Planning a child’s room
When you start decorating a nursery for a new baby, you’re may actually be decorating the room that a growing child will inhabit until you move or the child moves out on her own, whichever comes first. Expecting parents are often advised to design a room that only a baby or toddler would like. They are besieged with images of pastels and theories about which colors and mobiles will make a baby smarter. Another option is to forget all this and concentrate on making a room that will please a child up to his or her teenage years (at which point many kids start wanting to change their rooms around every two months, but c’est la vie).
Babies don’t need much room, but by the time a child is six or seven, she’ll need a twin bed, room and storage for toys, a chest or dresser or some built-in cabinets or shelves, and ideally a small desk to encourage good study habits. A child’s room needs a safe heating system – avoid, for example, heaters that are easily knocked over. Furniture should be sturdy and not too easily marked up. Expect kids to play with curtains or blinds: look for a window system that a child can easily operate without breaking. Some blinds systems are just too complicated for youngsters.
It’s tempting to decorate the nursery with your ideas about girls or boys, depending which your baby is expected to be. The problem is, it’s not the 1950s anymore. Gender roles are not as divided as they once were. Wallpaper or sheets with images of sports teams, spaceships, horses or Barbie may seem like a good idea, but just because your child is one gender or the other does not mean he or she will like any of those things. It’s simpler to keep the decor more neutral and let the growing child decorate walls with posters reflecting his or her interests.
Color is a lot of fun, but a child’s room can be as neutral as a parent’s. Avoid pastels because children soon learn to see these colors as baby-ish – the one exception is a pale yellow, which doubles as a neutral, natural tone. Avoid warm and primary colors because these are stimulating to the nervous system and probably never a good idea for sleeping rooms. Off-primary shades of blue, green or purple can add a nice sense of color without being too stimulating. Avoid white walls because they show too many marks.