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9 Tips for Decorating a Child’s Room

By NYIAD Interior Design Mentor on February 10, 2015

The New York Institute of Art and Design is the world’s premier online interior design school, and because we are, we often offer free tips for interior designers. Enjoy!

The Interior Design Course from the New York Institute of Art and Design covers the topics that will help you become an interior designer—but we like to think of the course as covering what everyone should know in order to make their homes more beautiful, functional, and safe.

It’s important to consider the impact of decorating a child’s room on the babies, infants, and young children who will be spending hours playing, dressing, and sleeping there. Here are a few of our tips to make any child’s room more beautiful, functional, and safe.

  1. Ask yourself these key questions so you can properly tackle the decorating job. (a) What are the ages of the children and how many are they? (b) What kind of activities do the children like to do? (c) Are the children into sports, music, or arts and crafts? (d) Do the children have collections that may need special storage (dolls, rocks, models, etc.)? (e) What are the children’s favorite colors? (f) Do any of the children have learning and/or physical disabilities? (g) Are there pets in the home? Answers to these questions will steer you in the right direction!
  2. Look at practical solutions for children’s furniture. Kids grow and change quickly, so their bedrooms and playrooms should grow with them. Modular furniture is ideal, e.g., cabinetry or storage systems that can be expanded as children grow and accumulate more possessions.
  3. Children’s furnishings must withstand a lot of abuse. Sturdy materials like oak are ideal. Laminated furnishings could peel with use, and that can produce sharp edges that can hurt children. Foam furniture comes in many colors, and it’s durable, resilient, and easy to clean. Pillows, beanbags, and upholstered foam blocks add comfort, color, and utility—but if there are pets in the family, consider that some might chew on soft furnishings.
  4. Choose a child-friendly color that fits in with some of the favorite colors of the room’s young occupants. Apply the colors consistently to the walls, cabinets, shelves, and upholstery to unify the look.
  5. We recommend painting the walls sold colors versus painting an elaborate children’s mural that kids will outgrow long before the time to repaint. If you’d like to add texture and interest to the wall, consider framed art and posters and plastic electrostatic wall stickers (they’re easy to apply and remove/replace). Other great wall accessories include a bulletin board and a chalk or marker board, both of which should be mounted low, at the child’s height.
  6. If you’re storing anything that requires adult supervision, such as messy art supplies, look for a storage system that will allow for some of the cabinets or drawers to be locked.
  7. Natural light is desirable for children’s rooms, so keep the window treatments simple, e.g., shades in a Roman or honeycomb style. Make sure the treatments are child-safe, so consider cordless shades and safety mechanisms on the windows to prevent youngsters from hurting their fingers or from taking a tumble out the window.
  8. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are the chemicals used in standard paints. VOCs are quickly absorbed into the air, and they’ve been proven to contribute to health problems like asthma. Use zero- or low-VOC paints in children’s rooms or in rooms where anyone suffers from asthma, allergies, or other respiratory problems.
  9. Standard carpeting also emits VOCs that can be harmful to children. These VOCs come from the glue that adheres the carpet fibers to the backing. Look for natural fabrics such as wool and hemp or eco-friendly carpet brands—or stick with area rugs over a beautiful, sturdy hardwood floor.

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