How to Design Children's Rooms

Choosing Color Schemes for Children's Rooms

Not too long ago, a little girl's room was predictably pink and preferably ruffled; her brother's was blue or some combination of suitably masculine colors, such as blue and red. For patterns, girls had florals, boys had geometrics, and never the twain could meet.

How to Design Children's Rooms
Pink, orange, yellow, and purple make a hot combo that appeals
to girls of all ages. For a boy, bright red could replace the pink,
and the good vibrations stay the same. Manufacturer: PJ Kids.

Today, it's another story. Girls are as likely as boys to enjoy blue plaids, and while American boys are still more socially constrained in their choices, a jungle-theme room for boys could include exotic blooms as well as carnivores. Led by innovative European designers and inspired both by nature and the many cultures around the world, children's products, from toys to school supplies to furnishings, are available in a great range of brilliant colors. You can expect to find exotic orange, purple, yellow, and green as prominent as traditional red and blue. In such a fun-loving rainbow of hues, even the occasional tropical pink or light purple can make a unisex appearance -- very useful when you're creating shared rooms.

Of course, many boys and girls do prefer traditional color schemes and visual themes, and it's easier than ever to indulge them with today's great products. The important thing is that your child's room reflect his or her own personal preferences -- not some stereotypical "correct" look. You may have a budding Michelangelo or Marie Curie on your hands, and you'll want his or her room to nurture that authentic spirit as much as possible. There will be time enough to deal with the standardization that comes from peer pressure in the preteen and teen years.

If you're not sure where your young child's interests will lie or you want to ensure that a decorating scheme will appeal to girls and boys of all ages, you can't go wrong with a nature-inspired scheme. From preschoolers to preteens and even beyond, kids feel an affinity with the natural world and enjoy anything related to it. Dogs, horses, and jungle creatures are especially popular with both sexes. Farms and forests also yield flexible motifs that can grow along with your child.

Designing a child's room does take some careful planning, but if you take the time to make the right selections, you're sure to create a space both you and your children will love.

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Mary Wynn Ryan is the author of numerous interior design books, including The Ultimate Kitchen, The Ultimate Bath, Cottage Style, Fresh Country Style, and Garden Style. She has written about home furnishings and interior design for various magazines and served as Midwest editor of Design Times magazine.

Heidi Tyline King is an accomplished writer and editor. She has written extensively about America's arts, culture, history, nature-based attractions, and decorating projects, including All About Paint and Wallpaper, Beautiful Wedding Crafts, Pelican Guide to the Florida Panhandle, The Unofficial Guide to the Southeast with Kids, and others.