Decorating for kids is TOUGH. I recently designed a playroom for my girls (AKA The BFF Ladies Club) and it was trickier than I expected! Here’s what I’ve learned about the best ways to involve your kids when decorating.
Here’s the thing. I wasn’t really allowed a ton of leeway when decorating my room as a kid. It was on the first floor so my mom wanted it to “flow” with the rest of the house.
It was a total bummer.
I never had that awesome bedroom with posters plastered all over neon green walls. To be fair, my mom did try to involve us kids in the decorating process, but as soon as she let me know I wouldn’t be getting purple walls stenciled with the names of my favorite bands I lost interest.
Flash forward to decorating a kid’s room with my own daughter. I really, truly wanted her to love the space and put her stamp on it, but it’s a very public room. The first thing you see as you walk upstairs.
There’s so much cool kid decor out there that I figured it was NBD but apparently, kid decor is actually made for adults, not kids…
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What I quickly realized is that Annabelle has grown up a bit and formed strong opinions about what she thinks is cool (or not cool in this case).
What’s a modern mom to do? Well, I showed her how to use Pinterest of course! She LOVED it. After Annabelle made her own playroom boards, she proudly showed me and… uh… they were pretty much on par with purple walls emblazoned with the Def Leppard logo.
Neon lights were a big theme. So were glitter and Fatheads and the latest LOL merchandise.
I really do want her to feel a sense of pride and ownership over her space so I was conflicted. On one hand, I could’ve just let her go to town. The trouble with that is investing in things she won’t even like in a year or heck, next month. And a very open living area of my house looking like a crazy cross between the Target toy aisle and The Jersey Shore? Eep.
After many discussions with Annabelle, I came up with some solid guidelines for involving your kids in decorating their room.
1. HAVE YOUR CHILD MAKE A MOOD BOARD.
This part is fun. They can go old school and cut pictures out of magazines and catalogs or do it the new school way with Pinterest. We went with Pinterest since I didn’t think to do it the analog way until after the fact. Maybe next time.
2. LOOK OVER THE MOOD BOARD TOGETHER.
Have them explain why they picked the things they did. You might assume an image is about the hot pink bean bags when really it’s about that swing in the background. Narrow the board down to their favorite parts.
3. LET YOUR KID CHOOSE ONE KEY PIECE OR DESIGN ELEMENT.
Have your kid choose something that makes an impact but isn’t necessarily pricey. It could be the paint color (I truly believe you can work around almost any paint color), or a funky lamp, or a crazy side table: basically, something that will set the vibe of the room but can be toned down by other elements if necessary.
I let Annabelle choose the rug.
Is this rug my first choice? Nope, probably not even my seventh or fifteenth choice, but she really likes it, it has a lot of colors to work with, and it has a clean graphic pattern. Plus it was only $139 for an 8 x 10 on Black Friday. Win.
4. NOW, LOOK OVER THE MOOD BOARD ON YOUR OWN.
Do you see any patterns? Colors or features that appear over and over again? I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why she had so many terrible 80s underlit beds, until I realized she was chasing images of neon lights and signs.
5. FIGURE OUT HOW TO INCORPORATE THE NOT-SO-BEAUTIFUL DECOR IN NOT-SO-LITERAL WAYS.
OK, so there was no way we were lining the walls in strobe lights and underlit benches, but I could definitely get on board with a neon or twinkle light sign.
If it’s the color scheme that makes your skin crawl, keep everything else super neutral and get a bunch of small decor items in the palette of their dreams.
If they have their heart set on a “Hang in There Baby!” poster…well, I got nothing for you. Hang it in the closet?
MAKE YOUR OWN MOOD BOARD FOR YOUR KID TO APPROVE.
This final step really drives home your child’s feeling of ownership in the decorating process. You’re basically saying, “ok boss, are you signing off on this?” I gave Annabelle two mood boards to choose from, based on the rug she picked out.
So there you have it. A foolproof process to decorating with your kids. What do you think? Any ideas I might have missed?