Some designers may pooh-pooh the idea of consulting with kids before designing their rooms, but these designers don't. Seven experts weigh in, offering eight ideas, on how you can use the young mind to help you come up with a great design.
Just like adults, a child needs downtime. Susie Fougerousse, a mother of four and owner of Rosenberry Rooms, a high-end retailer in Raleigh, N.C., says every room should have a special place where the child can go relax, read or play. Consider a seating area by the window, a tent or teepee to create a hiding space, a comfy chair in the corner with a basket of books or a big floor pillow. If you give them the space, they'll use it, enjoy it and give you some downtime, too.
Let Color Speak for the Room and Child
Amy Wax, a color expert from New Jersey and author of Can't Fail Color Schemes, has the perfect solution for a child's room: Let the child's style show up in color. A cheerful child might lean toward bright tangerines, pinks or cool blues, while a more subdued kid will go for sage green. Serious children, or bookworms, might prefer a rich navy or chocolatey brown, while bright accent pillows are for the fun and giggly.
Let Personality Dictate the Design
ASID member Natalie Umbert says a child's room doesn't have to fit into the general design scheme of the home; it can be its own entity. Let your child's imagination and personality bring out the design characteristics. No need to use traditional boy-girl colors. What does the child like? Use those colors, instead. This room, designed for a five-year-old boy, incorporates his interests and is sophisticated enough to grow with him as he ages.
Make a Color Splash With Resilient Flooring
Instead of carpet, wood or tile, try something new for your pre-teen girl's room: laminate or fiber flooring. Today's laminates and fibers come in colorful patterns that fit well with kids' tastes. Your pre-teen might like, for example, her retreat decorated with pretty pink bubbles, like the Bubble Fun design from Tarkett Residential's FiberFloor Easy Living Fun Collection.
Design It to Last
Because kids are tough on their surroundings, Pennsylvania-based Shelby Tewell of Shelby Tewell Interiors focuses on finding sturdy and durable products when designing a child's room. In this room, she covered an ottoman with a rug to create a long-lasting sitting area. She also recommends using indoor/outdoor fabrics for the same reason.
Give the Room a Theme
Susie Fougerousse likes working with themes but says you can go too far. “We can all relate to having a child with a love (for cars, for example) bordering on obsession,” she says. So whether it's fire trucks, footballs or ballerinas, decide up front if you and your child want to go all out, be subtle about it or use no theme at all. With the tasteful accents available today, she says, you can make the princess, sports, transportation or dinosaur theme look fantastic.
Touch Up the Walls
A wall is a terrible thing to waste in a child's room. Touch it up with magnetic paint, stick-on decals to match the bedding or murals of scenes your school-ager loves, suggests Tracey Schmitt of Kiddie Designs. You can even have your children's artwork reproduced on canvas. It's a service Schmitt begins offering this fall. She custom-designed this beach scene over a child's desk for one of her clients.
Accessorize With Ready-to-Use Elements
This ain't your home office dry-erase board. This one's for kids. For use during play or study, a dry-erase board with washable markers can work with any decor. Look for markers that wash off easily from fabrics, carpets and car upholstery. If you get a board that's easy to transport from home to after-school activities — and then over to Grandmother's house — it's a winner. This model is from Expo.