Creating room for children requires a little extra attention and creativity. The space must be safe and functional; however, it’s also imperative that it’s a fun place to be as well. Of all the rooms in the house, this room will undergo the most transformation in the shortest amount of time: as its little inhabitants grow up, so will their interests. The space has to both versatile and durable.
Making the most of the space the very first time you create the play/bedroom will ensure an easy transition when the stuffed animals and plastic tea-sets are replaced with space for homework, and storage room for sports equipment and instruments. With limited space and budgets in mind, there are ways of manipulating small spaces to seem bigger.
The room can transform with the child without requiring a majorly expensive do-over. (For those of us who don’t want to spend $60,000 making a pirate-themed room that literally contains the side of a ship…and a hidden twisty-tube slide…and a rope bridge.)
Versatile kids’ room storage space
One of the mosts challenging parts about a kid’s room is finding a way to store the excess of toys, clothes, and shoes that inevitably end up on the floor. To prevent spilling out of cupboards and drawers, smaller storage cubes or boxes help to organize items by category: dolls, shoes, play cars, stuffed animals.
As your child gets older, versatile and sophisticated cubes can be then converted into storage space for art supplies, books, school supplies, DVDs, phone and computer chargers.
These modular storage sets are a good place to start–you can pick your cubes and then arrange them yourself. Plus, you can save valuable play space on the floor by stacking the boxes up vertically.
Or, line the wall horizontally to create a shelf. They can be outfitted with racks, wheels, drawers or doors (some with geometric cut-outs), and are strong enough to double as benches. Your child can even help customize his or her set by picking the colours. (They range from youthful orange and green to more grown-up honey and espresso shades.)
Lofted beds for kids’ rooms
MatrixKids offers lofted beds at different heights, allowing you to choose from high, medium, and low beds to accommodate your child. They also have normal day beds, which rest on the floor.
For extra fun, themed beds make the bed part of play time as well: beds with pink canopies fit for a princess, beds that resemble castles and outdoor tents, and even elevated versions which not only feature a ladder, but a slide.
Make the most out of something you already have: the walls. Convert one wall into a giant blackboard, which can evolve from a place for doodles to to-do lists (or both). Besides the kitchen fridge, this is a prime place to show off artwork. Plus, it’s an inexpensive and fun project.
Just clean, smooth out, and tape off the area. Then, paint with 3 coats of primer and then 3 coats of Chalkboard Enamel. A border of molding helps kids to colour inside the lines (and off your paint or wallpaper). All you need now is a colourful set of chalk. (If you’re looking for a craft, you can even make your own chalk.)
Curtains for privacy as well as window coverings
I recently stayed in a hostel in Prague that housed 24 females, young and old. It was a cacophony of different languages, alarm clocks (at every single hour of the morning), and cell phones. However, it was one of my favorite hostels because there was plenty personal space.
Under my bunk bed was a big lockable pull-out drawer that was large enough for my carry-on sized luggage. Most importantly, there was a curtain. Magically, it created a real sense of privacy, despite being able to hear everything. All it took was a rod and material, as well as the little reading light that hung from a corner of my bed.
Curtains make a big difference at a very low cost. They are eye-catching can take up a lot of visual real estate, meaning that changing the material is an easy way to change the feel of the room as your child’s tastes change. Plus, it’s extremely easy to sew your own curtains as a do-it-yourself project that can really amp up a plain room.
Wrap them around a bed for privacy or use it to distinguish the bed area from play area. Once your child is old enough that the rod is not a safety hazard (making sure it’s not used as a makeshift chin-up or monkey bar), then you might even get inspired to get creative with the curtain rods. Better Homes & Gardens has some fun ideas for personalizing a space with custom curtain rods, including using a sports stick or spray-painted branch.
Decorating kids’ rooms with decals
Flooring for kids’ rooms
With all the jumping, scraping, wheeling, and accidents that are bound to happen, it’s important to find a durable floor that will be scratch-proof and yet comfortable to play on. Some of the pros and cons to consider:
If they have to fall, best to fall on carpet that’s soft on knees and elbows. Stain-resistant carpet types can buy you time before the stain sets completely, but still can’t prevent them. Kids prone to allergies may want to stay away as carpet can breed mold and mildew.
While protective coatings can make your flooring more durable and scratch-proof, it also makes it less comfortable to play on. Planks can move with changes in humidity, but thick versions will allow several refinishings (which can also minimize marks of wear and tear).
Spills won’t leave a trace on the surface, but laminate can be slippery for small ones and socked feet. You can replace individual panels easily, but this may not be the best choice if your child has asthma or allergies (adhesives and finishing products can irritate).
Eco-friendly and durable bamboo are trendy floors that are easy to refinish if scratched. Softer, carbonized bamboo floors are more prone to scratches.
This hypoallergenic option is good news for kids sensitive to irritants. It’s also resistant to bacterial growth and is antistatic. If your kids are accident-prone, the softness of the material makes it a good shock-absorber (unfortunately, this is also means it is very easy to gouge and scratch). Parents will also be happy about the reduced noise, as cork helps absorb the sound of impact.
Take a look at this guide to the best flooring for toddlers for more information.
Area rugs for kid’s rooms
If you choose a more scratch and spill resistant floor like hardwood or laminate, then a good surface to add for visual variety and comfort might be to get an area rug. It can make a big decorative difference, and then can be easily replaced if stained or your child outgrows the design.
JustKidsRugs.com has a fun standard selection of children’s area rugs that includes sport team logos, favourite cartoon characters, and animals. Danish By Design has a very cool range of 3D area rugs that can be doubled for play: raised contours and lines mark rivers on a farm scene, city roads, and rooms to place miniature furniture.