“Can I decorate my bedroom?” Four words that you, as a parent, may dread – particularly if your child’s taste is less Ideal Home and more ‘dinosaurs on the rampage’. Taking it as a positive, it’s a surefire indicator that your little angel is rapidly growing up and wanting to express their identity (even if that identity is ‘Disney Princess’ or ‘Spider-Man’). Here’s how you can attempt – and survive – a child’s bedroom makeover in five simple steps, with your smile more or less intact. Just remember to keep a bottle of something chilled on ice, so mummy and daddy can celebrate too!
- Set a budget: Be realistic about what you can afford to spend in total and then allocate proportionate funds for a bed, paint, wall and floor coverings, soft furnishings (including bedding) and decorative items. Include a modest contingency fund for unexpected costs. Top tip: Boost your funds by selling unwanted clothes and toys on auction sites such as eBay, or on local online forums. Search for old furniture on sites such as Freecycle and Freegle that’s suitable for upcycling with a lick of paint.
- Involve your child: Empower them to help you with a clear-out. Sort clothes and toys into three piles: those to keep, those to donate (or sell – see above) and those to be thrown away. Discuss what theme they would like their bedroom to have, and support them to narrow it down to a choice you’re also comfortable with. Unless they are very young, try to move away from specific fads and brands (e.g. Marvel Superheroes) to subject matters (e.g. science, space, the world, the sea), which have more longevity. Top tip: Use low-cost soft furnishings and peel-able wall decals to reflect the theme, as opposed to more expensive items such as wallpaper and floor coverings. Keeping your overall scheme neutral gives you more options to change things up more frequently.
- Choose the right bed and bedding: Sleep is absolutely critical to childhood development; a well-manufactured bed is an investment in your child’s well-being. Cabin bed designs maximise your floor space, with room underneath for everything from play dens and storage, to a pull-out desk and chair. Princess carriage or racing car beds are every little girl or boy’s dream, while four-poster beds with billowing curtains (pictured left) all add to a ‘fairytale’ feel. Simple wooden or metal structures are fantastic for creating a clean, minimalist look, which allows bold accessories to stand out. A mattress protector will prolong the life of your child’s mattress – especially if they are younger and prone to bedwetting. The right pillow is critical for good spinal health – keeping the neck aligned and supported throughout the night. Choose machine-washable duvets to keep your child’s bedding fresh and non-allergenic fillings to relieve common childhood conditions like asthma.
- Planning: Set aside 24 to 48 hours for your makeover. If your budget allows for it, hire professionals who – in most cases – will be able to complete the job faster with minimal fuss. Plan to paint first, then lay down any floor coverings. Arrange for the children to go for a sleepover with friends or relatives (to massively reduce your stress levels), or to share a room elsewhere in the house. Clear out anything moveable to create maximum floor space. Ventilate the room after your makeover is complete to allow paint fumes to safely disperse.
- Make healthy choices: Add a large mirror opposite the window to reflect light during daylight hours. Choose a study lamp, which promotes good visibility for homework after dark. For younger children, use dimmer switches to gradually build up to lights-out, as part of a managed sleep routine. Thick curtains that block out the light will help activate your child’s natural biorhythms – prompting restorative sleep. Provide plenty of storage options to keep toys and clutter safely out of sight – minimising slips and trips. For a fun project, support your child to make a photo montage of family, friends and happy memories. Display it prominently in their newly-made-over room as a subconscious reminder: ‘You are secure, wanted and loved’.
Image: Copyright of Shutterstock