plenty of space for books encourages kids to read.
Don’t spend more than you can afford.
It’s easy to get sucked into spending more than you planned, especially since kids don’t separate “need” versus “want.” Have your child make a list of all the things he or she wants for the room, from rugs to a lava lamp. Then, commit to the three most important and add the rest of the list as your budget allows.
Do buy a few, high-quality items.
Generally, there are three transitions in the life of a kid’s room: The move from a crib to a big kid bed at age 2 or 3; the changeover from the toddler room to a kid’s room from ages 6 to 12; and then another redecoration at age 17 or so.
More kids are returning home after college now. So people are decorating for a mature young adult/guest room. With that in mind, it makes sense to spend money on high-quality beds or dressers. Think ahead and spend the money to get good furniture the first time around.
Do put kids to work.
Give kids assignments, both to save money and to get them invested in their space. Blum taught one teenage girl how to make an inexpensive memo board for her room that looked like one in a popular catalog. For a child, you may take the light fixture down and have him spray paint it silver. Get kids to create artwork for the walls and frame it, or ask them to collect items that fit with a room’s colors or themes (say, seashells and sand dollars that can be made into a shadow box, or fill a glass jar that can be turned into a lamp).
It’s shocking how many people don’t put their kids to work. Utilize summers to have your kid gut the room and go through everything. Ask your kids to sort through their stuff and look at what they can give away or sell, so rooms don’t become over-crowded with stuff.
Your child’s room will be a strong memory for them some day!!!