I recently met with a new client who needed help redesigning a bedroom for her oldest son. She said, ” I’m not sure why I have waited so long to do something with his sad room, but he is leaving for college in a few months and I want him to at least have a nice room to come home to.” I thought that was such a sweet gesture, but also wanted to share the story to jump start you into working on your child’s room so that they get to enjoy it before it is too late. You will blink and your kids will be off to college!!
I have completed some awesome projects over the years involving kids spaces. (my website has a section dedicated to a few of them, www.roosthome.com, click Portfolio and then click Youth Areas). They are always fun projects but each has a different set of challenges….children can sometimes be my toughest clients.
Here’s how it usually goes…..kids are always REALLY concerned about the obvious, the one element of the room that they can ultimately control…..the COLOR of their WALLS! That color is so important to them that it is almost as if that single color defines their place in the world….this particular shade of pink or that specific blue is always the jumping off point. Most kids can select that color with confidence and ease. After the parent agrees to the sometimes obnoxious color that has been “specified”, the most challenging part of the project begins . Depending on their age, some kids can provide some sort of magazine photo or visual point of reference to lead to the end result. When an inspirational photo is available, that is a great way for parent and child to be on the same page about the end result. Some children have a hard time narrowing down a specific look and have quite an assortment of different ideas. Some struggle to muddle through all of options and most all of them get overwhelmed somewhat quickly. It can be a tough and agonizing process for parents when their child either can’t make a decision, or the requests being made by the child are not what the parent sees as a worthy investment.
Here is a step-by-step process that has worked time and time again to complete a successful children’s space with as little stress as possible…
1. Talk to your child about the scope of the project for the room in general.. what furniture needs to be deleted or added? Develop a general idea of how the room will function with the additions and subtractions and agree on that shared vision. Write down 3 of the most important things that need to be achieved. For instance, she needs a desk, a dressing mirror and lots of storage.
2. Start the visual process by selecting that all-important paint color which is always the most important design element to the kids.
3. Once the paint color has been decided, ask your child to look for an inspirational photo or two, (you can help with this) so that the general style of the room can be defined more quickly. It is REALLY important to talk about the design elements of the photo that can be REALISTICALLY achieved….for example, if your child is drawn to a photo of a room with reclaimed wood walls, is that something you are willing to install? Or is faux wood wallpaper a more realistic approach? Or, if that particular look isn’t fitting for whatever reason you might have to say, “that isn’t realistic, lets find another idea”.
4. Using the paint color as a guide, start the fabric search for draperies, bedding, (always choose washable bedding), and whatever furniture that you need to complete the vision… ask your child for input as needed along the way.
5. After most everything is selected…try to put the room together when your child is not home…..the big TA-DA reveal is soooooo exciting and special for them!!!. Most kids, even older kids, have trouble envisioning the room totally complete and can sometimes get frustrated with a few pieces and parts being changed over several weeks…I have learned over the years that even though kids want their rooms to be “cool”, change is sometimes hard for them. “Revealing” the new room to your child will be a day they won’t soon forget.