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Top 9 Kids' Room Themes

Terrific Themes for Creating Fun Rooms for Kids
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When you're faced with a decorating project that starts and ends with a child's room, there's nothing like a theme to bring the space together. "Marine life is a favorite for both sexes, while boys are more likely to prefer boats, cars, trucks, construction equipment or favorite superheroes," says Jane Par, professional home decorator in Palm City, Fla. "Girls go for princess themes, the latest cartoon hero character, wild colors, flowers or cuddly stuffed animals."

While it might sound a bit kitschy to you, Par says, "Go with it! Even a 3-year-old can tell you what works for them! Anything 'Dora' works for my own 3-year-old granddaughter, so her decor takes off from the character, then the colors and then the 'explorer' aspect of Dora." Here are a few more themes to consider.

Fairy Garden
Take a standard floral theme, add a little magic and you've got a whimsical fairy garden. String tiny fairy dolls from the ceiling, add layers of organza curtains with faux blossoms hot-glued onto them and, of course, plenty of non-toxic, flowering houseplants. Place fluffy pastel-colored pillows in a corner with a mushroom mural painting, and you've got a woodland reading nook. Use wicker baskets for storage, hot glue polished creek pebbles to furniture frames and paint the walls in shades of warm honey yellow, moss green and light violet.

Medieval Castle
Maybe it's all the classic fairy tales, but a medieval castle just seems to capture a child's imagination. Use cardboard cut in a castle shape to create a noble headboard, which can be covered in fabric or painted. Apply crown molding and velvet fabric in deep jewel tones. For a faire princess, add a gold-framed mirror and maybe even a majestic vanity table with a chair covered in royal purple fabric and tied with a gold tassel.

Mod Squad
Give a retro chic look with a '60s-inspired mod room. Go with sleek white furniture and add bursts of rich color on accessories like throw rugs, lamps and art. Colors like lime green, fuchsia and black add a good contrast to the shiny modern look. Don't forget to include plenty of "pop" art on the walls.

Cowboy
Rope in a vintage cowboy look with denim and off-white cotton fabrics, black-and-white framed cowboy pictures and '50s-style Western vintage prints. Decorate with authentic-looking cowboy gear, like a rope affixed to the wall, a flea market saddle or a country guitar. Add a fluffy, cream shag throw rug for softness and some touches of ultra-suede or leather to complete the look.

Luxurious and Lavish
If your tween daughter is too old for a "themed" room, remember that luxury doesn't have to be costly. Try these suggestions:

  • Buy an overstuffed synthetic comforter (cheaper and less allergic than natural down), and make a simple duvet out of a sumptuous-feeling fabric.
  • Raise the bed to heighten the drama, and add tons of pillows.
  • Use sophisticated, subtle lighting, and add a few oriental throw rugs to cover the standard wall-to-wall carpeting.
  • Squeeze in a sitting area, with a small love seat or club chairs and coffee table/ottoman with an elegant gold serving tray. These pieces can be purchased at a second-hand store or furniture clearance center.
  • Paint large diamond shapes on the walls in coordinating colors like light blue and purple.

Hippie Chic
Get the bohemian look by including lots of tassels and textures. Drape sheer colorful fabrics over curtain rods. Combine elements like a beaded curtain, lantern lights, satin beaded pillows in rich colors and tapestry hangings to be used as wall hangings, room dividers, sofa covers and more.

Tropical
"I wanted a gender-neutral décor, not pastels or primary colors," says Maureen Zappala of Hinckley, Ohio. "I went with secondary jewel tones in a tropical jungle theme. I found some great fabric with green background and bright animals and tropical plants in fuchsia, teal, golden yellow, royal purple. There were monkeys, elephants, toucans, butterflies, flamingos, lions and palm trees. I made the crib bedding and a simple valance from the fabric, and covered a lampshade with it as well. Then, to finish the room, I painted and stamped a vine with leaves along the wall near the ceiling like a border." Zappala also used hand-me-down cherry wood furniture, to give the room a classic touch. This theme also works great if a brother and sister share a room.

Zen Garden
Provide a tranquil retreat for your child with an Asian-inspired room. Keep furniture sparse, and use simple designs, like a platform bed and tatami (pillows with low coffee table) seating area. Include a shoji screen and paper lanterns, maybe even a meditative rock and sand garden on a shelf or an aquarium with koi. A sea grass mat provides the perfect area rug.

Cool Schoolhouse
Shirley Kempke, of Sanford, Fla., came up with a unique theme, thinking back to her childhood days for inspiration. "I have a granddaughter and grandson, and wanted their room to be designed for both," she says. "I decorated the entire room in an old schoolhouse look. First, I used a plaid neutral spread and window treatments. I framed a large map on the wall, bought an old-fashioned chalkboard online and added framed photos from the 1950s of classroom photos from my husband and me. We even framed our old report cards and Scout stuff. The room is adorable. I also have a vintage schoolroom desk in there. For nightstands, I bought metal trunks that look a lot like lockers. It's a fun room."

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