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Guide to Decorating Kids' Rooms

How to Choose Patterns When Decorating Kids' Rooms

If you're looking for a pattern to energize your child's room, you don't have to look very far. Stripes (circus, racing, or candy) are always popular, and not just with kids. You can find a striped fabric or wallcovering in just about any colors you like, or paint a scheme on walls yourself. Keep in mind that horizontal stripes tend to make walls look wider: For a room that resembles a bowling alley, visually widen the narrow end walls with horizontal stripes. Use vertical stripes to visually raise the typical eight-foot ceiling. Don't have too much contrast; yellow and black stripes, for instance, will tend to visually "vibrate" in a stressful way.

Plaid is another timeless favorite that looks handsome in jewel tones (ruby, emerald, sapphire, etc.). It can also look pretty but sporty in hot pastel tints. Plaid's squared-off shapes give it a tailored look, but the blending of color tones can add warmth and interest to any decor. Plaid's simpler cousin, checks, shares a lot of the same charm. Color makes all the difference: Imagine pretty pink-and-white gingham checks in a countrified nursery or no-nonsense navy-and-ivory checks in a collegiate room.

How to Choose Patterns When Decorating Kids' rooms
Florals are timeless feminine favorites, but today’s girl may not like the
nostalgic approach. The antidote: contemporary freehand florals mixed with
stripes or checks, all done up in fresh paintbox colors. Manufacturer: PJ Kids.

Flower prints don't have the unisex versatility of geometric stripes, plaids, and checks, but in a girl's room, you can combine geometric patterns and freeform florals for prettiness with punch. If you want botanical motifs in a boy's room, consider geometric, stylized Arts and Crafts-style florals or simple greenery, from ivy borders to palm tree murals.

Wallcovering borders and stencils expand your choice of appealing pattern motifs. Today's laser-cut borders feature a great array of sport, animal, fairy-tale, and cartoon motifs. In most cases, coordinating wallcoverings and easy-care fabrics are also available. If you're not sure your child's current enthusiasm will last, paint the walls and use just the easily strippable wallcovering border from a popular set.

Thanks to today's aggressive marketing of line extensions, it's easy to find themed accessories from many TV shows and movies marketed to kids. Look at your child's favorite next time with an eye to determining the color and pattern schemes. They're usually very pronounced for easy recognition by mini consumers. For example, Disney's The Lion King used African basket-inspired zigzag patterns in gold, rust, and black; the essence of 101 Dalmatians was conveyed with black-and-white polka dots plus a bit of red for emphasis; and The Little Mermaid is swirling waves of aqua with accents of coral.

How to Choose Patterns When Decorating Kids' Rooms
A jungle theme fits naturally with the climbing fun of
bunk beds in this charming room with appeal for boys
and girls alike. Rounded posts are attractive as well as
safe for active young explorers. Manufacturer: Waverly.

You get the idea. Once you have the main colors and patterns figured out, you can create the impression your child craves in a way that won't be dated in three months. After all, the patterns of animal skins, shells, flowers, leaves, and other natural elements have been captivating people since long before modern media were around.

Now it's time to start examining how to select kids' furniture. We'll start with cradles on the next page.

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