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    Decorating children's rooms - Designing and planning


    Designing a bedroom for your children is like picking out their clothes - it has to suit their personal likes and needs, and allow room for growth. This article aims to inspire you with ideas for some creative bedroom designs and themes that can be easily adapted as tastes change without breaking the bank.


    Designing and decorating a bedroom for your children

    Painting A Girl's Bedroom - lets-do-diy.com

    Flip through interiors magazines and you will see some impressively inventive room makeovers - the problem is that erecting a ship-bed on scaffolding or climbing bars on the ceiling is not practical for everyone and you may have to completely redo the room in a few years.

    Children's taste can change as fast as they do so adaptability and flexibility are the keystones of any bedroom makeover. This doesn't mean you can't create an exciting and unique room with some canny decoration of plain furniture.

    In this article you will find some suggestions for popular styles but remember bedrooms are personal spaces so it is important to work with your child to create the right room for them. If there are elements of the decoration children can help with, making it a family project can be a lot of fun for all involved.


    Layout

    Make transforming the room from a toddler's playroom to a teenager's hideaway easier by envisaging how the room will be used in the future and factoring this into your design. If you are buying a bed for a small child, ask yourself if it could be used as a sofa by a teenager later on. Many cribs will easily convert into junior beds, daybeds, even twin beds with removable rails.

    Storage space should be a long-term priority and large fitted cupboards can be used by younger children to store toys in or even as a separate play area. Older children may need a desk or dressing table as well. Building a countertop with drawers underneath will provide plenty of worktop space for doing artwork at or later on, homework or make-up.

    If you buy separate items of furniture, choose something that can be repainted and wont be ruined by having stickers on it. When it comes to furniture, sturdiness and safety are paramount and it is worth paying the extra for hardwearing quality.

    If a bedroom is to double up as a playroom or study, or be shared by two children, it is a good idea to create separate zones for each child or for different activities. Make use of loft space and under-stairs recesses, or remove the bottom bunk of a bunk bed to provide a play area or preteen's study. Mezzanines are another good way of making a small room much larger, and dividing work space and socialising or relaxation space in teenagers' rooms. You can also achieve this by furniture placement, separate lighting, or with a screen or trendy glass bead curtains.

    Dividing a room into separate areas is also a good idea if you have a toddler, as each zone can be decorated differently, with a calm storytelling area, an adventure jungle, Legoland etc. Create your own scenery, dividing the room with cardboard partitions painted to look like a kitchen or aeroplane for example, or use brightly coloured polystyrene blocks or boxes to build dens with. Creating different levels will also make the room an exciting playground simply by adding beanbags, steps, or crawl-through tubes.


    Lighting

    Children's Bedroom Lighting

    Task lighting for children's reading areas and desks is important. Whilst a strong light will prevent eye strain, glaring lighting is undesirable so it may be best to angle several lights over the desk or bed. Bedside lamps provide a comforting glow but do not generally provide sufficient reading light. Desk lamps are useful for angling light onto a page or screen but, again, are no replacement for good overhead lighting. Girls will want good light around mirrors, which can be achieved by angling spotlights or fitting theatre dressing-room style bulbs around the mirror.

    When you have sorted the practical lighting, you can start on atmospheric lighting. Dimmer switches are great for altering the mood at the touch of a dial, and preparing young children for bedtime. A wide variety of lamps and light fittings are now sold for decorative purposes in the shape of carousels or as mobiles or revolving lightshows. But be aware that lamps are easily knocked over and taken apart so wall lights and ceiling lights may be safer for toddlers. Choose a low-voltage nightlight emitting a warm yellow glow to leave on throughout the night as a comfort or to soothe infants.

    Lighting can also enhance a theme room - pinks and mauves create a magical feel, LEDs twinkle like stars in a skyscape, red fairy lights can be bunched up in a fireplace for an imitation fire. For the teen scene, lava lamps, coloured lamps and fibre optic lights are popular. Of course artificial light is no substitute for natural light so place mirrors around the room to reflect light into the room and make it more cheerful.


    Storage

    Storage For Kid's Bedroom - lets-do-diy.comDesigning storage space around your child's activities will make it easier to keep the room tidy - avid readers may need extra shelves by the bed, cuddly toy collectors a hammock to keep their pals close by, crafters plenty of containers for materials etc.

    For shelving that can be raised, choose adjustable shelving units or stacked storage boxes. If your child likes everything around them, open storage may be better as a temporary option. Hanging pockets, nets and baskets, hooks and pegs, and hook-over shelves hung from a door or bunk are popular storage solutions. As children get older, they will invariably collect possessions and you will need to make the most of space under the bed or in alcoves. Fit a double rail in wardrobes and cupboards to hang twice the volume of clothes and keep shoes in hanging pockets on the inside of the door. For girls with large collections of scarves, handbags and necklaces, a trellis with old-fashioned pegs or modern hooks is both effective and attractive.

    Wall-mounted TVs, CD racks, and display cabinets are also useful. Buy furniture that doubles up as storage space, choosing an ottoman instead of a stool, a trunk instead of a TV table, a mirror-fronted cabinet instead of a mirror etc.

    Next: Decorating children's rooms - Decorating by age