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Kids’ Room Renovation Guide

Children’s interior spaces should reflect their personal preferences and need for comfort, fun, and organization.

Kid’s Room Nat Rea

When planning an update on a child’s bedroom, the most important aspect to consider is flexibility. Children’s interior spaces should reflect their personal preferences and need for comfort, fun, and organization. Ease of design modification is key as interests develop and change.

For example, if you’re creating a nursery for a newborn, it’s wise to plan for the day they graduate from the crib and into a toddler bed, which may call for a reorganization of the room.

The same can be said for when a toddler no longer needs diapers and it’s time for their changing table to move out, or when your school-age child is ready for a desk to tackle homework, projects, and studying.

Regardless of the stage your child is in or the type of room you’re working on, here are some useful tips to keep in mind:

Budget and Cost Considerations

When budgeting for a renovation or upgrade it is important to keep an eye on future needs while you map out what you can afford. Be sure to make a list of your non-negotiables, decide on DIY projects that can help you save money, and always allocate funds for unexpected mishaps or additional fixes that may arise—occurrences contractors say happen more often than not.

When it comes to what you need to put inside the room, it’s always wise to invest in the basics, like a good mattress, solid furniture, and effective window treatments and view decorative layers as somewhat temporary and replaceable.

If you choose to work with a contractor, be up front about your budget and work with him or her to figure out what you can afford. Another crucial tip is to always make sure the contractor is fully licensed and insured, and can show proof of insurance. Also, when possible, ask to have the contractor add you to their policy as an “additional insured” entity for the duration of the project. This will help protect your home and your investment down the road, especially if an injury occurs.

Walls, Doors, and Trim

Whether painting, replacing doors, or adding molding, be sure to size up your project before diving in without benefit of a pro, For example, if you’re installing new drywall for the first time, a professional may be well worth the investment, whereas installing a new door and molding can often be done easily on your own. Painting a room is typically one of the easiest and most affordable projects to tackle yourself. However, it’s important to have a smooth, clean canvas to make sure your efforts aren’t wasted. Prepping walls can be as simple as filling in holes, sanding down rough spots, and applying primer over existing paint—to more labor-intensive projects such as removing wallpaper.

Generally, supplies for paint are inexpensive. Plan to buy primer, paint, brushes, rollers, roller covers, trays, painter’s tape, as well as plastic coverings to protect walls and furniture. Depending on ceiling heights, a ladder or step stool will be needed, as well as extend poles, should you need to reach higher-up spots.

Lighting

The right lighting is key to creating a comfortable, soothing environment in any space, but particularly in a child’s bedroom. If you’re planning to install a new lighting system, it is wise to consult with a professional, as electrical wiring can be tricky and dangerous to manage. If you do plan to update overhead lighting, installing a dimmer switch is a brilliant idea as it can help ease the transition from day to night.

Ceiling fans or flush mount lights are often relatively easy for a novice to install. When choosing light bulbs for a child’s room, opt for “soft-white” rather than harsh fluorescent or spiral bulbs. Consider light sources from the child’s perspective; avoid fixtures that look cute to your eye but offer only the glare of an exposed bulb from your child’s lower vantage point.

Windows

Maximizing natural light and fresh air should also be a top consideration. Do windows or screens need to be replaced or added? Whether you keep the existing windows or upgrade them, it’s imperative that you install window guards to prevent injuries. If you do retain the old windows, make sure they are not painted shut; sleeping rooms need to function as a secondary means of escape in the event of a fire.

Dressing the window in a flexible way is key to adjusting light when necessary. There are several options available beyond curtains, such as blinds, light-filtering shades, and shutters. Cordless blinds are a must for any child’s room, to prevent the the child from getting tangled in the cords.

Flooring

Wood flooring has become a standard in most kids’ rooms because of its cleanability. Unlike wall-to-wall carpeting, wood stands up to the test of time, which helps prevent replacement costs from creeping up too soon. Area and accent rugs can add color and pattern to the room and warmth and softness underfoot. They’re a less expensive alternative to wall-to-wall, with the bonus of being easy to replace.

And while wood is typically preferred over laminate for its insulating properties, laminate and mechanically engineered flooring are less expensive choices. Both provide durability and are easy to maintain, important qualities for an active child’s room.

The scope and difficulty of the installation process will vary depending on the flooring you choose. Once you know how laborious the project will be, thoughtfully consider whether to tackle it yourself or call in a pro.

Storage

Kids collect a lot of stuff—from toys and art supplies to books, games, clothes and everything else under the sun. So, it’s important to plan out an organization system. Furniture such as a dresser or armoire can house clothing, while a bed with storage underneath can store linens, blankets, and other items.

A child’s room would be incomplete without a bookcase. Bookcases come in all shapes and sizes, and can be built-in or freestanding, so long as they’re safely secured to the wall. They can be finished decoratively and can be customized to match the room. A bookshelf can also double as easy-access open storage for toys and other frequently used items.

If you’re in need of upgrading closet space, easy-to-install shelving systems have come a long way and are available in kits suited for different spaces. Be sure to have your space’s measurements on hand when shopping for the right system and check to make sure you have all the necessary tools.

Decorative DIY

Once the room is set and you’re ready to personalize it, there are countless DIY projects that you can tackle with little more than basic supplies, like paint, fabric, nails, a hammer and wall hooks.

Kids generally love nooks for playing, reading and sleeping, as enclosed spaces provide a sense of safety and security. You can create a sleeping alcove or cozy reading spot for an older child, such as an indoor tent, by using an old blanket, wood planks, dowels and twine.

Another way to personalize a child’s room is to showcase their artwork in oversized frames with mats. The art can be swapped out as their work develops and their interests change. Inexpensive frames are readily available; they can be painted to match the room’s décor and hung using a level, picture hooks, and a hammer. Wall-mounted picture ledges can create easy, additional shelving, as well.

Tool Kit

Depending upon the project you are tackling you will need to make sure you have the right tools, parts and accessories. However, if you’re new to DIY projects or a new homeowner, the basics will certainly come in handy for many projects and repairs.

A basic toolkit typically includes a power drill, hammer, Phillips head and slotted screwdrivers, adjustable wrenches, pliers, nails, screws, utility blade, level, and a tape measure. If you’ll be taking on woodwork, a circular saw is a good investment as well.