Ugh. Does every Mummy in the land enter their children's bedrooms and feel their hearts plummet to their slippers? Good. It helps to know I am not alone. Because it is that time again. Time to re-organise my son's bedroom for a new stage in his not so little life, and while I have been spending many an hour browsing Pinterest and trawling through the Ikea catalogue, I also thought it might just be time to review my very own set of rules for creating the kind of rooms big and little kids alike are desperate to show off...
- Let them be... The most important thing to remember when you are decorating a child's bedroom is that most of the time they do not have the same taste in interior design as you! From an early age, children have very strong opinions about what they do and do not like, and unless you are willing to put up with the screaming ab-dabs it is best to involve them in the planning stages and allow them to help you create a room that is a reflection of their teeny personalities.
- But don't let them carried away... Children are drawn to the kind of interior decor you probably see in your nightmares: lurid colours, wacky wallpaper and the horror of the cartoon themed room. Draw the line at anything you consider to be alien to the rest of the house. While it is entirely encouraging to allow your child to express their creative side within their confines of their own four walls, it is YOUR house and you don't have to put up with anything that makes your stomach turnover,
- Forget themed rooms... Pokemon wallpaper might seem their idea of heaven when they are seven but will be hideously embarrassing to them within a very short space of time. Fashions change and children are notoriously fickle, so the design of a room should never be so strictly themed that only complete re-decoration will get them back in there.
- Give them a blank canvas... Neutral walls and varnished floorboards are the cost-effective solution to decorating kids bedrooms. Provide them with an eclectic collection of furniture (nothing too precious - kids aren't kind to good furnishings) and allow them to get creative with their own choice of bedlinen, pictures and accessories.
- But remember what it is like to be a child... Try to anticipate all that children require from their bedrooms, beyond the obvious. A child's bedroom is his or her sanctuary from an adult orientated world, and it is essential to make them feel at home in their own space. Respect their privacy: give them hidey holes and secret storage spaces. Give them places to stash all the paraphernalia associated with being a child, from dedicated toy cupboards, to special boxes for tiny treasures, clip files for posters (ban them from being blu-tacked to the walls!) and pin-boards for all the other paper junk they are guaranteed to accumulate. Above all else give them space in their own room in which to daydream, to escape from grown-ups, or to simply be.
- Make it easy for them to tidy up... Try not to think too formally when you approach the decoration of your child's bedroom. Children are not mini-adults, and they have little concept of tidiness. Prevent on-going drama by providing your tiny tearaways with manageable solutions to storage and try not to become too paranoid about the state of their bedrooms. Within reason, mess is creative and it is important not to make it too much of an issue.
- Create a place in which to work, rest and play... Children demand much more from their bedrooms than adults do. From homework to sleepovers, beauty parlour to playground, a lot is asked of a very small space. Therefore it is essential to create a multi-purpose space with all of childs needs and indeed moods, anticipated. Adequate lighting is essential: from "studying hard" task lighting to "time to dream" bedside lamps, and dimmer lights are an excellent choice for a child's bedroom.
- Give them something fun... It is sad but true that children love trash! A child's bedroom shouldn't be a serious place, and it is important to have a sense of humour when decorating the room in question.
- And make a feature of their treasures... Whether it is a cherished collection or a play school painting, what is precious to a child should always take pride of place in his or her bedroom, so hang that picture in a serious frame, display their collection, and instil in them a strong sense of family by surrounding them with family photos and snapshots of themselves.
- Finally... Give them room to grow. All too soon your tots are teenagers and their taste and the demands they make on their bedrooms have changed. Reflect those changes by recognizing all those things they have outgrown, and providing new decorative solutions to their changing needs.
Want more? Read my other kids bedroom post here and find a tiny little collection of bonus puttery treats there too. Enjoy!