When it comes to remodeling, kids' rooms might rank lower on the priority list, especially for budget-minded homeowners. Kids are guaranteed to outgrow their environment, often making parents leery of investing a lot of time or money there. And yet involving children in caring for and shaping their personal space is part of growing up. How to balance these seemingly conflicting realities? HUE Color & Décor's Jana Oliveri and Cathy Peroff have some suggestions.
Color is an ideal starting point, says Peroff, who has two teenagers. "It's the easiest thing to change to make the most impact."
The process starts with a conversation involving parents — they're footing the bill — and the child. "We might ask about favorite colors," says Oliveri, who also has two kids. Boys, for example, tend to pick colors based on sports teams, which are typically bold so the designers apply them judiciously, such as on an accent wall. Younger girls are often still gravitating toward pink, while many older girls are into boho chic, but also whatever they're seeing on social media, Peroff says. Older kids tend to want more muted colors.
Once they determine a color scheme, the conversation can expand into other easy-to-change items like bedding, window treatments and accessories. The designers like Target's options for bedding. Peroff and Oliveri like to layer textures, colors and patterns, always choosing washable, durable fabrics. For the walls, vinyl appliques that can be removed easily are fun for kids to choose and offer considerable bang for the buck. Try Etsy or for sports-themed options go to Fathead.com. Another easy way to make a big impact is through lighting options that can change colors.
The biggest expenditure in a child's room is likely to be furniture. Jeff Runge is the third generation to run Coeur d'Alene's Runge Furniture, and has decades helping countless families choose everything from bedroom sets to the family room couch. Saving space in a kid's bedroom is often important. "Bunk beds are much more fun than they used to be," says Runge, noting that some have built-in work stations underneath. Or if new furniture isn't in the budget, consider a DIY headboard. Plans abound online. Browsing thrift stores for the perfect piece to revamp can be a great parent-kid project with unique results, like a desk Peroff and Oliveri painted silver for a girl's pink, gray and metallic-accented room.
Next comes storage. Easy to use storage can go a long way toward avoiding the proverbial parent-child tension over a clean room. "For younger kids, keeping it clean and making it easy for them to do that is important," says Peroff, who admits to liking things very tidy. "Try baskets kids can toss their toys in."
Cubbies, a bookcase and under-bed storage are easy for kids to access. Also, "It's easier for kids to hang things on a hook than to grab a hanger," notes Oliveri. In the closet, consider putting shelving from the floor to the ceiling. This makes it easier for kids to see what they have and often eliminates the need for a dresser. Store less-used items on higher shelves.
Finally, the design should be personal. Whatever theme is chosen, find ways to include the child's own work. One option is the use of whiteboard paint. It actually works! And it can be a delightful way to display ever-changing creative designs.
Creating a special space of one's own is just one step on the path to "adulting" and although parents often have to lead the way on the project, putting in the effort offers a way to foster a connection and make some happy memories along the way. "There are kids who may say that they don't care what their room looks like, but when we go in and make some changes it makes them feel good," Peroff says.