How to Choose Storage Furniture for Kids' Rooms
When it comes to storing the multitude of things kids accumulate, "easier" usually translates into "neater." Especially when they're younger, open compartments -- and lots of them -- suit many kids better than closed drawers, cupboards, and closets.
If getting your kids to hang up clothes and equipment is next to impossible, skip hard-to-handle hangers in favor of old-fashioned hooks or pegs. One easy way to create a structure for flexible storage is to mount a four-inch-wide molding at chair-rail level around the perimeter of the room. Paint it a color that coordinates with the room's decor, and mount rounded wooden pegs (painted in a contrasting color) at 18-inch intervals. Even inside a closet, install as many hooks or pegs as space allows. In a child's bath, you may want to use more hooks and fewer towel bars. If the bathroom is well-ventilated, towels should dry quickly enough.
The bed itself may yield opportunities for savvy storage. Storage headboards come ready-made, or you can fashion one from small wooden cubicles by linking them together and mounting them a few inches above head level. Under-the-bed storage is great, since kids tend to shove things under there anyway. A captain's bed with built-in drawers in the base of the bed makes a handsome, integrated solution, but you can also buy separate storage drawers on casters to fit under any bed. Depending on how much clearance you have, lightweight plastic storage totes may be a perfectly good solution. If you have access to carpentry skills, build an alcove bed with a shipshape berth on top and storage drawers below.
Stock kitchen cabinets, two-drawer file cabinets, an artist's tabouret (the small rolling carts with lots of little swing-out trays), and a wealth of other nontraditional units make great casual storage in kids' bedrooms and playrooms. Cabinets in wood have a warm look, but metal ones can work just as well in a modern setting. Use appliance paint or other durable enamel to paint metal pieces to match the walls, or choose a cheery color to fit the decorating scheme. A pair of two-drawer file cabinets with a sturdy board on top makes a simple work surface big enough for kids to share. To hide bulky toys or general mess, cover a round table of any size with a floor-length tablecloth, and stash items underneath when necessary. (Other toys can be stashed on top, but don't use a clothed table for a lamp or anything else breakable, as kids often pull on them.)
If you can shave three to five feet or so from one end of a room, set it off with a sheet-turned-curtain suspended from a ceiling-hung rod and turn it into an extra closet for a clothes-loving teen. For easy-access floor storage that's good looking, too, employ canvas-and-wood hampers, wicker hampers, and woven baskets of all kinds. They are just as practical as plastic bins and work much better with a traditional or rustic decorating scheme. A toy chest can make a fine storage bench for younger children, but make sure it has a safety hinge and the front lock has been removed.
Let's take a look at choosing other types of furniture for your child's room, such as desks and nightstands, on the next page.
Inherent treasure hunters, children covet each new find with enthusiasm and wonder. In children's rooms, however, assorted collections often vie for the same space as socks, books, and shirts. To stretch storage and display space in the bedroom, try these handy suggestions.
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