When you let your children have a hand in decorating their own space
By Andrea Ratuski
“Kids’ rooms are so much fun to do,” says interior decorator Wanda Vuignier, owner of Designing Spaces Mb.
It’s important to consider your children’s rooms when you’re renovating or decorating. Your child will sleep here, dream here, create things, play hard, build friendships, have sleepovers, do homework and read late into the night.
“Kids want to have a place that is their own, that has their stamp on it,” says Vuigner.
Involve the children
Interior Designer Lynn Fenwick of Fenwick and Company Interior Design always begins with a big family meeting where she gets to know the likes and desires of the children. They make a wish list.
“Every child’s needs and wants are different,” says Fenwick.
Then they set priorities and make some decisions – and compromises, inevitably.
“You try to accommodate everything and have it look fun and funky and be a room they feel they designed,” says Fenwick. “It’s got to reflect their personality.”
Quality versus bargain
It’s a big question, whether to spend money on quality items or go for cheaper options because the kids might be hard on them.
“Everybody thinks a child’s bedroom shouldn’t cost very much,” said Fenwick. “Well it can cost as little or as much as you wish.”
It’s important to work within one’s budget. But Fenwick and Vuignier agree it’s best to invest in quality when it comes to the major furnishings like bed, dresser, shelves and shades.
“You try to make the investment pieces something that will last the test of time,” says Fenwick.
She suggests, when choosing furniture for children past the toddler stage, to consider a style that’s going to last so that it can be incorporated into a teenager’s bedroom, then a young adult’s bedroom, and hopefully they’ll take it away when they move out!
The way to personalize the room is to involve the child in the decorating. Allow children to select their bed covering, wall borders and light-switch covers.
Things like paint, wallpaper, linens, drapery and accessories are not too expensive and can be changed as the child grows.
What are some of the fun ideas available these days?
The easiest way to spruce up a room is to incorporate splashes of colour, whether on one accent wall or on furnishings and accessories.
“You can incorporate, say, lime green and black, without terrifying the parents and giving the children the colours they want,” says Vuignier, laughing.
One of the best innovations is chalkboard paint. You could paint it on the back of the door, where children – and even teenagers – can have the freedom to express themselves. Now it comes in an array of colours, so it doesn’t have to be black.
You can even paint a whiteboard onto the wall, which children can then draw on.
Another option is magnetic paint that allows children to display their artwork, or pictures of girlfriends or boyfriends, without worrying about sticky tape.
Fun with Stencils
The sky’s the limit when it comes to stenciling. Fenwick recalls stenciling a pillow fight and even sticking feathers to the wall.
Wallpaper is back
“And it’s here to stay,” says Vuignier.
The good news is, it’s improved. You can now get stress-free peel-off wallpaper that makes changing up the room easy.
Even better, try a large mural that can be pasted on a wall, like wallpaper.
Consider space for friends to sit. Poofs (round knitted stools) and bean bags are big, as are throw rugs.
Be as creative as your imagination will take you
One young boy was anxious to have graffiti on his wall, but graffiti paint is difficult to remove. They compromised by tagging his surfboard and hanging it on the wall.
If your little girl is a princess, give her gauze so she can play and pretend.
Vuignier incorporated hubcaps into shelving for a car-loving boy.
Fenwick created a sparkly border out of CDs.
You’ll be meeting your children’s needs at the different stages of their lives. When they’re infants, you want to create a peaceful environment, but something that offers lots of visual stimulation, says Vuignier.
Preschoolers need room to play, to spread out their toys. It’s a time of curiosity, creativity and adventure, so consider colour, form and shape.
Fenwick reminds us that a toddler may be only two feet tall, so make his or her view interesting!
Ultimately decorating your child’s room can bring your family together on a project that will be fun and gratifying and stimulate your child’s imagination.