A child’s world is full of wonder, imagination and limitless possibilities. That’s why decorating a kids room is great fun right from the word go. Its okay to be outrageous, its okay to go over the top and its okay to get your kids involved in this project. For older children be sure to plan this activity during the school holidays.
A certain amount of thinking and planning ahead is necessary when designing a room for the little one. You should consider that your toddler will start school and soon grow into a teenager. The nursery with its crib, changing tables and hanging mobiles will transform into a children’s bedroom. Be sure that whatever you bring into the room is easy to care for. It should be washable, durable and can easily be changed as the child grows older and his preferences change.
What to spend on
Decorating a child’s room need not be expensive. You do not even need a professional decorator. Invest your budget in furniture that will hold good till your kid is a young adult. That includes a good size bed, a sturdy wardrobe, a book shelf, a full size desk which can accommodate a computer and an adjustable-height chair.
Before you start decorating a kid’s room, organise it. Children need lots of storage space when their toys accumulate. As they grow older there are clothes, stationary, books, CD’s, art projects, sports gear, collections… the list is endless. Storage solutions can also jazz up the room. Use clear plastic shoe bags hung on brightly coloured hooks to store kids “stuff”. Inexpensive plastic bins in bright colours can hold books, school supplies and CD’s. A wall of simple metal strip utility shelving will accommodate a large amount of stuff, especially for older kids. Under the bed storage drawers or even an old suitcase under the bed is useful. Make sure the storage is accessible for the little ones.
Now ask your children to come up with a theme idea for their room and build your décor around it. Some great themes include garden, jungle, space, cowboy, trucks and trains, fairies, teddies, favourite animal, letters and numbers, cityscape, farmyard, under water theme, Disney characters and favourite movie characters. Work on the theme and colours by doing up the walls, painting furniture, floor spreads, pillows and bedspreads.
Instead of painting the wall in bright colours, consider other alternatives. Wall stickers are a great way to add colour and character to walls. They come in a wide variety and do not damage the wall. Just peel and stick them. Has your son outgrown ABC’s and cartoon cars? Peel them off, wash the walls and stick on Batman borders and stickers.
Another popular way to decorate walls is with your child’s artwork. For young kids use crepe paper on a roll for finger or sponge painting and hang the finished work on the wall. Older children already have a collection of artwork from school art classes. Teenagers will want magazine pictures of their favourite musicians and movie stars on the walls. Use removable, non-damaging adhesive to arrange them.
Fixing a bulletin board on a wall is also a good idea. Or else hang a clothesline from one end of the wall to another and peg on paintings and photographs.
Once your child agrees to the ‘real’ furniture like a desk and bed, fill in with low cost novelties like beanbag chairs in jelly bean colours, funky lamps and dramatically coloured bedding you won’t mind replacing when the new look comes in a few years.
Hardwood or vinyl floors are best to keep a child’s room neat and clean. Use non-skid rugs which can be washed in the washing machine.
Finally, remember you are making memories for your children not your neighbours. Bedrooms are meant to be personal affairs so don’t worry what people will say if it is not the Barbie or Hot Wheels room like the other kid. Give the fantasy room to your child with your heart, not with your wallet.
TIPS- Get creative when dealing with children
- Install a small basketball hoop above the area for laundry or waste basket. This makes it more interesting to put socks in a hamper or papers in a basket.
- Label compartments, shelves and drawers. For younger kids who cannot read, stick pictures to help them sort and store.
- Keep an eye out for favourite characters in magazines, shoe boxes and clothing tags . One of my son’s favourite decoration is a Spiderman cut from a shoebox, taped to the wall, ‘swinging’ from a ‘web’ made out a piece of yarn.