I spend a lot of time reviewing photos of all types of rooms — some good, some bad. If I had to identify one group of rooms that generally fall into the bad category, it would have to be children’s rooms.
Why is it that everyone thinks you have to paint the walls some shocking, hot color and then add two or three intense, non-coordinating colors?
Children’s rooms should be decorated by the same rules and standards as the rest of the home. Work with neutrals and add touches of color for contrast and interest.
Consider using upholstered twin beds in a neutral color. The look will have appeal whether your child is 12 or 21.
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Next, paint the walls a neutral color. This doesn’t mean limiting your choices to white or beige. You can still work with traditional colors such as blue and pink. I’m suggesting that you move away from shocking tones and try navy for boys and pale pink for girls.
Bedrooms should be calming retreats regardless of your child’s age. Imagine trying to relax or study in a setting of hot pink and lime green or bright blue and fire engine red. Mixing navy with pale gray with touches of orange, green or red works for all ages. Furniture can be wood tone or painted navy, black or dark gray. Pink looks wonderful with beige, white and wood tones. It’s so chic and calming.
Fabrics are just as important as paint colors. Designs with action heroes and Barbie dolls are a poor investment. Most kids change heroes way too fast. If your little ones are really diehard fans, consider buying sheets that feature their latest craze. It’s much easier to swap out sheets than entire bedding ensembles, window treatments and wall murals.
Speaking of wall murals, don’t do it! First, it’s rare to see a mural that’s done well. Secondly, they are far too permanent. Consider instead a large wall-mounted bulletin board such as the ones sold at Pottery Barn. These make it easy to keep up with your kid’s latest passions.
There’s no need to invest in expensive framed artwork for the same reasons. Your children may be into cowboys this year and the Dallas Cowboys next. Buy good quality frames in standard sizes and change the images as their taste calls for it. Art Classics Ltd. has a huge selection of affordable framed and unframed artwork in a variety of sizes.
Wood floors topped with a rug are a better option than wall-to-wall carpet. The one-time investment to install hardwoods will pay for itself over the years. A stained rug is easier and more affordable to clean or replace every few years than carpeting. I prefer outdoor rugs in children’s rooms. The rugs clean up beautifully and are much more affordable than wool or woven rugs.
The secret to keeping any newly decorated room looking good is storage space. Invest in chests with lots of drawers; bookshelves to hold toys, books and electronics; and of course a well-designed closet system. You can’t expect a child to clean up his or her room if there’s no place to put things away.
Take a look at your children’s rooms. Maybe it’s time to redecorate to provide them with a space that they will enjoy and be proud to share with friends. They may even be inspired to pick up their junk once in a while.
Designer and home improvement expert Vicki Payne is host and producer of “For Your Home,” available on PBS, Create TV and in national and international syndication. Reach her at ForYourHome.com .