From Baby Nursery to Big Kid’s Room

New parents rarely predict just how difficult it will be when their baby is ready to graduate from nursery to big kid’s room. Right when you begin to realize that the changing table has become all but obsolete, you’ll probably also notice that the crib is looking awfully small . . . and maybe your little boy is beginning to outgrow his sponge-painted bunnies on the walls.

Re-decorating and re-doing your child’s bedroom to reflect his or her growing personality will be a regular activity as your infant becomes a toddler, your toddler becomes a kid, you kid a teen – and so on. That first transition is usually the most difficult: everything in your baby’s room is sentimental. And you like those sponge-painted bunnies. That’s why you painted them there in the first place. Don’t worry too much. You don’t have to throw away everything and start from scratch.  A fresh coat of paint and some smart re-purposing can go miles in your baby’s room.

Re-Purpose the Furniture

Yes, I said “re-purpose,” not “buy totally new.” One of the best parts of baby furniture is that, if it is fairly high quality, it can be adapted for more grown-up uses. Dismantle your infant’s crib and use one of the short sides as a headboard for a new twin-size mattress. Or, try removing one of the long sides, freshen up the rest with a bright coat of paint, pile on some fluffy pillows and blankets, and poof: a comfy little sofa for your child’s bedroom or play room. Similarly, I’ve seen crafty and inspired parents load up changing tables with big baskets to store stuffed animals and toys, and one handy wiz even created an incredible four-story doll house out of her ordinary changing table.

Paint the Walls a Timeless Color

Try to think back to when you wanted to update from buttery yellow walls to something with real pizzazz. Soft pastels

and frou-frou wall paper scream “baby.” Some children will keep the same décor from tot to teen, but there are lots of others who will want to change it up every two years. Save yourself the hassle of a full-on room renovation by selecting a rich, timeless color that doesn’t necessarily coordinate with a certain age (this, I understand, is much easier said than done). If you can’t pick the perfect hue, try going neutral and punching up the color and eye-candy with gorgeous prints in big frames that can be easily replaced as your kids grow up. And trust me: avoid wall paper, at whatever cost.

Include One Just-For-Kids Feature

Get creative and include one really amazing feature that is designed just for kids and will make your child’s room sleep-over heaven. It doesn’t have to be super expensive or even that intricate: paint one wall with chalkboard paint your kids can take wall decorations into their own hands. How about a giant bulletin-board so your kids can hang up their own pieces of art? As your kids personalities grow, their rooms will need to grow with them. Enjoy every stage and have some fun with decorations – you’ll see, each creation will be better than the last!

Emma T. is a interior design expert who outfits her apartment with down bedding from Pacific Coast Feather Company, a manufacturer and online retailer of down comforters and hotel bedding. She rearranges and redecorates her Seattle apartment on a regular basis.

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