If it’s time to turn your baby’s nursery into a domain fit for a big boy or girl, you may be wondering how to redo the room in a style they’re sure to love— and that won’t cost you a bundle. After all, there’s a good chance you’ll be doing it all over again in a few years when their tastes change again.
The secret to redoing a child’s room successfully and cost effectively is pretty much the same secret designers use to redo adult rooms on the cheap—paint, accessories, smart design touches and an understanding of what the room’s occupants already love. Parents poised to plunge into kids’ room renovations, have an extra advantage that adult room designers don’t have—the love all kids seem to share for certain cartoon characters.
From Woody, Buzz and all their “Toy Story 3” friends to classic “Disney Princess” characters, some characters seem to universally speak to children. Walking through your local department, discount or home improvement store can make you feel like you’re suffering from cartoon character overload, but all that merchandising can actually make your room redesign task fairly simple. It’s easy to find plenty of accessories—and even paint hues—that feature your child’s favorite animated characters.
You can cost-effectively create an homage to your child’s favorite characters by focusing on three key areas of the room:
Walls—Paint is one of the easiest design elements to change, and painting a room is well within the capabilities of most do-it-yourselfers. And by the time they’re able to voice their opinion about their room, most kids know what colors they like—and don’t like—so you can engage your child in the redesign process by letting him or her make some color choices.
Another way to choose a room color is to identify a favorite piece of artwork and draw color inspiration from it. Consider placing a Disney wall mural on one wall of your child’s room and painting the other three walls with colors found in the mural scene. You can find wall murals that feature characters from such Disney favorites as “Toy Story 3,” “Cars,” “Winnie the Pooh” and “Disney Princess” at www.muralsyourway.com. The murals can be customized for size and to include your child’s name, photo or any image. And, they’re reusable, so if one child outgrows the look, you can easily remove the mural and reuse it in another child’s room later on.
Fabrics—You’ve probably seen bed sets that feature popular cartoon characters, and a comforter festooned with your daughter’s favorite princess is sure to please her. But don’t overlook other fabrics in the room that could help you complete the room’s look at little cost.
Drapes in a color that complements the bed linens can make the room pop. For example, if your daughter adores her Tinker Bell bed sheets, look for curtains (a light sheer will be feminine and allow in lots of light) in a light green that matches the character’s dress. If your son is a big Buzz Lightyear fan, consider curtains that have an outer space theme.
Next, look down. If your home has hardwoods in the bedrooms, an accent rug can underscore the room’s theme and provide a warm spot for cold feet on winter mornings. Or, if you have wall-to-wall carpeting, an area rug can help protect carpet from wear and tear.
Accessories—Just as the right accessories can turn a so-so outfit into a winner, accessories in a room can add the finishing touch. You’ll have no trouble finding a plethora of cartoon character-themed items, from SpongeBob alarm clocks to Scooby Doo night lights.
Be sure to look for items that are useful as well as decorative. For example, accent pillows look great on the bed and can do double-duty as comfy cushions when kids sit on the floor to read or play.
As with any design effort, moderation and balance will be essential when using a cartoon character theme to redesign a child’s room. But with some creativity and smart shopping, it’s possible to design a room your child will love for a long time.