Unlike adult bedrooms, a child’s room is a place where he or she will spend a great deal of time, so it needs to be adaptable to cater for multiple daytime activities as well as night-time sleepovers. From about the age of five, children will begin to show a distinct preference for certain colors and it is important to involve them in the decorating decisions.
More Than a Bedroom
Keep in mind that this is your child’s room and if it isn’t to your taste, then comfort yourself with the thought that in a relatively short time he or she will have outgrown it.
So that you do not have to redecorate at every stage of your child’s development, stick to a background of plain color that can be easily updated and resist expensive themed bedding and accessories. While you may feel more at home surrounded by neutral colors or soothing pastels, children get a greater kick out of stimulating colors and patterns.
Gender specific designs – ballerinas or footballers -quickly date, so instead opt for bold checks, stripes or spots. Peel-off borders and stick-on motifs are ideal for jazzing up plain walls, while luminous shapes create a wonderful ‘night sky’ on the ceiling. Try to include somewhere that young artists can express themselves – transform an area with blackboard paint, and for older children turn this area into a pin board.
Window treatments are also best kept simple so that expensive replacements aren’t needed each time the decor changes. Blackout blinds are useful in rooms where the early morning sun intrudes upon sleep.
In a shared room each child should feel that they have their own space. Using one color for two adjacent walls and a contrasting color for the others, each with bedding to match, is a simple way to give a child his or her own ‘corner’ without fragmenting a small room. In larger rooms, furniture can be used to form a partition. Modular cube storage systems are ideal or you could hang a large, colorful fabric screen from the ceiling so that it can be raised or lowered as required.
Children’s bedrooms usually double as a playroom, hobbies area or a place to entertain friends, so the floors need to be warm, comfortable and, above all, easy to keep clean. A carpet with a short synthetic pile is easy-care, but carpet tiles, rubber, cork or cushioned sheet vinyl provide a smoother surface for play; remember that small toys tend to get lost on highly patterned surfaces. Older children and teenagers may prefer a more grown-up treatment with ‘metallic’ or funky printed vinyl tiles. Wood laminate is easy to clean but can be noisy and create echoes, so it should be softened with rugs.
Make sure that everywhere is well lit, especially for older children who use their room as a study. Spotlights fixed to the wall and adjustable desk lamps are a good solution. Clamp-on spotlights can be moved around as needed. In toddlers’ rooms, make sure all fittings are tamper-proof -touch-sensitive lights are a safe choice – and that bedside lighting can be dimmed to a low level when required. It is now possible to buy radiator covers for children’s rooms with a cutout pattern that can be illuminated by a night light after dark.