The bedroom is where you can let the personality of your kids really shine. You can be more carefree in your approach to decorating as it is a space that can differ considerably from the rest of the house.
Whether it is a newborn or a teenager, the approach is the same and requires planning. Whenever I design a bedroom for a child or teenager I always talk to the owner of the space to get their insights into what they would like. I then combine this with the needs of the parents to create a space that they want and will use. If your kids feel like they have some sort of ownership, then they are more likely to take pride in it, use it and hopefully keep it clean and tidy.
Like any room you are designing, you require the dimensions of the space, inspiration, and a list of essential items. Consider what the room is to be used for — just sleeping or a combination of functions, which in most cases will be sleeping, dressing, playing and as they get older, studying. Each of these functions has different needs, with the sleeping area needing to provide a cosy and safe space, the dressing area having storage, easy access and privacy, with play requiring space and storage. Ideally, the study area needs to be separate from the sleeping zone with a desk, chair and light at a minimum.
Once these needs are established, the fun can start. Depending on your budget and time, you can create rooms for each stage of their life or create a space that can evolve and grow with them, as kids’ tastes and preferences can change on an almost daily basis. Most people choose to design a room that will evolve with the child and accommodate their developing personalities and formative years.
This does not mean lack of colour but instead clever design decisions. One way of achieving longevity and at the same time reflect your child’s current “favourite toy/trend” is to work with a neutral palette, with colours in the accessories. A neutral palette does not mean it has to be bland. One of my favourite techniques in a kid’s or teenager’s room is to paint the walls white and use either a feature wall or a distinct doona cover to create an impact. Colour is added through window treatments, accessories and even furniture.
Your child’s art can be framed and hung in the room and changed with each new masterpiece— a simple solution that does not ruin your walls. As I have written in previous articles, do not be tempted to paint a baby’s room in yellow as you will have an unsettled child with sleep issues as the energy given out by this hue is not conducive to sleep. In an ideal world your child’s room will have lots of natural light, ventilation and window treatments that allow the control of light, noise and climate. If the room does not provide all these elements, try your best to circumvent this; for example, use lighting that emulates daylight.
Once you have decided on the necessary elements and design focus, start by purchasing the larger pieces of furniture and placing them first. Personally, I am not a fan of shape beds such as cars, but this doesn’t mean you have to ignore them, just remember it will need to be replaced earlier than a normal bed.
If space is at a premium consider buying furniture that has a dual purpose — say, a bed with storage underneath it or a chest that can function as a seat, for example. Purchase the best quality bed and furniture you can afford as they can grow with your child. If your child is in late primary school or a teenager, consider purchasing a double bed as this will last until they move out of home.
Depending on the age of the bedroom’s occupant, storage needs to be considered carefully. For younger ones, make sure

shelves and storage units are within reach. You cannot expect them to clean their room or keep themselves occupied if they cannot reach their toys. One clever way of adding colour is to use colourful baskets for storage — this not only adds personality, it also means that certain toys belong in a certain colour basket. This helps to reduce tantrums and helps them learn to tidy and put things away. Teenagers are at the stage that they are still not quite adults and at times can be still very childlike. They will need a space they can retreat to, call their own and stamp their personality on it. Let them have a little leeway with their own input; remember, paint is easy enough to change. One way to circumvent myriad posters on the walls is to install a cork noticeboard. I did this with my daughter; her wardrobe doors were covered in cork and painted the same colour as the walls. She could place any item on those. A win-win for both of us — she could take ownership of her room yet not damage walls. As with any room you are designing, consider the users of the space, your budget and size of the room. Make decisions based on this to create a strong foundation to work from.

Article provided by Robyn Hawke of Inspired Spaces

**A bedroom fit for a princess or two** White walls with a white canopy curtain allow the personality of the occupants to shine. The young girls who owned this bedroom wanted a pink, princess bedroom and Inspired Spaces created this without having to have pink walls, so when the pink phase passed it was easy to move onto the next colour palette.
**Stamp It** Wall decals make stamping your child’s personality on the room very easy, as they are very cost effective and easy to remove. Note the size of the coat hanger is at the height that enables the owners of this room to use it effectively, and is also a very cost effective way of introducing colour and life to the room.
**Make a Feature** A teenager’s room still tends to have a brighter palette with older accessories and texture. The turquoise feature wall used by Inspired Spaces highlights the height of the raked ceiling and removes the emphasis from the narrowness of the room.

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