Inexpensive, imaginative ways to dress up children’s bedrooms


valley dispatch correspondent

So you want to redo your kid’s bedroom and you do not know where to start. All you can see is dollar signs and a space they are going to outgrow in a matter of months.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Decorating your child’s room can be a wonderful way to have fun together. I will show you, step by step, how to create a space that you both can live with and that can grow with your child as he or she gets older.

The first step is to determine your budget. Think about how much you want to pay, in total, for the changes in the room. Remember that hiring a painter or a contractor should be included in this figure. Share this figure with your child.

Of course she is going to think she won the lottery at first, but as the project moves on, she will learn some valuable lessons in making decisions and prioritizing her wants. This will also save you a lot of headaches and arguments about the purchases as the project progresses.

The next step is to find some good, basic elements that will be the foundation for the room. You should invest in good quality furniture that will remain in your child’s room indefinitely. Furniture that is not overly decorated, ornate, or trendy is a good choice. Choosing pieces that have clean lines will allow you to make bolder choices with colors and patterns later without having the room look busy or overdone.

Remember that children need a lot of storage. You want to make sure that you have enough places to store toys, clothes, books and other kid items to avoid having a cluttered room. Think about choosing simple lamps as well. Lamps in glass, metal and wood are great. These can be spiced up with whimsical and brightly colored shades.

Also, consider buying a down or synthetic down comforter as opposed to a bedspread. A comforter can be covered inexpensively with different duvets, and will save you the cost of buying a new bedspread every time you want to change the look in your child’s room. Duvets in denim, khaki, and other basic solids can be brightened up with splashy pillows and shams in different colors and textures.

Now comes the creative part. Go bold with the walls. Paint is a great way to bring in some color and is easier to change later than wallpaper. Go for daring colors, stripes or other patterns. Do not be afraid to paint the ceiling either; it can really add some drama. You can also add a chair rail and paint something different above and below it. Chalkboard paint can be a fun way to do something different. Really get your child involved in this part of the process; she will have some great ideas and will love to see them put into action.

The last step is accessorizing. Look for floor cushions or bean-bag chairs in bright colors. Frame art that your child has created and hang it on the walls. You can also buy stretched canvas and create your own art by either painting it or wrapping fabric pieces around it. Corkboards and dry erase boards are good choices for tweens and teens.

What are your design dilemmas? I would love to answer your questions and focus on topics that you want to hear about in upcoming articles. Just e-mail me at the address below with your questions and suggestions.

Julie Chrissis is a professional home stager and interior decorator based in Nashua and Malden, Mass. She can reached at