Kids Spaces Design Question


Vicki of Newmarket writes, “I have a kid who wants to use crazy colours and furniture in her room.  Can you let me know how to make a kid-friendly space that I can change easily over time?  I hate to make an investment in something she’ll outgrow.”

Vicki, I think you ask the question that many parents do:  In helping a child create a space that reflects their age and who they are, how do you ensure that you also keep the spaces in your home not looking like a pre-school forever?

What I know for sure is that kids and teenagers can change their minds as quickly as they change their clothes.  If you’re trying to avoid redecorating in a few short years, then simply do not commit to anything too definitive.

Do make the choice to commit to neutrals that will stand the test of time.  Perhaps the most economical solution you’ll find is in the colour of paint on your walls.  It’s easy and inexpensive to add a hit of colour to your kids’ rooms, but try to think beyond the classic pink and blue.  Know that even if you have a neutral colour on the walls, you can still set the tone to have a pink or blue room by buying inexpensive and colourful accessories. 

That said, it is relatively easy to switch out paint colours, so if your kid is pushing you to use hot pink, don’t fight it too hard, just be sure not to commit all the other items in her room to coordinate with that exact colour.  For very young children, hone in on a colour palette you’re both willing to work with and give them 2 or 3 colour options to select from.  Know for sure that it’s likely your younger child ultimately won’t know what of the three colours she selected nor what of the three colours you’ve used.

If you’re looking to incorporate some wallpaper, avoid themed patterns and choose ones with simple textures or designs that will work with a number of different looks.  Alternatively, Canadian company Eazy Wallz sells easily removable, repositionable and customizable wallpaper/murals that can be used, removed and rolled up for use in another space or handed down to the next kid.  This product, which you can find at www.eazywallz.com can even be used outdoors!

Another fun alternative for kids is a relatively new product offered by Sherwin Williams called “Dry Erase Coating”.  (Sherwin Williams – 446 Hollandview Trail, Aurora. 905-751-0700).  This clear coating, applied like paint can be rolled onto any finished wall, and when overtop of your regular colour, acts like a dry-erase board.  This finish will allow you and your kids to use dry-erase markers on the walls, erasing them clean afterwards. 

This product is used much like chalkboard paint but does not commit you to having a black wall somewhere in your child’s space.  Consider creating a large decorative artwork frame on your walls from standard door casing mouldings like CAS-206 from The Royal Wood Shop in Aurora (www.royalwoodshop.com, 905-727,1387) so your kids learn to keep their artwork in the frame. 

Get creative and install a chair rail at 40”-42” from the floor around the perimeter of the room and coat the entire lower half of the wall in Dry Erase Coating.  Your kids can use the lower portion of their bedroom as an ever-changing artwork easel while you hang the serious stuff up higher.  Sand, prime and paint over the coating when your kids have outgrown it.

When it comes to kids furnishings, avoid the ‘kids-only’ options available in the juvenile section of the furniture stores.  If this is your first child, invest in good pieces that will last a long time, allowing you to pass them down to younger siblings or transition them into items for a spare room.

Skip the racing-car-toddler-bed altogether and move them into a regular size bed, attaching a temporary safety side-rail to avoid nighttime falls.  Invest in a double bed that will get them through the teenage years.  Consider looking for a mattress that can be flipped (perhaps not a pillow top) so that you can rotate the mattress and extend its usage.

By investing in good pieces that will last a long time, you may not feel badly about buying the fun princess or toy-train bedding that the young kids will love to cuddle with.  Lots of toss pillows and a throw in bright, vibrant colours will keep it young and complete the look!



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