Tonawanda News

September 22, 2013

DESIGNS BY DANA: Use easily changed accents to decorate kids' rooms

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Question: Our 9-year-old daughter has outgrown the pastel, kitten-themed design of her bedroom and we’ve decided to start the project of re-doing it. We’d like to come up with a plan that lasts through her teenage years if possible and hope you have some suggestions. Right now her favorite color is purple and the only furniture that will stay is white.

Answer: Designing a child’s room can be a lot of fun, but I always recommend approaching it with a little restraint and caution. We all like to see our children happy and we want their rooms to be a space that reflects their personality — a place they enjoy and can call their own. 

As a child grows so do their likes and dislikes. At age 4 your daughter loved little pink kittens; now, at age 9, everything she owns is purple. Who knows what age 11 could bring and by the teen years a large percent of kids want their rooms all black.

When creating a space for a child I try to design it with things that will grow along with them. I limit items with themes and specific colors to those that can be changed out simply and inexpensively. I wouldn’t, for example, start painting all her furniture in purple passion hoping she loves it until the day she moves out. I would, however, go ahead with the bedding that she gets excited about because of its purple polka dots, which can easily be changed in the future.

Try to avoid themed wall coverings and borders in any room due to their cost and the job entailed to remove them. Have fun with paint colors knowing that they can be changed fairly easily. There are products available that stick to the walls with a sticky note-type adhesive backing; they come off as simply as they go on. 

There are many styles of borders to choose from as well as different shapes and forms. Think about randomly placing your child’s favorite colored shapes on the walls or even apply them to the room’s ceiling.

I rarely suggest installing a carpet in a child’s bedroom that is any color other than a neutral; it’s too big of an investment to have to change in two years because they no longer like lavender. I actually prefer to see a hard surface in a kids room, such as hardwood, a good laminate, vinyl tiles or vinyl planks. So maybe you don’t allow food in your kids rooms, but inevitably things get in there and get spilled. These types of flooring are pretty tough and clean up well. 

Add an inexpensive area rug for color, pattern, softness and sound absorption and you need to only change that when the day comes for a new look.

I find treating the windows with a cordless shade or blind in a neutral tone works well in children’s rooms. Choose something that’s room darkening; by the time your child is a teenager they will want to sleep in on Saturday mornings. Add a simple valance or fabric panels over the blinds for softness and color if you so desire. Again, this is something that can easily be changed out when the time comes.

I believe adequate storage is at the top of the importance list when it comes to any child’s room, no matter what their age. I love to use flexible modular pieces that can serve to hold stuffed animals, toys and books for the little ones and later transform to house TV, video games, and computers. 

I go crazy with placing hooks wherever I can in kids rooms. It’s pretty rare to find any aged child that’ll hang up their clothes on a regular basis but for some reason, putting them on a hook doesn’t seem to be a problem. Hooks are great for purses, backpacks, belts, jewelry and so many things. You can never have enough of them.

Dana Longfritz is the owner of Interiors by Dana. You can e-mail your design questions to her at or contact her at M. Carter Decor 434-2159.