Yes, having their own space imparts a sense of security in children.
Decking out her new Brooklyn bedroom gave 6-year-old Honor Dimmock a rare opportunity to call the shots, noted her mom Elle Strauss, fashion director of Brides magazine. Ms. Strauss showed opinionated Honor some preselected options, then let her choose. (“I wanted flowers and my bunny family,” said Honor. And apparently a pink castle.) Psychologist and design consultant Sally Augustin approves. Allowing children buy-in imparts a sense of ownership, she said: “We feel more relaxed and comfortable in our own territory.”
And if your kid demands a palette inspired by Spiderman’s spandex?
“[Paint] an accent wall or use decals to bring in color without overcommitting,” suggested Danielle Kurtz, creative director at retailer the Land of Nod. If a child wants what’s shiny and new, you can temper it with an heirloom quilt, advised Los Angeles designer Frances Merrill. Embrace a layered (read: cluttered) aesthetic; that way, scattered toys will look purposeful.
Finally, approach kids’ wishes with an open mind, suggested Northampton, Mass., designer Sally Staub. When her 14-year-old coveted a string of kitschy star-shaped lanterns for her bedroom, Ms. Staub caved. Hung around the bed, “they actually looked sweet. And at some point you’ve just got to let go a bit.”
No, children can be capricious, which can lead to overspending and truly bad décor.
Some parents don’t like to let their little tenants drive the décor, and plenty of interiors pros applaud their stance.
“I see some horrible mistakes because kids are given too much power,” said Los Angeles designer Andrea Putman. “After we installed some beautiful rose-embellished wallpaper in one little girl’s room, she threw a fit and said that actually, she hated the color pink.” The parents allowed her to paint three walls a deep purple color. “The end effect looked disconcerting.”
New York designer Ariel Ashe is also loath to cede too much say to the underage set. Often, their input is a little too whimsical, said Ms. Ashe.
“Creativity is a good thing but can lead to frivolous spending.” She has been favoring black-and-white themes for children’s rooms, which “feels very modern and not too cute.”
While Dr. Augustin cautioned that an overly sophisticated room may never give a child that comforting sense of refuge, she does believe in setting some limits on kids’ design demands. A bedroom first and foremost should foster slumber, she said-a convenient truth that lets design control-freaks nix that eye-searing yellow paint upon which their budding Nate Berkus just set his heart.
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