Creative Kids' Rooms, Part II:
Kids' Room Accessories
Once your child's room is painted and furnished, you enter the final phase of creating kid's room perfection: accessories. Finding the right combination of chutzpah isn't easy, but it's not impossible either. This list can help you out.
For less than $10, add a colorful touch of subtle lighting to the room with these dangling lights. Available in a host of designs from elegant to zany, there is bound to be a style that suits your theme.
Interior Decorator Jane Parr suggests using lighting to fit the needs of the child. "A very simple addition can be tiny Christmas lights around the top of the walls for a child who is still unhappy in the dark at night," she says. "I like to suggest hanging lamps for small kids, as some of the lamps do look like toys, and it is better to have these above the child's head!"
Colorful Extra Storage
"Storage cubes that serve double duty as seating are fun, especially covered in faux fur or a fun fabric," says Parr. Even the neatest kids need a place to toss all their stuff for a quick clean up. Pop-up hampers offer a fun way to hide the mess. Available in fun characters, like a frog, elephant and flower, these storage units also offer a decorative solution for storing irregularly shaped items.
To give efficiency and order to a child's closet, choose storage boxes in bold colors to create a color-coded organization system. For example, all blue containers can hold craft items, yellow holds doll accessories and red is for puzzles and card games. This makes organization particularly easy for little ones who can't read labels.
Create a poetic vignette that will dramatically illustrate the theme of the room using a large shadowbox. This can be placed on a shelf or hung on the wall. In it, place items that express the feel of the room, for instance a princess room's display could be a sequined wand, tiara and lace handkerchief, while an aquatic-style room could have a shell, starfish and pile of sand inside. This is one project that is only limited by your brainstorming abilities.
There are many varieties of mobiles to choose from on the market today. The favorite has to be the solar system mobile, which works great for a space room. You can make your own to fit any theme by using fishing wire strung through a key chain hoop affixed to the ceiling. Use foam sheets found at arts and crafts stores to cut out colorful shapes that coordinate with the room.
Create cute sayings or one-word statements using large wooden letters (available at most craft stores) painted to match the room. "Dream," "Play" and "Baby" are some basic examples. You can "write" a name vertically to personalize the room or just place assorted letters on a shelf for a decorative effect. Sprayed with silver or gold paint, these letters really make a classy statement.
Hang decorative shelving in each of the four corners of the room. These can be useful for storing a child's favorite collection, since many are available in themed designs, like a baseball design for displaying trophies and baseball cards.
Have a kid who loves to collect but can't figure out where to display all the model cars, cat figurines or snow globes? Try affixing a small shelving unit high atop each wall to create an all-around unit. This works best for collections that aren't handled much, since kids will need their parents' help getting items on and off the shelf.
Use a thick piece of cardboard or a piece of particleboard to create a personalized headboard. Use a piece of painted picket fencing for a garden theme or netting secured to a backing for a soccer-style room. For an over-the-top girl's room, upholster the board with pink, velvet fabric and a feather boa border. For a masculine look, try canvas, jersey or even a rubber look.
Include a physical element to the room. By including such items as a ballet barre, yoga mat or other fun equipment, you are encouraging your child to use his or her space for more than sleeping. Ikea.com offers a wide range of physical furniture, from a standing rocker, which can also be a seat, tunnel or screen, to a ceiling swing and wall bars that double as clothes hangers.
Monogramming can be one way to add a personal touch to a room. Think how regal a headboard can look with an elaborately painted monogram on its center. Or add a hand-painted door hanger with the child's name. Functional items like wall-mounted coat hangers or hatboxes can be decoupaged with inexpensive black and white photocopies of childhood photos.
A simple, inexpensive way to decorate bare walls is to find the largest canvas you can. A good look is three or four canvases, about 19 inches by 25 inches or bigger, lined up across a wall. For a modern look, paint blocks of color or do simple landscape paintings. Keep them unframed to save on cash and get a gallery look.
"The Internet is a great place to thoroughly search for accessories such as pillows, lamps, containers for odds and ends, curtains ... all something different and fun," says Parr. "Type in whatever you have decided upon, and enjoy the hunt! The endless possibilities make it fun. A trip to a museum or the zoo can spark an intense interest in something. Go through some magazines or comic books with your child and find a scene you really like. Then look for elements of that theme that you can reproduce on the walls, in the bedding, etc."
Decorating your child's room should be an enjoyable experience. Keep the formality low and the fun high, and you're bound to love the results.