As back-to-school time nears, and students get ready to move up a grade in school, parents will shop for school supplies and new clothes. Gym shoes and backpacks will be checked to see if they are a good fit. Accordingly, it’s the perfect time to check whether a child’s bedroom is still a good fit for his or her age.
A young person’s bedroom is a multipurpose homework center, playroom, TV room, and retreat. So, give the children at your house a comfortable room that expresses themselves, offers privacy, and is updated to reflect that childhood and young adulthood bring change and growth every year.
Anna Janke, interior designer at i Design 4 Interiors, LLC, in Brookfield, offers ideas for creating age-appropriate, versatile, kid-friendly bedrooms. The firm is a member of the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council, Inc., the area's leading home improvement and remodeling industry resource for more than 47 years.
Allow Room to Grow: Janke suggests a practical approach of using color-coordinated, long-lasting pieces rather than matching accessorized items. For example, in a nursery, use a bear lampshade rather than a bear lamp base, and don’t insist that every item in the room feature a bear design. This way, the pieces in the room allow a more practical transition to an older look. A child might get temporarily attached to a favorite cartoon character or series of books. But what happens when interest in a certain character fades? A quick update can be made if you limit character themes to a lamp or a poster rather than wallpaper.
Right Height: To be considerate, Janke advises hanging artwork at a child’s eye level. Also arrange shelving at their height, and hang closet bars within their reach for easy access to clothing.
Neatness: “Clean up your room” is more easily done with ample storage for stuffed animals, art supplies, and games. Install hanging toy containers, such as small corner hammocks, to free up floor space. Place plastic bins around the room for storage of dolls and action figures, and quick cleanup of dirty clothes.
Add Color with Paint: Color is one of the most important elements in a child’s room. The affordable cost of paint allows frequent updates. Accent bedroom walls by stenciling a design on the wall, or paint a wall mural.
Furniture: A classic style of furniture endures over time. The rule of thumb to remember is the trendier a piece of furniture is, the more specific it is to the time of purchase and the individual child using it. A decision needs to be made when purchasing furniture for teens. If he or she plans to take it for a first apartment, keep that future use in mind. If parents want to keep it for use as guest room furniture, that's also a consideration.
Quick and Convenient: Since decorative items for a room form an ensemble, store them as a unit in a “prop closet” when they’re removed from a room. Then, when you want to give a room a facelift, go into the prop closet, put away the pastel “set,” and take out the dinosaur items.
Tween Wardrobe Cue: Often, middle school students have chosen a style of clothing and a favorite color in their wardrobe. Check in their closets to see what patterns are ruling the day, and use those in the room décor.
Whimsical fabrics: A bedroom can be dressed in curtains of sequined fabric or a bed canopy of crinkled taffeta. Other choices are spandex, rayon, chiffon, and holographic stretch velvet. Spandex is functional because it’s easy to stretch and wrap around objects.
Fads and Fashions: Janke suggests using portable decals made of vinyl-type material. They attach to mirrors, walls, or windows and come in a variety of embellishments such as alphabet letters, polka dots, and butterflies. In another transitional strategy, trendy pillows and curtains can add pizzazz for a year and then be replaced by the next fad.
Growing Up: Think “apartment style” when decorating for teens. Use removable items like entertainment centers, bookshelves, armoires, and desks. A small file cabinet and some shelves for supplies should be provided. Janke recommends using a storage ottoman, which is helpful for both visiting and holding items.
The Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council was chartered in July 1961, as a Chapter of the National Home Improvement Council. In May of 1982, the National Home Improvement Council merged with the National Remodelers Association to form NARI the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. With over 900 members, the Milwaukee Chapter is the largest in the nation.
The Council’s goals of encouraging ethical conduct, sound business practices, and professionalism in the remodeling industry have led to the growth of the remodeling industry nationwide and made NARI a recognized authority in that industry.
For more information on the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council or to receive a free copy of the annual membership roster listing all members alphabetically and by category and the booklet, “Milwaukee/NARI’s Remodeling Guide,” call (414) 771-4071 or visit the Council’s Web site at www.milwaukeenari.org.
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