When decorating a child’s room, it’s easy to get caught up in the all the branded stuff out there that’s marketed to them, but the key to giving the room some shelf life is to strike a balance: between fun and functional and between children’s aesthetics and something you can all live with for longer than a year. Even if your budget is in the Ikea range, you want to make choices that won’t need to be discarded when your daughter decides that Frozen-themed desk set just isn’t the thing any more. Personalised labels and organisational tricks will help keep everything in order.
Start with psychology
Just as when you give a child too many choices for dinner, you set a precedent for “extreme choice” that can be hard to roll back – but you want to involve them in decorating their own room. Narrow the list to beds, dressers and desks or table and chair sets that you can live with and even modify with a coat of paint later on.
Give them a nook with a loft
Children love forts and anything that gives them the feeling of having their own little hideaway. Loft beds and mini-loft platforms are an ideal solution, especially in small rooms – you dramatically increase the usable square footage of a room and give your child the ultimate retreat at the same time. Let them choose a beanbag or giant fuzzy pillow.
Decorate for clutter control
That classic of primary school furniture, the cubby, is an excellent addition to a child’s room at home as well. You can get coordinated baskets or bins for a tidy, stylish look, and put name labels on everything so your child has another way to feel that this space is truly his or hers. Put baskets for toys and such in some of the spaces and leave some open for books and the rock collections, unicorn displays, and funny scenarios kids like to create. Cubbies can also serve as functional room dividers, as long as they can be braced securely or have a wide, heavy base.
Hooks should go on the back of the door to keep as much wall space available as possible.
Choose a classic colour scheme
Start by priming the walls so you can more easily see the possibities for colour. Again, narrow the choices before soliciting your child’s input: pale blues, greens, yellows, and pinks will be much easier to adapt later if you don’t want to repaint when they want a “big kid’s” room. And if you do want to repaint, these colours will require fewer primer coats than the saturated fuschia your daughter is convinced is necessary for her very survival in this room.
Paint on the fun
Chalkboard or magnetic paint is a great way to give your child some free rein to decorate. The bonus with magnetic paint is that you can paint over it with the colour you prefer and it will retain its magnetic property. Chalkboard paint is available in many colours. Apply the paint in square, rectangular or varied shapes around the room to give them a way to create different works of art.
With the right fundamentals, you can design a room that will be adaptable in the future and is a space you can all live with.