Designing a space that grows with your child

Decorating a child’s room is no ordinary project. It should reflect your child’s tastes and preferences, not your own. It should be a room where his or her own personality comes shining through. This is because a child’s room is more than a space to sleep in; it is his laboratory, the place where he will spend most of his time developing his interests as well as discovering the world.

Most experts say that you will redecorate your children’s room at least four times before they go off on their own. In their infancy, you will want to decorate a nursery, a short time later, you will be considering the needs of their preschool years. Once school starts, their needs change again and when they’re in their teens, their whole lifestyle changes drastically.

In reality, it might not always be feasible to redecorate your child’s room during the various stages of their lives which is why it’s important to plan a space for the long term. Painting a Winnie the Pooh wall mural may work for the first two years of their lives, after which you may find yourself having to update the mural every few months, depending on the cartoon character you child is following at the time!

So how do you go about designing a space that grows with your child? Here are a few pointers to guide you.

1) Involve your child from the onset

As long as your child can express himself (non-verbally counts too), he should be involved in coming up with a design for his room. Research shows that children who are involved in the design process have a sense of ownership of the room, and are therefore more likely to tidy up after themselves as compared to children who aren’t.

Ensure that you design a space that does grow with your child without compromising his own individual tastes. Putting up a wall mural of his favorite cartoon character may not be feasible, but how about investing in wall decals or beddings which can be easily changed? If you’re afraid the colors your child wants do not go well with the rest of the theme of the house, why not introduce that hot pink using accents and accessories like art or throws? The important thing is that you allow the whimsical to come out through your design as well.

2) Consider the floor space before purchasing furniture

Unless you construct your house (in which case you can be able to dictate the size of the rooms), most developers are not very generous with room sizes. That being the case, you will find that you may have to purchase multi-purpose furniture so as to leave your child’s room with adequate floor space to cater for traffic and also play. For example, consider purchasing a trundle bed instead of a 5 by 6 bed to cater for the social child who loves having friends over, but whose bedroom space is limited.

3) Form and functionality

Many children’s spaces serve multiple purposes in addition to sleeping.  You will need to take into account possible other activities such as homework, crafting, reading, gaming and more.   Will your child share this space with your other children or adults? For these reasons, you really need a clear understanding of how your family functions (or would like to function) so as to ensure a successful space that your family can enjoy for years to come.

4) Take your child’s needs into consideration

Let’s face it, no two children are alike even if they may come from the same womb! It’s therefore important to consider your child’s individual needs when designing a space for them, regardless of whether they’ll each have their own rooms or will have to share. Some of the questions you may have to ask yourself include:

a) Does my child suffer from any allergies that have to be considered when selecting furnishings?

b) Are there any physical limitations that require the use of special aids or gadgets and how do these translate to the overall design?

c) Might the room need special lighting considerations especially for the child who is afraid of the dark or wakes up frequently to use the bathroom?

These are just a few of the questions that will enable you to design a space that meets the needs of your child both now and in the future.

5) Storage, storage & more storage

When designing a child’s room, another key consideration is storage. By integrating storage opportunities it is often easier for families to attempt to keep their space less cluttered. These days children can have as many toys, clothes and other belongings as their parents. Therefore, it is important to organize these effects intuitively in their bedrooms so as to keep the entire home from becoming a play house.

For those with limited space, consider storage under the bed, hanging shelves and even using hooks so as to utilize closet doors.

6) Choose furnishings and furniture that are easy to maintain

During the early years, you will want to cut down on your workload as much as you can until such a time as your child can clean up after himself. That being the case, invest in furniture that is easily wipeable and furnishings that can be easily removed for washing when they become dirty.

With those few tips, go ahead and confidently start coming up with a theme for your child’s room and remember, have fun with the whimsical!



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