When I was about 9, my parents allowed my sister and me to choose the paint colors for our rooms. My younger sister, Lauren, chose a really beautiful pastel color for her room. I, on the other hand, felt that since I had five walls in my room that I should have five different colors. I also chose pastel colors, and let’s just say that it looked like an easter unicorn threw up all over the walls. In hindsight, this was an embarrassing and hideous choice on my part. I really appreciated the experience because our parents respected our right to choose the type of space we resided in.
This experience makes me wonder why more parents don’t seek out their children’s opinions when it comes down to the design of their rooms. Who could possibly be more inventive and creative than a child? Their brilliant minds and imaginative natures are perfect for innovative and fun interior design. Not to mention, they are the ones who will be spending the most time in their spaces. Allowing kids a say in the design of their rooms teaches them autonomy and exploration of what they like.
While kids might not always offer practical suggestions for their space, it’s a good practice to hear what they have to say. This doesn’t mean you take their wishlists and find a way to make it work. Rather give them the opportunity to choose aspects of design when they can. When designing a child’s bedroom, ideally you want something that supports their whimsy while also being a space that they can grow into. I suggest developing a “mature” palette (led by parents) and accessorizing with colors and elements that reflect their current interests. It’s much easier to switch out fuschia pillows than it is to paint over a fuschia wall.
One way that you can include your children in the design of their rooms is to provide them with 3-5 choices of something that you are comfortable with. Afterward, allow your child to have the final say from the choices you provided them with. That way they can feel as if they helped to create the space (which they did) and they may even take more of an interest in maintaining the space. A win-win for everyone involved! Compromise so that it’s a space that all can deal with.
Incorporating pieces like chalkboards or magnetic boards can also encourage their individual creativity without being too committal. The things that captivate young children can change from one day to the next. Pieces that can be altered allow their curiosity and current interests to run free, while simultaneously giving them creative freedom.
When we give kids a say in the design of their rooms, we’re doing more than just choosing paint colors. We’re giving them a voice which is a powerful thing that goes beyond interior design. Happy designing with your little ones!