As the kids head back to school, this is the perfect time to give your child’s room a makeover. There are a few challenges to decorating a child’s room in an apartment – the second (or third) bedroom is probably a fairly small space, and you may not be allowed to paint (check with your apartment manager if you aren’t sure). But you want a great space for your child to study, play, and relax. You can make your child’s room multi-functional and fun – it will just take some creativity.
First, before you do anything – ask your child what he or she would like to see in the room. Depending on your child’s age, you could get some really … interesting suggestions. That’s okay — what you are looking for is a spark of an idea, your child’s color choices, and interests you may not be aware of (your child could want a corner for craft supplies, for example, or a reading nook).
Decide if you want a theme room – pirates, sports, enchanted forest, storybook princesses, etc. – or if you want a more sophisticated room. Consider the age of your child and how long he or she will enjoy the theme – your four-year-old may love dinosaurs today but tomorrow it could be anything from outer space to tractors to mummies. If you still want to follow a theme, just pull it in through accessories – skip the car bed or fancy pirate ship dresser and instead add a lamp, bedding, and a wall print. Use classic furniture that will support any future decorating whims of your growing child. (Keep that future pre-teen and teen in mind!)
If you can't paint (or even if you can), decals add a fun, whimsical touch to your child's room – and they are easily removed without much damage to the walls. This is also a good way to pull in a theme without too much commitment – the decals can be replaced in a couple of years, when your child's tastes change. Check out the child's section on Etsy.com, where you're sure to find something that will appeal to both you and your child. (While there, be sure to check out the accessories – they will add a unique look to your child's space.)
Next, map out "zones." You want the sleep space, a play area, and a study zone (if your child is school-age). You may also want a dedicated area for his or her interests, such as a cozy reading corner, an art area, or even a Lego table or train center.
For the sleep space, choose a bed that will fit your child for a long time to come – you don't want to buy a toddler-size bed and then have to purchase a new bed in a couple of years when your child outgrows it. Instead, choose something that will carry him right into high school – such as a full-size (or at least a twin) bed. Loft beds are great and will free up the space underneath for a study or play area – perfect for small apartment bedrooms.
The play area will need plenty of storage space, so consider shelving to hold colorful storage bins. Add a bright, colorful rug (one that is safe for your child and easy to clean) to the play area to help define the space. Keep shelving low -- at your child's level – so he or she can pick up her toys and put them back on the shelf without help. A low-to-the-ground modular bookcase or two would work well (just be sure they are anchored to the wall to prevent tipping if your child decides to climb on them).
Don't be afraid to try something new. Your child's room is allowed to be whimsical and fun, so go ahead and paint that old dresser neon pink! Mix and match unusual colors or patterns and find a look that reflects your child's personality. This is the one space where you can be extra creative and take risks – a child's room is supposed to be whimsical. And the final result: your child's fond memories of this special space that will last a lifetime.