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Fun Kids' Room Furniture Ideas

When you reach the point where you are beyond the walls – beyond color, beyond pattern and beyond murals – it's time to furnish the room. Here's some great places to start:

Build a Better Bed

"I think one of the ways to decorate a bedroom is to keep bedding simple," says Pat Donahue, owner of Promises Fulfilled, a Blue Bell, Pa.-based children's decor boutique, specializing in hand-painted items. "Change the accessories in a room but stay consistent with a good quality bedding and furniture in solid colors, which will match with many different styles."

Above the bed is also a great place to focus your attempts to add whimsy to the room. "Canopies are one of the most fun and whimsical accessories for little girls," says Jane Parr, a.k.a. the Decor Doc, who actually does online decorating consultations. "What little girl would not like feeling like a princess in a canopy bed," she says. "This does not have to be a full four-poster bed canopy. You can rig one inexpensively by using yards of tulle or sheer fabric and some well placed rings in the ceiling. Drape the fabric around the bed and use ribbon tiebacks to pull it all back in the daytime. Fabric paint and glitter personalizes the canopy." Ikea also offers rainbow and giant leaf canopies both for under $20.

As for the bed itself, we've all seen those cute little racecar beds. Having a fun-shaped bed like this can really pull a room's theme together. "Since they are pricey and may not be loved for long, the trick is to make your own as inexpensively as possible," says Parr. Built around a standard bed frame, pieces of wood or cardboard can be cut, painted and affixed to the front and sides to give the impression of everything from a fire truck to a flower bed.

If you're willing to shell out for the right bed, imagine how much fun it would be to slide down a castle ramp on the way to breakfast, play princess in the loft and fall asleep surrounded by your kingdom. Available at HomeVisions.com, these beds come in castle, fire station, cottage and military designs. Although the beds run about $500, the theme accessories remove to show a solid hardwood traditional bunk that can last for years to come.

The Home Office
"If your child has a desk, make it colorful with new paint," says Parr. Design an adult-style home office corner. Combine a small desk, bulletin board and stationary cart to create a workstation. Make sure to provide good task lighting and a bookshelf for reference materials.

Color Coordination
"We hand-paint every type of room accessory, from tables and chairs, rocking chairs, rocking horses, mirror frames and lamps," says Donahue. "Plus we can do it in any style or theme the child would like." Little touches like making a lamp or coat rack custom painted go a long way to fully expressing a theme.

Think Plastic
What could be better for kids? Grape juice wipes clean away, it's strong and gives a sleek modern look to a room. A good office chair, cool side table and desk can all be found in plastic. Plus you'll find these items cheaper than wood or other materials.

Swing a Little
Kids love unexpected features in a room. A hammock is the perfect "extra" because it is not only cool, but functional. For young children, it's the perfect place to relax with Mom or Dad and a bedtime story. As they get older, they'll love kicking back in it with friends. For a small space, choose a Mayan- or Brazilian-style hammock, which have no spreader bars and contour more to the body.

Park It
Floor pillows are a trendy idea that can work wonders in a child's room. "Floor cushions are a must!" says Parr. Use a large piece of thick foam, cut in a curved shape, and upholster with an extra-soft coordinating fabric. You can add buttons or a zipper to make it removable and of course washable. Include a few extra-fluffy pillows and a luxurious chenille throw to complete the look. Want more drama? Add a canopy-style draping over the top. For girls, try sequined sari-type fabrics, and for boys, a classic and cheap muslin tent look.

Read It
You don't have to have a built-in window seat to create a mini-retreat space. Instead try a corner or out-of-the-way spot against a wall. Combine a bench or storage chest for seating with small bookcases against each side. Add pillows, a cushion and even a trompe l'oeil mural on the wall, imitating a window looking out over an imaginary world.

Super Size It
Make a bold statement with an oversized piece of furniture that will add a touch of whimsy to any room. Think Alice in Wonderland. "Bean bags are still a favorite," says Parr.

Built-in Style
To save space and make a room multifunctional, consider investing in a good built-in shelving unit. House books, collectibles, media units and storage drawers all on one wall. You can have the wooden pieces stained or painted to complement the room. Plus the extra shelves provide a great place to add dramatic decorative vignettes.

Go a Little Wild
There are so many over-the-top designs available, and it's fun for a kid's room to indulge in one. "For girls, the high heel shoe chairs are really cool looking!" says Parr. There's even a three-piece "puzzle ottoman" on the market today. These bold jigsaw pieces can be divided into a table and seating for two.

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