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Kids are Experts on What Kids Want

Kerrie Kelly, owner of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab, a team of interior designers located in Sacramento, California, believes that kids should be involved in the basic design process of their bedrooms. “When decorating a child’s room, let the child help with selections for the room,” she explains. “Include a child’s interests and ask for opinions as you create the decorating scheme.

But also realize that a child’s interests can change often, so use accessories that can be easily replaced when a new interest develops.”

DESIGN A bedroom is more than just a place to sleep, Kelly says. It’s also a place to do schoolwork, listen to music, play games, sprawl on the floor, read, build models, create crafts, daydream, visit with friends, and keep innumerable possessions.

“As you are planning the room, divide the space into zones, with an area for active play and an area for quieter activities,” says Kelly. “Even a small alcove or corner can be turned into useful space. And always plan for more storage than you think you’ll need.” Bins and baskets placed on shelves can hold craft materials and photography supplies. Cubbies provide easy, accessible toy storage. Closets can also be transformed into storage areas by adding shelving above the clothing and wire baskets attached to the doors to catch small items.

DECOR Buy furniture that can grow with the child whenever possible. Accessories should be appropriate for the child’s age and adaptable, but not trendy unless you plan on updating the design frequently. “Provide small children with low, washable tables for projects, along with kid-sized chairs or hassocks,” Kelly advises. “As the child grows, these can be replaced with a taller table or a desk and full-size seating.” The designer says that children should have a sense of control over their environment and be able to hang up their clothes, reach toys and books, and sit in chairs that suit their size. In this way, Kelly explains, they learn early that they can do things for themselves.

COLOR Color plays an important part in decorating a child’s room. Kelly suggests incorporating a child’s favorite color somewhere. “Fortunately, color, especially on walls, is easy to change,” she says. “Just remember to use color in pleasing proportions. Even simply reversing the color choices between walls and furnishings can make a difference in how you perceive the room. Imagine lavender walls with yellow furnishings versus yellow walls with lavender furnishings. The visual impact of your decorating scheme is a direct result of color placement.” Kelly also suggests adding fun colors to the room to inspire creativity.

Finally, Kelly encourages parents to review all literature on surfaces and products that will be used in the room and to get an update on any product recalls before making major purchases. Environmentally friendly linens, mattresses, and bed frames are readily available and contribute toward a healthy, good night’s sleep. “Other ways to make a bedroom healthier,” she says, “include opening windows, bringing in houseplants, and leaving shoes outside the bedroom door.” Written by Carolyn M. Runyon.

copyright 2012 Your Home and Lifestyle. Photography provided by PhotographerLink/Fred Donham and Steven Holmes Studio.

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