Decorating children’s rooms

Help active minds grow, with a space to call their own.

No matter what your own style is, kids’ rooms are the place you can really go crazy. Using a few cheap and cheerful ideas, you can create a truly inspiring space they’ll love to hang out in and want to keep tidy.

● Involve your children. Ask them what they like, what they really want in their rooms, come up with a few realistic options to choose from and negotiate. This way, they’ll think they’ve made all the decisions. I would stay away from anything overly “themed”, but sticking to an idea or motif is a good start. For example, a wall-sized map of the world works as part of a broader travel theme, or opt for a graphic-style wallpaper that will grow with your child and you can update later on.

● Kids are like sponges – they soak up everything we throw at them, so the room they live in should be comfortable, warm and an inspirational place. Use colour as a way of fuelling their creative spirit. Don’t be scared to apply on the walls, shelves, window frames, doors, furniture and even accessories. Wallpaper offcuts, or even a selection of different wrapping papers, will look great covering a wall in a patchwork-style layout. Paint is easy and cheap. Use it on a door or window frame (or even both) in a bold hue, with masking tape to create stripes, or a stencil for a selection of random circles. You may only need a few test pots to achieve something really eye-catching.

● Mix, don’t match. My son’s rooms have different palettes. Tyler’s is mostly blue and green, with Dylan’s more yellow and orange, but by using colours that work together means all their bed linen goes into the same pile, and they get a new combo to choose from once a week. It keeps décor fresh, and they are forced into sharing favourites with each other.

● In our house, the mountains of pint-size washing are never-ending. To give yourself and your child a chance of keeping things under control, you’ll need a plan. Dividing clothes in their wardrobe into school versus off-duty is a great start, then hang them in groups, such as T-shirts, sweaters, jackets. Do the same with drawers. Large ones can be divided into sections with a piece of cardboard cut to size. You can add cute labels to the fronts, so the kids know exactly where everything is when they need something or are putting things away. Try it with toys by choosing the best ones to display around the room, then for everything that doesn’t make the cut, put into storage, such as boxes on rollers that hide under the bed.

● Create an art wall. Kids are always getting crafty, so give them a designated space to show off their masterpieces. Frame up the special ones you want to keep in a gallery, then Blu-Tack others onto the wall, making them easy to change and update.

● Give them good lighting. A hanging pendant makes a great statement, along with at least one lamp, and a cute night-light for bedtime is a nice touch. If you have the room, a table for homework, crafting, building Lego and everything else is a great idea – even an old work bench or a door atop a pair of trestles will work. Stacking crates will fit nicely underneath and keep the workspace tidy, with boxes, jars and tins for all the bits and pieces on the go.

Watch LeeAnn on the judging panel of Mitre 10 Dream Home, TV2, Tuesdays, 7.30pm.

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