Thumb through any design magazine these days and you’ll find stunning images of kids’ bedrooms, expertly decorated by some Finnish designer you’ve never heard of. And while they’re beautiful to look at, most parents probably wouldn’t haul in a designer for a child’s bedroom. You’re familiar with the scenario:
It’s a girl? Floral wallpaper it is!
A boy? Let’s get a race car bed!
(Note: I had a race car bed growing up. These statements aren’t mutually exclusive.)
This is not to say that there’s anything wrong with appealing to a child’s imagination through whimsical bedroom décor. But those designers know what they’re doing. Get rid of the chic mohair giraffe in the corner or the ballerina pink chenille throw, and what’s left could be a pretty sweet set up for adults, too.
I know, I know. That wall of Beanie Babies was a cute idea. But your son or daughter won’t want those beady eyes staring back at them forever. Sooner or later, your kid will be begging for a bedroom makeover. Kids' taste changes like the seasons – better to decorate with the future in mind now, while your child can’t form enough complete sentences to complain (kidding). How do you do it? Decorate wisely with these tips.
Opt for a neutral color scheme. This doesn’t mean turn your child’s bedroom into a sterile waiting room (which may or may not trigger fears of getting shots at the doctor’s office). Rather, decorate with a palette that’ll work nicely with any color on the wheel. Use neutral colors in the biggest areas, like walls and rugs, which are often more expensive to replace. Think of it like a painting – the background is always the anchor for the subject, and in this case, a neutral backdrop will be the base for some of the more colorful accessories.
Which brings me to my next piece of designer wisdom: add splashes of color with accessories. Your son or daughter will undoubtedly change their minds about their favorite colors, so it’s best to spend on bright pieces that can be switched out easily. Think bedding, pillows, lamps – even those bean bag chairs your teen will insist on owning. Keep in mind that small pops of color tend to have the biggest impact. A popular alternative are those removable wall stickers, which come in a variety of themes and characters that can be peeled away in an instant.
Rate it G. And by that, I mean keep things kid-friendly. Yes, your son or daughter will grow up alarmingly fast, but that doesn’t mean you should equip them with a glass-topped desk to scribble homework assignments on. Steer clear of white or themed furniture, or anything fragile.
Convert where you can. Doesn’t it make more sense to invest in one piece rather than three or four? Enter the convertible crib, which can be assembled into a bed when your child is ready. Another smart option would be to forgo the transition from a crib to twin bed, and instead go straight to an adult-sized one. If the height creates safety concerns, you can always install side guards to ensure your child won’t fall.
Rant on changing tables: I’m not a mother, so I may be wasting my time here, but really – who needs a changing table? They take up space, and you’d be better off purchasing a low dresser that will absolutely have a purpose later on. Secure a changing pad with raised sides to the top, plop down some bins for storage, and presto! Instant changing table, without the changing table price tag.
Lastly, choose smart storage solutions. Your kid’s got a lot of toys? Great! Store them in bins or baskets rather than toy chests – they’re timeless and can be toted off to college if necessary. In addition, select classically designed bookcases and shelving.
At the risk of coming home to your walls covered in graffiti, the most important thing to remember is to let children be who they are – a simple task if their bedrooms are designed to evolve with them. Save yourself serious coin on makeovers by taking a cue from the pros, who put together rooms that suit children way beyond their toddler years. At the rate they grow up, you’ll be glad you did.
Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s Online Associate Editor and social butterfly. She has absolutely no idea why children gravitate toward her.