“Painting, are you?” I asked.
Then spewed forth an almost incomprehensible babbling of color and plans and dreams and Did you know outerspace is BLUE? Sometimes it’s black, but it’s blue sometimes too!
Little dude was about nine, and normally I’d say he had a caffeine problem, but his uncontrollable excitement actually stemmed from something else — he was given the power to choose his own bedroom decor.
Kids have good ideas too
His parents laughed as he told me everything he wanted to do with the room. Planets and Christmas lights and-and-and–
I suspect they had no idea just how wildly excited their boy would be when tasked with dreaming up his own bedroom, but I’m sure they were glad they decided to go that way, because it was clearly gonna be a wild ride.
This is why I find it so funny when parents kill themselves trying to come up with something for their kids’ rooms. Most of the time, kids have a pretty good idea of what they want.
Ask, and you’ll find out. Indulge their curiosity, and you might be wowed by it.
Designing kids bedrooms as a way to encourage kids individuality
I’d like to say something a bit daring here: Encourage their individuality. That’s a big deal. It means let them pick any color or pattern they want. Why not? It won’t kill anyone. You’re not the one who has to live in it, so who cares if they want lime-green walls? You can always slap some beige on when you’re moving.
But you can’t say, “Son, I want you to be yourself! Never let other people push you around. Know what you want and go after it. Be creative, be an individual!” And then, when they say they want a ruby-red bedroom say, “Goodness, no, we can’t paint in that color. What about something mellower, like terracotta?”
It’s just color, people.
It’s a pretty empowering thing when you’re a kid and your parents greenlight your own designs for your room. I should know, I’m living proof.
Decorating kids rooms: my own story
When I was “graduating” seventh grade, my mother told me she thought I needed a big-girl room now. In honor of entering high-school in September, we would spend some of the summer redecorating my room. What did I want to do? She gave me carte blanche. This was in the ‘80s, so wallpaper was pretty big at the time. She and I went to the paint store and spent an afternoon looking over wallpaper patterns. I still remember going out for muffins after, so the afternoon made a big impression on my 12-year-old brain.
In the end, I chose two wallpapers, a boarder, and a paint. The wallpapers had pink, green, and blue pastel stripes in two varying configurations. I also insisted on a pink wall.
My mother confessed to me after it was all done that she thought it was going to look awful, but she wound up loving it as much as I did and gave all her friends a tour. I don’t know her approval made me happier than my new room, but I sure felt validated.
She’s long gone now but I like to imagine she’d get a pretty good kick out of me writing blog posts like this one. Her empowering me to decorate my bedroom gave me weeks of bragging rights at school. I was so keen to have friends over and socialize, and have everyone tell me how pretty my room was.
And I could say, “I know. I planned it that way.”
A sense of ownership
Ask your kids what they want. If they could have any kind of bedroom, how would it look? Well, sure, you’d LIKE to sleep in the Death Star, but we can’t make your bedroom the Death Star, so what are your best ideas for pretending that it’s the Death Star, and how can we make that happen?
Next thing you know, the wheels are spinning and the kid’s off making plans with his or her friends.
Of course, no, the room likely won’t look remotely like the Death Star, but who cares? It was the intention, and no matter how incorrect it might be, there’ll be a sense of ownership and pride if you not only let your kid do the design but also help in the execution.
Your kid matters – so do their ideas
In the end, who cares what YOUR friends think of the paint color and the decor scheme? They don’t matter. Your kid matters. Their pride, their sense of self, their enjoyment, their creative process, and teaching them how to go from inventing an idea to executing it.
Home decor is as much about bringing our imaginations to life as making art is, and it’s a great life lesson and experience for kids of any age.
Celebrate your child’s individuality and greenlight their dream room project. They might just surprise you.