NOT EXACTLY CHILD’S PLAY About to tackle a kids room? Colin and Justin have safety and design advice in equal measure
Child-friendly design, as we see it certainly, shouldn’t only be tempered by what’s cool for kids, but by factors such as maturation and sharing with siblings.
But it doesn’t stop there: junior design, to cope with the rough and tumble of everyday life, should also have practicality — and safety — at its very root.
The secret to success? A washable, comfy background that can be modified as time and tastes fluctuate.
The last thing you need is the prospect of facing a complete gut down six months after your child’s allegiances springboard from Batman to Superman, or from Barbie to My Little Pony. Right?
Safety first Adults can assess their own risks, but children, particularly young ones, need special consideration. If the following six point counsel sounds like we’re teaching our grannies to suck eggs, please excuse us, but all these tips are super important:
1. Tiny fingers can be hurt in door hinges, so fit big box store plastic safety mechanisms which you’ll find in Home Depot.
2. Ensure window, blind and curtain cords are tucked out of harms way. A large number of injuries (and worse) happen each year when little souls become trapped in the workings of ‘innocent’ window apparatus.
3. Avoid trailing electrical cords and ensure plugs are fitted with childproof covers.
4. Keep exposed radiators on a separate thermostat so they don’t overheat, or employ a safety screen to protect delicate fingers.
5. Rugs on hard flooring should be anchored on anti-glide mats to inhibit slip issues.
6. Avoid hanging shelves at low level: excited play can result in head-on collision.
For further advice, check out the home safety section at safekidscanada.ca
Paint Ensure finish is wipe-able so crayon marks and pen scribbles can be easily erased. Matt latex, for example, is less durable than silk finish: study specification to discover the appropriate product before lavishing walls.
When striping as, we’ve done here, opt for good quality paint (try Premier at www. canadiantire) and employ quality masking tape to ensure crisp lines. Rub a penny along the edge of the tape to seal prior to starting, and roller or brush away from the tape edge — rather than towards it — to discourage paint ‘bleed.’
Flooring options Carpet. Opt for washable, stain repellent product. Even fastidious kids will drop paint pots or food trays. And don’t even think about Little Mermaid or Batman roll stock berber — its way better to choose product where design cues come from colour rather than pattern.
Karndean. A pliable product like this makes great sense as it amply deals well with spills or accidents. And of course you can add pop with washable rugs or mats. Visit www.goresilient.ca for inspiration.
Wood. Ggood quality boards can be sanded and varnished as tastes evolve. Visit www.metrofloors.com
Lighting So that mood may be altered at the flick of a switch (to suit sleep, play or study) install a dimmer. And, when choosing bedside or desktop lamps, select heavy-based models that are less likely to topple.
Bunk beds These make great sense as long as safety is properly considered. If bunks are near ceiling lights, or if children are within reach of flexes, we recommend calling an electrician to move wiring.
Search for models whose ‘ground floor’ converts into a comfy seating area (when a second bed isn’t required), or whose lower level can be reconfigured as a study area when required. Try kidsroomscanada.ca.
Double-duty beds Seek out beds with hidden storage or drawers. Anything on legs will give space to stash linens and toys in trunks. If you have a redundant chest in your basement, remove the drawers and add wheels to the bottom. Hey, presto! Inexpensive, roll out of sight storage.
Sofa beds Foldable, generally constructed on a spring base or built from solid foam. If you aspire to a look that’s more ‘living room’, than bedroom, a sofa bed makes sense and allows space to be adapted, as required, further into childhood.
Extenda beds These, while they look like standard cribs, transform into adult nests by removing sidebars and installing full-length struts and, of course, a larger mattress. Visit walmart.ca for several choices.
So worry not. Don’t look upon your kid’s room project as a chore, make it a fun and rewarding exercise and involve your child from an early age so they feel empowered and take ‘ownership’. Yup, decor for the young — and the young at heart — really can be the beginning of something wonderful…
— Watch for Colin and Justin on ‘Cabin Pressure,’ ‘Game of Homes,’ and ‘Cityline.’ Find the ‘Colin and Justin Home Collection’ in stores across Canada. Visit www.colinandjustin.tv.
Seek out beds with hidden storage or drawers. Anything on legs will give space to stash linens and toys in trunks.
BEFORE: To cope with the rough and tumble of everyday life, designing for juniors should have practicality and safety at its root.