Guide to Decorating Kids' Rooms

Comfort Issues When Decorating Kids' Rooms

Physical comfort in your child's room comes down to a few commonsense elements. The shortlist is a bed with a good-quality, supportive mattress (you'll go through at least two mattresses before he or she heads for college); enough storage drawers and ones that move easily; round pegs at the right height for hanging clothes; adequate lighting for tasks; and a good-size work surface plus supportive chair. If you don't have a home security system, make sure bedroom windows have high-quality locks and, if you like a little fresh air, window guards that let windows open no more than five inches.

Psychological comfort is just as important, so plan that in from the start. Starting at the most elemental level, nights can feel endless to a child who's ill or even just one with a healthy imagination. An extra bed in the room will be more comfortable for everyone when you're on the parental night shift, and a rocking chair can save your back as well as soothe a fretful youngster. If a conventional twin bed won't work well, consider a futon-type couch, a daybed with a pullout trundle bed, or an armchair that converts to a twin sleeper.

Comfort Issues When Decorating Kids' Rooms
A chair that glides or rocks recalls the prenatal rocking
motion that means safety at its most elemental level.
Upholstered arms and a footrest give a weary parent a chance
to relax, too. Designer: Karen Cashman, Perspectives.

A night-light is important, but you and your child may prefer a conventional lamp with a dim (15-watt) bulb or a dimmer switch instead of the usual tiny plug-ins. (In any case, be sure the shade isn't too close to the bulb.) Of all the bedroom accessories, your child will find a treasured blanket or a special stuffed animal a bedtime must: This is one item you shouldn't feel in a rush to remove. For kids over age five, a small unbreakable flashlight may also help them feel in control and comforted. Night fears come and go as children's brains develop; most outgrow them as preadolescents if not before.

Security in early years has lifetime benefits, and while nothing can take the place of a comforting adult, a room designed to make a child feel more secure can make a difference.

In the next section, you'll learn how to use color to its full advantage in your child's room.

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