When pulling together the interior of a home, it is important to consider flow between rooms. This often raises a concern for parents when it comes to their children's room. Very often our children's taste is nothing like ours, so how do we make peace between bright pink or red walls with large decals and stuffed animals, and a sleek white contemporary home? The simple answer......we don't.
In regards to your home, we will be the first to tell you that you need to have some elements of consistency that tie a home together. This goes as far as your child's bedroom door. The reasoning behind this is two-fold. The first reason is based on the concept of sub-conscious cuing. This means there is a subtle difference between public and private spaces. In this regard, the mains spaces such as the living and dining rooms, guest room, main bath, and kitchen are considered public space. Private space would be the bedrooms and ensuites. With this in mind your guest would move freely within the public space, and would likely be invited into the private spaces. If this is the case, the color and feel is similar in the public spaces, which put your guest as ease. By moving into one of the private spaces which is treated differently, it triggers a sub-conscious reaction in your guest of "this is different". This brings awareness to your guest. That said, the master bedroom is often tied into the rest of the house to some degree as it is the owner's taste that is often reflected throughout the home.
The second point is that your children's rooms should be a reflection of their personality. This is the only space that really belongs to them; therefore it is important to involve them in the process of selection. There are a few considerations with this though. Firstly your child will change their mind over time. As the homeowner, you need to decide how soon you will be comfortable re-doing the room. For example little girls from 2-10 often really love pink and purple rooms. Once they hit their tweens and teens they often like a slightly more mature look. So when you paint your little girl's room pink you have to weigh out if you are willing to re-do it in 2, 5, or 10 years. Another approach is to pick a very light version of the colour they want when they are little, then it transitions better through their changing and maturing tastes. Every little girl will pick the brightest pink or purple available, so if you want it to be softer, pick 2 or 3 options that you like and present her with a choice from them. If she is still insistent on a bright pink, you can compromise with bright pink bedding, accessories, or curtains. In this regard everyone wins. Also, if your child is insistent on painting a big mural of Winnie the Pooh in her/his room, we can opt for decals or framed art. This way when your child ages a bit and no longer wants Winnie, an entire new paint job is not necessary.
The same can be said for young boys. Often they go through a red-and black phase around 6-14. This fills parents with dread as they envision spending hours getting the paint to properly cover the walls, and many coats to cover it up, down the line. Again, as above there is always a compromise. A good option is to paint neutral walls, a great grey or tan, then bump it up with a feature wall in red or Charcoal. This way, as in the little girl's room, we can add those colours in other areas that are easier to change as they get older.
Another advantage to painting a lighter color on most of the walls in your child's room is that the marks don't show up as much when the walls get dinged. Realistically at some point there will be a flying hockey puck or an adventurous Barbie hitting the walls, not to mention sticky or gooey hands. A feature wall gives the same impact while still having washability and durability which leads to a longer period between paint jobs. For washability you can consider a slightly higher sheen such as a pearl. The higher sheen makes the paint more washable, but it also shows blemishes much more. I tend to do an eggshell or a pearl depending on the brand of paint.
Involving your child in the decorating of their room gives them a sense of importance and responsibility. It helps them to feel heard, and encourages them to maintain their room better. That said, they do not need to have absolute say, you as the parent have that. If you are having a really hard time coming to a compromise consider bringing in a professional Interior Designer to help with the transition. We are trained to do this, and make the process more manageable and pleasant for everyone. Plus it is a bit easier for us to represent both parties involved so that everyone is happy with the space. This should be a fun process for everyone involved, and your child will remember being included in this process, I know I do.
Melinda Richardson is co-owner of Premise Design, an interior design firm in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, providing interior decorating, home staging, drafting and renovations for the home or office. For more information and more helpful articles visit http://www.interiordesignercalgary.ca/