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Ann Architect, Renovation Design GroupAnnie Architect, Renovation Design Group

Renovation Solutions is weekly column on architectural home design by Ann Robinson and Annie Schwemmer, Principal Architects of Renovation Design Group, a Utah architectural firm focusing on home renovation design.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

In child's room, focus on lighting, shelving and the bed

By Ann Robinson and Annie Schwemmer

Summer is winding down, and it is almost time to send those little darlings back to school.

With just days remaining before the first day of school, you might be able to sneak in a mini-remodel on a child's bedroom.

A bedroom can be a fun project that does not have to cost a fortune. It can give you a lift and add value to your home.

As in all remodeling projects, plan ahead — in this case to anticipate future developmental stages your child will go through in the next few years so the room will not be quickly outdated.

Remember, any upgrades should be compatible with your whole house style. Even though your "client" may be a child, don't do something that is so quirky or child-specific that it has no connection to your overall design concept.

The majority of what you do today should move you closer to your remodeling goals, as opposed to creating more work — and costing you more money — when it has to be dismantled in the future.

With that said, function is as important in a bedroom as in any other room. The three most important things to invest in for a child's bedroom are shelving, good lighting and — you guessed it — a bed.

Storage is key to any successful room, and shelving can play a big part in a bedroom. Built-in shelves — and even desk space — are great for children's bedrooms, and they will also be useful in the future if the room morphs into a study or den when the child eventually leaves the family home.

In the meantime, shelving offers a place to display family photos, as well as a child's treasures and/or collections. In addition, having plenty of space for books encourages children to read.

Lighting can have a huge impact on how a space feels and functions. The right lighting and lighting placement can help a child focus on homework, sleep better or add a modern touch in an easily replaceable element.

Adding fun and creative lamps can make a room more trendy and age appropriate without spending a lot of money.

Finally, consider that bed. When you are redoing an older child's bedroom, don't go with a twin bed. This can be a prime example of not thinking ahead, since that little boy who is 4 feet 10 inches now may be 6 feet 3 inches in a few years. Buy at least a full-size bed if the room is big enough to handle it.

Generally, there are three transitions in the life of a child's room: The first is the move from a crib to a big boy/girl bed at age 2 or 3; the next is the changeover from the toddler room to a child's room encompassing ages 6-12; and finally, another redecoration for the teenage years.

With that in mind, it may make sense to spend money on high-quality beds and dressers early on, which can last both functionally and aesthetically throughout these transitions. For this reason, some families move children into full-size or queen beds in the elementary years. It makes sense if your budget and room can handle it.

When you are redesigning your child's bedroom, get your child involved. Decorating a room provides a great opportunity for children to express their personalities and can be a great opportunity for parents to learn more about them.

You should carefully plan their involvement, giving them choices in elements that can be easily changed (such as curtains, bedspreads, paint color, etc.) while more permanent items (such as doors, windows, flooring) may be best for you to choose. Accessories are a great way for a child to express their personality because they are relatively inexpensive.

Give your child assignments, both to save money and to get them invested in their space.

Teens can paint their room themselves or repaint light fixtures. Ask children to create artwork for the walls or to find items that go with the theme to create other handmade décor.

Getting children involved will make them feel ownership to their new space. That way they may even be more likely to keep it clean!

One of the side benefits of remodeling is that is forces you to sort through everything in the room before you begin. It is amazing what just a little de-cluttering and reorganizing can do for the flow and function of a room. Good luck! We are certain you will join with us in warmly welcoming back the school year! As always, we welcome your home architect design questions at

© 2010 Renovation Design Group. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Renovation Design Group.

If you are considering a remodel project, please Request a Free Consultation with Ann or Annie.

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