De­sign bed­room with child in mind

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - REAL ESTATE - By Marc Atiy­o­lil

Dear Marc; My daugh­ter, Lau­rie, is turn­ing 10 this month and she has been shar­ing a room with her sis­ter, Anna, for the past few years. I have de­cided to move Lau­rie into her own room in our base­ment and sur­prise her with her new room on her birth­day. I have been flip­ping through de­sign mag­a­zines and looking on­line for de­sign in­spi­ra­tion for Lau­rie’s new room. Is there any­thing I should know be­fore I start?

— Mar­guerite Mar­guerite; De­sign­ing an adult’s room is quite dif­fer­ent from de­sign­ing a child’s room. The big­gest dif­fer­ences are colour se­lec­tion, fur­ni­ture place­ment and the func­tion­al­ity of the room.

Kids’ rooms are not only used for sleep­ing, as most adults’ bed­rooms are; they are also used for do­ing home­work, en­ter­tain­ing friends and play­ing games. It is a child’s per­sonal space, a haven they can call their own. The com­mon mis­take a par­ent can make when de­sign­ing a child’s room is to think of her de­sign style and taste and com­pletely ne­glect the taste and style of the child. As par­ents, we are used to guid­ing our chil­dren and some­times mak­ing a lot of the choices for them; there­fore, it’s only nat­u­ral we take the helm when de­sign­ing their bed­rooms.

Your child might want to use cer­tain vi­brant colours that wouldn’t tra­di­tion­ally be used in a bed­room, but you’d be sur­prised what can work. The de­sign is all about a fun, funky, en­er­getic space. Think of your child in a Louis XIV-de­signed room. She would be so scared to break some­thing, she wouldn’t feel comfortable! There­fore, choose a de­sign style that will suit her per­son­al­ity. Get in­spi­ra­tion from her favourite clothes, TV shows and toys. Spend time watch­ing your child play in her bed­room to see what func­tion the fur­ni­ture would have and which pieces are re­quired in the fi­nal space. Also, I sug­gest us­ing durable prod­ucts in your de­sign, as chil­dren are en­er­getic and ready to test the life­span of th­ese prod­ucts.

When pur­chas­ing prod­ucts for your de­sign, choose high-traf­fic-built prod­ucts, such as high-qual­ity pat­terned car­pet so if she drops some­thing on it, you don’t have to throw it out and start all over again. Look for fur­ni­ture that can stand a lit­tle more rough­ness and in­vest in neu­tral-coloured fur­ni­ture she can keep dur­ing her teenage years.

Your daugh­ter might love pinks and pur­ples right now, but it doesn’t mean she will in a few years, so I would stay away from the bright pink dresser. For the walls, I would use a neu­tral colour and punch up your de­sign with her favourite colour as the ac­cent colour. This way, when the teenage years come along, she can just change a few ac­ces­sories without re­paint­ing and throw­ing out all her fur­ni­ture, be­cause she got up one morn­ing and de­cided pink wasn’t her favourite colour any­more.

Con­sider adding a few mem­o­ra­bilia that can be­come keep­sakes in her lat­ter years, such as funky height charts, black and white baby pho­tos and framed child­hood paint­ings. While your colour scheme can be sim­ple, you can add some child­like el­e­ments in your space with fab­ric used in the bedding and the draperies. This will cre­ate enough of an im­pact in the over­all de­sign and will again be easy and cost-ef­fec­tive to change in a few years.

Re­mem­ber, kids’ rooms are fun to de­sign, as they al­low you to rem­i­nisce about your child­hood and think like a kid for those few hours in the day.

— Canwest News Ser­vice

Marc Atiy­o­lil

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