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The Vines at Riverpark Apartments in Oxnard, CA
The Vines at Riverpark Apartments in Oxnard, CA

Whether your child is making the move from nursery to a big boy/girl room or you just want to redecorate their current room, think outside the pastel pink or pastel blue box. Your child’s bedroom needs to be a place where he or she can learn and grow into a preteen – or possibly even into a teenager, depending on how often you want to redecorate.  Here’s how to decorate a child’s bedroom without losing your mind.

No Cartoon Characters or Themes

Children’s attention spans are ridiculously short, which means even though they’re into Dora the Explorer or Thomas the Train today, they might not be in a few months. They’ll beg you to paint their room turquoise and get the Dora the Explorer comforter set, but instead, compromise and get the sheets instead, which you can hide under a more neutral comforter or replace later with more grown-up looking linens. Or select one themed decorative item, such as a throw pillow or lamp shade, that your child can see in his or her room every day.

Go Lighter Than the Bright Version

Kids love bright colors, such as dark purple, bright orange and neon green, but those colors just aren’t practical for a room where a child will be studying and sleeping. Help your child tone down the wall color of their dreams by going for a muted or more light-colored version of the one they choose, such as terra cotta instead of orange, sage instead of neon green or lavender instead of loud purple.

Read more: How to Baby-Proof Your Apartment

Turn Whimsy into Sophistication

Repurpose nursery pieces into décor that grows with your child. For example, replace the pink, blue or green storage basket liners from the nursery with white or taupe linen ones that will go with any décor – and can now hold costume jewelry, socks and accessories. If you’ve painted a mural on the wall and can’t bear to paint over it, see if you can hang a similarly colored shelf over a horizontal line on the mural, such as a tree branch, and place more adult-like knick-knacks or family pictures on it. Alternately, pair an ultra-glamorous comforter, such as a bold-colored toile, damask or paisley, in hues that match the mural, and put the bed on the same wall as the mural. Remove the ottoman from the glider to make it seem like a regular chair, and turn that corner into a reading nook your child can enjoy.

Read more: Make Room for Baby: Prepare Your Small Apartment for a Little One

Think Neutral – Mostly

If you don’t want to paint your child’s dresser or desk every year, choose furniture in neutral colors, in white or a nice wood stain that complements the rest of the décor in your house. Put color on the walls, but in a pleasing, relaxing hue that will later encourage your child to relax when they need time out, whether you put them in it or they need to think things through on their own. Select neutral-colored bedding, linens and lampshades in complementary taupe, cream, pale yellow or tan. Stay away from white bedding for now, as kids will probably not be able to keep it clean. Then choose one bold hue – such as cobalt, bright pink or Kelly green – and purchase throw pillows, curtains and accent pieces in that color. Except for the curtains, which you may want to buy neutral, the bold items will be easy and inexpensive to replace as your child grows up.

Go Kid-Sized

It’s okay to purchase a few kid-sized pieces that you can pass down to your next child. These will assure your child that his space is his own and will possibly encourage him to use his imagination and play on his own at times. Suggestions include a kid-sized chair covered in a monogrammed slipcover with a reading lamp beside it, a small table and chairs where she can color or a chalkboard or dry-erase board that they can draw or write on.

Read more: How to Create a Kids Playroom

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