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How to Decorate a Child’s Room and Love the Results

December 7, 2009
Times Observer
Parents and children rarely have the same decorating tastes when the time comes to redo a child's room. But don't worry - with a few tricks, you can create a stylish bedroom that is fun and functional for your child.

"Your child's bedroom is the one room in the house they call their own," says Jeff Nokkeo, academic director for Interior Design at The Art Institute of California - San Francisco. "Allowing your child to create a sense of identity and personal space will help both of you to love the new decor."

Here are some decorating tips that will help keep the whole family happy:

• Talk to your child about his or her vision for the room. Then select a color palette and theme together. What are her likes and dislikes? Does he have a favorite hobby or activity he likes to do? Incorporating some of the child's design ideas into the room will help make it feel like his or her own.

• Does she want overpowering or bright colors? "Compromise by using a neutral wall color in the room and adding punch and color with accessories and accents like bedding, lamps, wall art and other decorations," Nokkeo suggests.

• Likewise, keep window shades neutral, but add a fun, colorful valance. The neutral base will make it easy for you to change the room when your child's tastes change again in a couple years.

Both furniture manufacturers and home decor companies have special sections for children, so there are plenty of options to choose from. You'll notice color trends as you start to shop - most major retailers will stock similar colors in any given season, making it easy to mix and match products from different stores. Here's a look at some of the hottest trends for children's bedrooms:

For girls It's all about bright colors for girls, from purple to lime green to the ever-popular pink. Retro patterns are making a comeback, and they may look familiar to moms who had something similar when they were young. But make no mistake: These patterns are updated with a twist for a fun, funky look.

For example, Montgomery Ward features a personalized Sweetheart Pillow and Throw that will keep your daughter cozy while sleeping, enjoying a book, or simply lounging around her room. The set includes a throw (49 by 60 inch) that's soft plush on one side and silky smooth on the other and a matching 15-inch square pillow. Adding items that can be personalized with a name or favorite phrase, like this blanket, is a way to make your child feel like the room truly is her special place. Choose pink with black embroidery or black with pink embroidery. The throw is machine washable, a good thing to note when choosing items for a child's room since little hands can be messy.

For boys If your little guy loves sports, choose accessories that have his favorite professional logo on them, such as a bedspread or poster. If your son isn't a sports nut, you can incorporate any interest into affordable decor that will personalize the room. For example, if your son loves to play Army, add some camouflage curtains. Does he like science? Add a wall mural of the solar system. And if you don't have a theme to work with, just choose his favorite colors and find accessories that incorporate that color.

For both Functionality is important in a child's room. Adding items like a desk or table to work on is a great idea. Montgomery Ward has a great option for younger children called the ABC Table and Chair Set that gives little ones a special place for drawing, snacking and other activities. Educational letters and images capture the imagination.

Organization is also important in a child's room. Consider adding a decorative toy chest, closet organizers and storage bins to your child's room to help avoid clutter. Encourage children to only take out one or two toys at a time so their room remains stylish and clean. Once they have a system to follow and know that their favorite teddy bear is in the chest at the end of the bed, they'll be more likely to put it away when they're done using it for easy access later.

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