Friday, March 18, 2011

Decorating Childrens Rooms: Making Them Child-Friendly

Give your child a say! That's what we say too!

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Decorating Childrens Rooms: Making Them Child-Friendly

As you might expect, decorating childrens rooms is a bit different than decorating adult bedrooms.

While adults spread their living activities among several rooms in the home, children will try to jam nearly all of their activities into one room.

To children, a bedroom is a place to play games, read, listen to music, wrestle, display or hide prized possessions, or just to be alone sometimes.

However, decorating childrens rooms is a great opportunity for you to show off your playful side, do some family bonding, and allow your children to be creative. Use the ideas for decorating childrens rooms below to help plan your decorating project. But, please keep one thing in mind.

Strategy # 1 For Decorating Childrens Rooms - Talk To Them

Talk to your child or children and find out what activities they enjoy. What brings them the most comfort? What's their favorite color? What's unique about their personality that you can build a theme around?

Whatever their interests are, find a way to work them into the new décor…

This will make your child feel comfortable, safe and happy. For example, I have a friend whose son loves jungle animals, therefore choosing an African theme for his room was easy.

Her daughter is very spiritual and has a favorite stuffed Beanie Baby toy named Halo. These two elements led to the idea of decorating her daughter's room in cherubs and soft white clouds.

Strategy # 2 For Decorating Childrens Rooms - Let Them Help

Give your child a say! Allow them (with a little guidance) to choose colors, pick decorative pillows, decide how they want to display their collectibles, and so on….

Their room should be fun, yet timeless. Consider their age and keep in mind that today's child will be tomorrows teenager. The décor should be flexible enough to allow your child to grow and accommodate their changing tastes and needs.

As an example, replacing the comforter and decorative pillows to reflect the room's new theme are two quick ways to avoid having to completely redo the room every couple of years.

Strategy # 3 For Decorating Childrens Rooms - Make It Multi-Functional

As I mentioned, children use their room for many activities besides sleeping. Here are some specific areas that you should consider designing to make the room multi-functional:

A play area. Play areas for younger children may include an arts & crafts center. Most children love to draw and color, so set aside a comfortable space for working on crafts.
You may also want to consider hanging a chalkboard which can be used for drawing or it can be a great teaching aid for you.

A reading area. Most children love to read. Provide a quiet and comfortable space that will entice them to do this. If you have the space for a comfy chair, perfect. If not, an over-stuffed floor pillow or two should do the job. Also remember that good lighting is essential for this activity.
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Space to entertain friends. This becomes more important as children get older. They'll want to spend time in their room with their friends. Depending on their age, a small entertainment center, that includes a radio, CD Player, perhaps a TV and VCR may be appropriate.
As an example, my friend's daughter loves music. She has a small CD Player that allows her to spend quiet time listening to music or dancing and singing-along with her little brother. But for your own sanity, you may want to include headphones.

A display area. Children love pictures. So dedicate a wall (or use a corkboard) to display your child's favorite photographs and artwork. Pictures of family and friends will add to the comfort of the room.
In addition, chronological pictures of the child as they grow are interesting and will add familiarity and warmth. Children are very proud of their artwork…display it with pride!

You should also dedicate space or shelving for displaying collectibles, trophies, and other personal items.

Strategy # 4 For Decorating Childrens Rooms - Storage Solutions

Keeping your child's room organized will be one of your greatest challenges. Try these storage solutions to help keep clutter out:

Shelving is a quick and easy way to store items. Built-in shelving is more decorative, but there are plenty of free-standing shelving options
Large decorative wicker baskets for toys, books, socks, etc.
Plastic (see-through) storage containers would work well
Closets should contain plenty of shelving and racks for clothing and shoes. Make sure that children's clothing are within their reach.
Strategy # 5 For Decorating Childrens Rooms - Window Treatments
Keep the window treatments simple and follow these guidelines:

Avoid long (to the ground) draperies, especially in young children's rooms. Shades, blinds, valances, cornice boxes and shorter curtains would be better choices.
Ensure that hardware on the blinds or window treatments are safe guarded, especially in babies' rooms.
Use a lining on curtains for privacy and light control. (Especially for those early risers who automatically wake up with the sun.)
Fabric should be versatile and simple. Patterns should be repeated in other items in the room such as decorative pillows, matching lamps, and artwork
Decorate Today - Curtains & Draperies is a site that I recommend you visit for window treatment ideas. They even have a decorator available to answer questions and guide you.

Strategy # 6 For Decorating Childrens Rooms - Lighting
When decorating childrens rooms you should include both task lighting and soothing lighting. If they do homework in their room, good lighting is essential. A reading lamp is a must for the reading area and the bedside table.

For quieter times, install a dimmer switch or three-way lamp to provide soft lighting.

A nightlight is also important for children who are not quite comfortable with the dark and for safety reasons (so they can see where they are going if they wake in the middle of the night).

Strategy #7 For Decorating Childrens Rooms - Fabrics

It will be easier to co-ordinate the room if you limit the color choices and keep your fabrics simple. This will also allow you to make changes easily as the child grows. After all they are children and will get bored quickly!

When they do get bored, purchase new decorative pillows and linen. Let your children help you pick them out. They'll be happy and you'll avoid having to redo the entire room.

Strategy # 8 For Decorating Childrens Rooms - Wall Coverings

Use a wall covering (paint or wallpaper) to add splashes of color, texture, and excitement to your child's bedroom walls. Paint a cherub border with a soft cloud ceiling or wallpaper an African Safari theme on a wall. Allow your child to join in. They'll love helping and will have a sense of pride and accomplishment when the project is done.

If your child has sticky fingers, make sure the walls are washable. If paint is your wall covering of choice, go with a semi-gloss or gloss finish.

For really cool decorative painting ideas that you can apply to children's rooms or any room, for that matter, I recommend that you investigate using rubber stamping on your walls. Check out the eBook, Creative Stamping for Walls & Furniture.

In addition, Decorate Today - Wallpaper & Fabrics offers hundreds of wallpaper design and border ideas. You'll find Disney characters, athletes in action, animal prints, beanie babies, and tons more.

Strategy # 9 For Decorating Childrens Rooms - Childrens Bedroom Furniture

At a minimum you will need a bed, desk, lamp, and side table for your child's room, especially for teenagers.

Your bed options include:

Standard full or queen size bed
Bunk bed
Loft bed
Small sleigh bed
Trundle bed (great if a friend sleeps over)
Make sure that the furniture you choose for decorating childrens rooms is durable. This is a child's room and it must withstand years of wear and tear. Use slipcovers whenever possible. They are removable, washable, and will extend the life of your furniture.