Kids Room Compromises


Kids Room Compromises



Kids grow fast. That means their rooms have to roll with the changes, which requires a makeover every few years. Your son or daughter likely wants a say in how their bedroom should be decorated and furnished, which can lead to conflicts if their daring design dreams clash with your more practical vision.

“Parents and children are often at odds, esthetically speaking, when it comes to designing a kid’s bedroom,” says Rachel Cannon, owner and lead designer with Rachel Cannon Limited in Baton Rouge, La. “That can be compounded with the financial commitment involved, not to mention the worry the kids or their friends might not be as careful as one would hope with new furnishings.”

But there’s a way to navigate this rocky terrain and forge a peaceful detente that can satisfy both parties, say the experts. It involves listening to each other and striking compromises where you can in a collaborative effort – one that can start at a young age.

Consider that 20 percent of grown-ups allow children younger than six years old to decorate their own rooms, per the results of a recent Houzz Kids and the Home survey. Other findings: 69 percent of child bedrooms have a decor theme like nature (30 percent), animals (23 percent), sports (17 percent) and princesses (15 percent); and favorite paint colors are blue (59 percent), white (31 percent), gray (30 percent), green (25 percent) and pink (20 percent).

Jennifer Talbot, Chicago-based interior designer, says the biggest challenge in a child’s bedroom redo is creating a space that both parents and their offspring like.

Especially if your child is younger than a teenager, “I think it’s important to collaborate and include them in the process by giving them edited choices on items like color and lighting selections,” says Talbot. “Allow them two to three options for each of these areas, but at least give them one area to have freedom and express their personality – whether it be a shelf for a collection or a pegboard for pictures and ideas.”

Heidi Ferguson, a homeowner in Lake Worth, Fla., recently partnered with her 10-year-old daughter Cassina to create her first solo bedroom. Although they argued a bit about color choices, they found room to compromise.

“We settled on an accent wall in my color choice, seafoam green, and the rest of the walls in her color choice, blush pink. The bolder style elements she chose add the necessary element and character that my original design was lacking,” Ferguson says. “It’s smart to listen to your kids and figure out what their needs are. Show them lots of magazines and photos, bookmark the designs you both like, and collectively decide what works and what doesn’t, without being afraid to mix design styles.”

A child’s room redo can range widely in scope and budget. Cannon says it’s important to first determine what you can afford, which will dictate the extent to which you allow your child to pick the elements.

“New bedding, accessories and art are typically the best way to quickly update a kid’s space,” says Cannon. “Also, at minimum, a coat of fresh paint is mandatory. Consider a fresh perspective on the application of paint by painting the molding or ceiling a different color and maybe applying wallpaper on an accent wall or the ceiling.”

Another cost-effective way to reinvent your child’s space is to de-clutter.

“Moving the furniture around is another great way to bring new life to the space. From this point, painting, wall hangings and new bedding is icing on the cake,” Suzanne O’Donnell, Los Angeles-headquartered professional organizer and interior stylist, says.

If you’re butting heads with a stubborn or older child, think about bringing in an outside expert.

“Many parents have enlisted folks like myself to help the child through the process,” says O’Donnell, who is most often hired for makeovers when children are around three key ages: seven, 12, and 17. “I find that kids are more open with me then they would be with their parents. While supporting their ideas, I gently and with enthusiasm direct them away from ideas that are not realistic or cost-effective for the family.”

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