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5 Small Improvements With Big Impact in Your Child’s Bedroom

by Carlene Duffy
Posted: November 17, 2015

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A child’s bedrooms is my favourite space to decorate. This is where your creativity should show no bounds and it is the room that should demonstrate, at least, a little whimsy.

I say, conceptualise like a child and execute like an adult. Utilise colour where you may be otherwise cautious to, be experimental, be playful, and get busy with these five, simple makeover tips.

1. Declutter and cull, and group

The first point of call before any room makeover is to get organised. We all know that moving house is the ideal opportunity to part with items you no longer use or love. The same applies to when you are updating or making over a space. Pull out everything from every drawer and dig deep into the back of closets. Now is the time to revaluate what you really need and want to keep. Children really don’t need that much so if they don’t play with it, they don’t wear it, or if it doesn’t hold true sentimental value, let it go. Once you have culled sufficiently, group items into their relevant categories and store accordingly. You will find it so much easier to keep the space tidy without all the unnecessary clutter and you will ultimately have a better looking, more functional space.

2. Refurbish and repurpose the furniture

The good news is that it is generally considerably less expensive to refurbish your current furniture than to replace it. It might be as simple as painting a daggy, pine tallboy a striking, canary yellow or navy blue or lolley pink.

In our daughter’s bedroom recently, we painted the drawer fronts of an Ikea dresser that we’ve had for years. We also replaced the dresser’s generic handles with some quirky, pink-painted, pine wall hooks. The cost and effort was minimal but the result was fresh and modern and impactful. Similarly, if you are challenged with a pedestrian, chocolate brown, timber bedframe, paint it black or white or your child’s favourite colour.

Instead of purchasing a child-specific table and chair set for colouring and craft activities, we repurposed a used, rustic teak coffee table and leather Moroccan poufs act as seats. These are also items I can rework in the rest of the home if and when I want to. Instead of purchasing a standard bedside table I picked up a unique-looking, teak, side table from a vintage store that I can, again, use anywhere in my home when I want to mix things up.

3. Add shelves

This may sound stupidly simple but in general, children’s bedrooms are not equipped with enough flat surface area to display all the trophies, school craft creations, and Lego constructions that we parents have no choice but to display. I often see in people’s homes the poor ole dresser or itty bitty bedside tables trying to accommodate too much ‘stuff’ and the result is a haphazard, cluttered mess. Shelves can cost next to nothing to buy and if you are handy you can make them yourself. The more shelving you have, the more opportunity you have to style your pieces with deliberation. Art shelves too are an ideal means of displaying the kids’ books. It not only creates neat and effective storage but the colourful, illustrated book covers make for high-impact wall treatment, which can be considerably more affordable than purchasing art.

4. Dress the windows

When I say dress the windows, obviously you need to do this in accordance with your light and privacy requirements and of course, within your budget but it is really important to consider the overall look. Whether your aim is for your window treatment to blend in with the walls or you wish to make a statement with them, the process needs to be well thought out. Do you want a blockout, roller blind with linen, s-bend sheers in front? Do you want plantation shutters for a classical or coastal look? Roman blinds? Horizontal timber blinds? Maybe you want a heavy, majestic, puddling curtain? What you choose is subject to the style of the room but my point is they should never be purely just functional. They are a major feature of the room so should appear in harmony with the room from an aesthetic viewpoint.

5. Lay a rug

I do place a great deal of emphasis on rugs but it is because they are so transformative and so effective at creating warmth and softness in any space. Don’t buy children-specific rugs, you know the ones that are nauseatingly bright and decorated with with Winnie The Pooh characters. This rug can’t grow with the child and can never be used elsewhere in the home. They are frankly, just unnecessary and tacky.

Although nearly every other type of rug works in a child’s rooms, I particularly love cowhides in these spaces more than in any other room in the home. They are indestructible, which is particularly important in a child’s bedroom and because they are so flat, they can be easily walked over without worrying about tripping. Cowhides are also particularly effective at creating a slightly edgier, cooler look, which can be helpful when the room is starting to appear a bit frilly or frou frou, which is certainly a risk in kids’ spaces. The asymmetrical shape of cowhides also provides the flexibility to lay the rug in a good variety of ways that other rugs don’t allow. Because hides have, in recent years, grown in popularity, the range of colours and features available means you can choose from hot pink, to printed Zebra stripes, to metallic gold or silver. Here again, it is as simple as laying a rug on the floor but the result can be room transforming.

The moral of the story is, updating your children’s rooms doesn’t have to be about clearing out and starting again. I am a firm believer in having a vision and working with what you have, where you can, in order to achieve your desired effect. While these tips are simple, they are most certainly effective.


Carlene Duffy

Carlene is best known as one half of Michael and Carlene Duffy; the down to earth Gold Coast couple who shared their highs and lows with Australia on 9’s series The Block ‘Glasshouse’. The dynamic duo also featured in Renovation Rumble, and have together established their business ‘Cedar & Suede’.

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