Decorating With Kids

Involving Your Children in Interior Design can Make the Process Easier, and More Fun, for Everyone

Around the house family roles are clearly set out. You work, your kids play. You cook, they eat. You decorate your home and they, well, they just live in it. But don’t get too attached to the way things are. When it comes to remodeling and redecorating your home, your kids can be a great source of ideas for everything from child friendly bathroom decorations to paint schemes for children’s rooms. Your kids can also be an extra pair of (albeit small) hands on projects that aren’t that as physically demanding and don’t involve box cutters or nail guns.

Bringing your children into the process can make the mental and physical work of interior design easier for you, but it can do a lot for them too. When kids realize that their preferences count for something around the house, they’ll feel more confident and be more likely to express themselves creatively. When they know they worked on a room or a piece of children’s furniture, they’re more likely to respect it: if you’re lucky, this will mean fewer messes. Spending a long weekend afternoon together painting personalized kids furniture is also a great bonding activity. There’s really no downside to decorating with your kids when you think about it.

Using Your Children’s Ideas

Before you can start moving furniture you have to know what the room you’re working on is going to look like; kids are especially helpful here. Even young children have taste says remodeling expert and author of The New Kidspace Idea Book , Wendy Jordan. “By the time a child is four or five years old, they have ideas about what they like [in terms of colors and patterns] and what they don’t.”

Getting paint scheme preferences from younger children isn’t just a matter of asking them what color they want the walls to be, Jordan warns. Questions that are too open ended can stump kids. To figure out what color they’d really like, set a few primary color crayons in front of them and ask them to pick their favorite, their second favorite and so on. With school age children you can ask them what sort of patterns they enjoy or ask them to draw a picture of their dream room and take cues from that. With pre-teens and teenagers you can just give them a budget and let them have at it.

Once you’ve nailed down your kids’ chic room décor ideas, it’s useful to step back from the process for a minute and reflect. Especially when dealing with children’s wall decorations and paint schemes for children’s rooms, it’s easy for adults to overdo their children’s preferences. While it’s a good idea to paint a toddler’s room in bright colors, too many of them can over stimulate young viewers, making it hard to relax. The same goes for themed decorations. Whether it’s a dinosaur mural in their room or doll covered furniture, too many children’s room decorations can be tacky when your kids get a little older, and can be a real hassle to re-do.

It’s also important to make sure your ideas for children’s rooms keep your child’s height and reach in mind. Done in haste, it’s easy for parents to place desks, shelves and dressers at adult heights – where younger kids can’t easily access them. Kids tend to see in broad strokes, so if you don’t remember these little details, they certainly won’t.

Getting Hands-On

If you want quick and clean, getting your kids actively involved in the re-decorating process might be frustrating. But if you’re looking to spent a little quality time with them while doing something creative, rolling up your sleeves together can’t be beat.

If you have younger children there’s a lot they won’t be able to help with. While anything too complicated or anything involving sharp tools is out, even toddlers can help with simple wall decoration. Making paint handprints on the wall, or using sponges or rubbers stamps to the same end, can be great fun and a great confidence builder for younger kids. With proper supervision, allowing them to hammer in a nail or two can make them feel like they’ve really accomplished something.

School age children can do a lot of light decorating tasks, including painting walls with brushes and rollers and moving around children’s furniture. Experts recommend doing just a little bit at a time and stretching the project out across days or weeks, thus making it a routine. Given how restless they can be, it helps to make the project as fun as possible. When you do get to work, let them play their music and invite a couple friends over to help out. Working for a few hours in the morning is preferable to working in the afternoon, as that’s when older kids lose focus and tend to want to move around.

For more useful information about home décor, check out the home furnishings guide  and economical home décor tips  at