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Tips on Decorating Children`s Rooms — Personalizing Furniture

By Sarah Van Arsdale on February 10, 2007

Chances are if you have more than one child, you're eager to cut down on the symphony of "It's mine," "No, it's mine," "No, it's mine," that perennially rings out from play rooms to kitchens across the land.

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This was one of the reasons why personalized furniture was developed for children — and their parents, who'd rather hear the kids practicing their cellos than arguing about property rights. And personalized furniture can also give a kid a feeling of true ownership — something that many kids thirst after, as they know that really all the money and all the property in the house belongs, ultimately, to the grown-ups and not to them.

And personalized furniture doesn't only mean having a chair with "Charlie" stenciled on the back. There is a vast array of ways you can personalize furnishings for the kids; these begin with putting the child's name on something, but you can also include photographs and other items that mean something special to your child.

Personalizing furniture is also a great way to breathe new life into old cast-offs your own, or someone else's. If you should find an old, abused dresser at a yard sale (or maybe even in your own attic), first start by sanding down the rough spots, and then give it a fresh coat of paint.

While the paint's drying, get a stencil kit at the local arts supply store. These come with letters in a variety of sizes, so that you can stencil "SUZY" in huge letters on the top of the dresser, and then, in the same typeface, repeat it in smaller letters along the trim of the dresser. Add a few stenciled flowers and birds, or perhaps some novelty drawer pulls, and you've prettied-up and personalized the dresser, for nothing more than the cost of the paints, knobs and stencil kit.

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Another way of personalizing furniture is by decorating with photographs or other pictures. You could start by sorting through photos with your child — pictures of vacations, favorite people and animals, etc. If your child has experienced a loss — say, a favorite pet has died, or you've moved from one home to another — using photos can help the child feel that whatever is missing still has a daily presence. She could choose several photos of her old house to use to decorate a bookcase, for example.

Once the photos have been chosen, next choose the piece of furniture you want to decorate, and decide where you'll put the photos. Mark the spots lightly with pencil marks, once you know you can erase them.

Next, spray both sides of the photo with a spray fixative, available in hardware or art supply shops. Let it dry.

Lay the front of the photo face-down on waxed paper, then brush the back with acrylic varnish. Position the photo on the surface, smoothing out wrinkles with your fingers. Pop any bubbles with a straight pin.

Once it dries, apply another coat of acrylic varnish. Let that dry. Finally, brush it with two coats of polyurethane, lightly sanding between each coat.

You can also add photographs to upholstered pieces, pillows or comforters by using photo transfer solutions which allow you to transfer photocopies of pictures onto fabric. This is a great craft idea that you and your child can do together some snowy day when you're trapped in the house.

Once you're done with personalizing the dresser, bookcase, or armoire, your kid will feel more like her room really is her own. Gee, that could almost mean she won't leave her belongings scattered all over the rest of the house.