The best thing about decorating children’s rooms is that there are no rules or limitations. The sky is the limit and the key is simply to have fun. Unlike decorating in the rest of the home, you don’t necessarily need to be too concerned about conventions or trends, and you can really let your imagination take over. As parents, and grandparents, we are lucky to have so many wonderful parenting and design related magazines, blogs, and television shows that offer creative ideas and showcase a dizzying array of incredible products, enlightening us to seemingly endless possibilities. That being said, there are a few key things to keep in mind when designing your child’s space that will hopefully make this sometimes daunting task a little bit easier.
1. Lighting is one of the most important elements in any room. I love a great overhead light to keep things well lit for play time and homework. You can go for a classic pendant, an elegant chandelier, or a fun light that completes your theme of choice, such as a biplane or teapot chandelier. In addition to an overhead light it is very important to have a secondary light source, such as a table, floor, or reading lamp. This softer light is a great way to create a quiet mood for reading, relaxing, nap time, or in preparation for bed time. Depending on the age of the child, a sweet decorative nightlight might also be a must!
2. Wall art is not only one of the most essential parts of decorating for your child, but one of the most exciting as well. The selection of art for kids today is simply amazing, and so are the varying styles and types available. Hand painted wall murals are a wonderful way to truly customize the room, with a one of a kind design. They tend to come with a higher price tag, but many parents feel that they are worth every penny! Their size and scope can really transform a room. Canvas reproductions are probably the most popular choice, and one of my favorites. So many talented artists reproduce their artwork in this affordable way, and the nice thing is that it is very easy to switch out the look of the room without the commitment of a mural on the wall. If you are working on a tighter budget, or if you are uncertain as to the length of time you will want to stick to a certain theme or look, you can opt for adorable peel and stick wall decals, which are removable and repositionable without any damage to your paint, and most importantly, very affordable! Wall art livens up a room, can be educational, provides for endless conversational topics with your child and instills an appreciation of fine art in your child at an early age.
3. A great area rug is often the centerpiece of the room, and for good reason. A rug is really a multipurpose tool, in that it can be used to accent the focal point, such as the crib, or can be used to tie the whole room together, in the case of a larger area rug. We all want a beautiful, soft, and decorative rug that matches the look of the room, but another important point to consider is ease of cleaning. One of my favorite rugs of all time is the shaggy raggy rug, which is an update on the traditional shag, and is made of soft jersey. It looks great, is very soft to the touch, and the best part is, it can be thrown in the washing machine!
4. In order to maintain a semblance of order in a child’s room, great storage options are essential. Traditional storage options are the toy box, or an under-bed storage unit, where you can stuff all of the odds and ends for a quick clean up. A window seat with built in drawers is one of my favorite options if your room allows for it. If you don’t want to opt for a larger case piece like a book case to store books and trinkets, there are some fantastic decorative storage bins available that can be personalized with either the child’s names or words that describe the contents, such as “stuff,” “toys,” or “books.” Available in a multitude of colors and fonts, this option provides for a nice custom look, while serving a very practical purpose.
5. Personalize it!! What appeared to be a trend is now certainly here for the long haul. There is nothing that can’t be personalized, from clocks to growth charts, bedding and artwork, to furniture. Children love to see their names in their room, because it reinforces that this is their space and makes them feel special. When children are sharing a room, you can hang hand painted wooden letters spelling out their names above their beds to give them a sense of ownership and personal space. If wall space is an issue, a monogram or a single initial is an alternative.
6. Create a quiet space. Every room should have a special place where the child can go to relax, read, or play. If you have the space, a tent or teepee is a great “hiding place” sure to provide endless hours of fun. A chair in the corner, with a basket of books alongside is a great choice. Another idea is to plop a cute floor pillow or tuffet on the floor, where your child can rest his head, play, or read.
7. Last, but certainly not least, is the huge decision on which theme to choose for your nursery or child’s room, and how far to go with it. This topic can often be divisive between children and their parents, and many parents tend to disagree on how “thematic” a room should be. Here is the thing: whether you (or your child) want to go all out with your chosen theme or if you prefer to have a very subtle theme or none at all, your child’s room can be phenomenal. We can all relate to having a child with a love bordering on obsession with either fire trucks, footballs, or ballerinas, and how we cringed at the thought of filling their rooms with an overabundance of themed decor. However, with so many tasteful room accents available today, you can now make the princess, sports, transportation, or dinosaur theme look fantastic! There is nothing wrong with going overboard, and having 10 pieces of sports artwork on the wall, along with a quilt with sports balls on it. On the flip side, if you are worried that your child’s tastes are likely to change in the near future, you can pull together the themed look with some carefully chosen and dispersed accents throughout the room, while keeping the primary elements such as bedding and furniture more versatile. If you tend to shy away from the idea of centering the room design around a particular theme, you can use your color selection and/or design element, such as damask, stripes, or polka dots, and use those as your inspiration for a classic, lasting look, not lacking in impact.
Decorating your child’s room is a special and memorable experience, so don’t forget to have fun in the process!