Designing Kids Rooms

I am working on a few fun family spaces at the moment, so I thought it was timely to share my top tips for decorating kids rooms:

1.  Avoid over decorating with too many colours and too much stuff.  Kids have a lot of clutter so whatever items you decorate with - multiply this by 3 once the room is lived in!  Its important to have a balance between a stimulating play space and a space to rest.

2. Plan storage and don’t skimp.  Think about what you need to store now and in the future.  Make it easily accessible so things don’t get lost and its easy to clear things away.  Kids are much more likely to tidy up after themselves if everything has its place.  Consider having toys on rotation so you don't get overrun.

3. A simple, neutral palette is a calming backdrop to childrens colourful possessions and won’t be grown out of quickly.  Often keeping curtains, walls and bedding pretty neutral and letting accessories and cushions do the talking is a good idea, as they can be much less costly to replace.  

4. Wall decals are a great way to add interest now without committing for the long haul. An effective way to use decals is on mass -  cover a whole wall in crosses, dots, hearts or even bat shapes.  You can even have photos made into wall decals straight from your phone.  

5. Factor in enough seating  and space for kids to hang out together.   Kids love to play in each others rooms and if your child loves their room they will love to show it off to their friends too. 

6. Create corners for specific types of play - especially for different ages.  A dolls house corner, a crafting corner, space to chill out and read, a desk for homework, a lego space, somewhere to hide! 

7. Choose furniture that you like and you would happily use in other spaces in the home.  If you want it to last don't let your 5 year old dictate every aspect of the room.  Its definitely a good idea to involve your child and let them have some say - but do some initial research yourself - maybe put a pinterest board together - and don't show them anything you wouldn't purchase!

8. Incorporate their interests.  There is cheap and stylish art work out there that can incorporate the latest crazes without meaning you end up with disney posters - think typographical prints with 'let it go' or 'to infinity & beyond' in simple frames that can be reused  when this phase is over.   

9. Have somewhere to display their precious things.  Dedicate a wall to their art work displayed with washi tape.  Have a high shelf that can display delicate objects - whether it be ceramic fairies or intricate lego structures. 

10. Ignore all the rules.  Be creative.  Be brave and be bold!  While its sensible to keep things neutral, you can think outside the square with kids rooms.  Anything goes and this is one room in the house where you really can create a sense of fun and whimsy.  Blackboard walls, patchwork wallpaper, fun colours, simple paint effects like stripes, two tone walls or mountain peaks.  Create a space that is special and suits your child and their interests! 

11. Finally don't be afraid to call in the professionals.  An interior designer will charge for their time but will usually save you more with their exclusive suppliers, money saving ideas and trade discounts. 

This column was originally published in the Kapiti News.