In common with other parents, I decorated and lovingly prepared my son's bedroom before his arrival. However he didn't arrive as a new born he arrived aged 3 and a half. H came into our lives and hearts a bewildered beautiful boy with flushed red cheeks.
We had been told what H liked- Noddy and Thomas the Tank Engine being Top of his Pops. Just prior to H's arrival we shopped, decorated and fantasised about family life. In hindsight we had NO idea what we were doing, knew very little about children and were completely unprepared. However, we did have a stylish child's bedroom and a playroom crammed with stuff. To our surprise H spent no time in his bedroom other than to sleep.
When H was 6 we moved to a house with a massive garden and tiny bedrooms. I hated the size of the bedrooms, H loved them. His tiny room made him feel safe and snug and he started to spend a lot of time in it. He had 5 large shelves WITH NOTHING ON THEM. In his last room, everything 'matched'. A beautiful rug covered a wooden floor, a signed edition of a Winnie the Pooh sketch hung on the wall. In his new room I hung up his Winnie Print. H asked me to take it down.
I was totally focused on how H's room looked to me and not how it felt and looked to him. I remembered a full size clown I had painted on a door in my bedroom age 10. By 13 I thought it awful but at 10 I talked to it before I went to sleep.
H's room to me was an utter mess. Whilst we planned it's decoration I gave H free reign to put up pictures and posters. Sensing my resolved weakening he pushed for more- could he display his fossils, and feather collection? Could he cram an old arm chair under the window? I said yes to it all as soon we were going to 'do' his room.
Shortly after he'd 'pimped' his room, as much as a 6 year old with a controlling mother can, his ceiling collapsed due to a leaking water tank. H was bereft and I finally accepted his need to control the look and feel of his room. Within two weeks we had his room decorated, with the walls painted sky blue as requested. It is full of shelves and there's stuff everywhere, it was truly his space and it looks great. This is the picture H took to represent his room! Not what I'd have done but it's his space and I gave him the choice..
H now loves his room, he alters it when he has guests, he hides and moves a few things but that's his right as it's his space, his den and it's just how he wants it. He regularly moves the furniture, more than once I've had to double take as his bed is on the other side of the room..
For H his room is a reflection of him, it helps with his sense of identity. H once said- 'look into my bedroom and you look into my heart'- A bit theatrical (he's a keen actor) but the sentiment is spot on.
So this is what I've learnt about making a space right for kids.
- Talk to them. Ask them what they like in their current room and what they don't. You might be surprised with what they come out with.
- Consider what they're going to do in their space. Does it need a desk or a reading corner? What do they think it needs?
- Plan it! How much are you going to spend, what are you keeping? What can you improve and what are you going to ditch? Don't forget how attached some kids get to things. If their tatty baby blanket is really important to them keep it.
- Look at the needs of your child. Do they any special needs that you need to take into consideration? Some children are very sensitive to sound and textures. If you child is very sensitive to this sound you might want to place the bed away from walls and doors that vibrate.
- Remember lighting. What sort of lighting do you need? Ambiance (night lights) or reading light or both?
- Include some space where the child can display and change things about. Shelves, blank walls, or noticeboards etc.
- Finally get ready to compromise, their needs come first, your desire for 'Scandi chic' look comes second.
Roll forwards 6 years and an adopted sister later and I launched My Own Den, an online shop selling cool ethical things for kid's bedrooms. H was my motivation. If you're interested in more from me and more of our story, check out my blog here.. I also spend far too much time on Facebook so come and say hi!
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