Imaginative Hideaways: Creating Affordable Childhood Themed Spaces

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Creating unique and personal spaces for your children doesn’t have to break the bank. By carefully incorporating themed concepts that will grow with your children into adolescence, you can inspire their imaginations and showcase your own creative solutions. Here we help you set the scene to inspire your children by incorporating affordable solutions to achieve your chosen themes.

Boys’ Rooms—Age 7 to 10

Recreation/Sports Theme: Boys and their toys—footballs, baseballs, basketballs and golf balls. Has there ever been a boy who didn’t cling to a ball?

By creating a theme from one of his favorite toys—a ball—a young boy’s room can become a haven for imaginative play. Create hours of memories by using his favorite game to inspire the theme. Baseball bats, golf clubs, ski poles or fishing poles could easily become distinctly unique drapery rods with a few supporting hooks. Items such as skateboards or tennis rackets can transform into shelving when paired with sturdy brackets secured on a wall. Even a snow ski or skateboard paired with a light kit beckons to become a chandelier when multiple lights are suspended from it. Sports trophies can also double as table lamps when paired with a lamp kit. Wall-mounted baskets can create organization for the mass of balls lying around and enlarging a favorite little league photo or professional stadium picture taken during a family vacation can merge practical with sentimental.

Transportation Theme: Planes, trains and automobiles are among the coolest things for a little boy to play with. As a young boy collects toys, his interests begin to transition, yet wheels, chrome and speed remain. To transition from a juvenile room into a more adolescent room, get away from bright plastic toys in primary colors to more real-life examples incorporated throughout his bedroom, such as old license plates and metal traffic signs hung as artwork. An antique bicycle secured on a wall creates a bold statement in your young man’s room, and a spare tire or chrome hubcap turned on its side easily becomes a nightstand or coffee table when a round piece of glass is placed on top.

Girls’ Rooms—Age 7 to 10

Vintage Theme: Modern girls like vintage décor. Creating a vintage-themed room for a young girl is an affordable way to transition her from childhood into adolescence. By ushering in items from the past into her bedroom, it teaches her about history and opens up the door to DIY hand-me-downs and items from thrift stores and yard sales. For example, an old wooden headboard painted a fresh hue and paired with a stenciled monogram of her initials will update and personalize her bedroom set. Alternatively, an antique mantel or wooden door turned sideways can become a unique one-of-a-kind headboard. When stacked, old suitcases transform into distinct nightstands and create additional storage for a myriad of needs.

Since the vintage-themed girl is all about the rare and creative, consider painting slats from an outcast pallet with a scripture verse or favorite phrase, alongside vintage plates hung on the wall in an asymmetrical pattern. Finish the space with a potted plant to teach her responsibility and gardening skills she can carry forth for years to come.

Glam Girl Theme: Textured details and geometric prints can merge a young girl’s personality into her room, creating a modern space for her imagination to soar, and cheerful bright colors infuse a modern take on the pastel of yesteryear’s girl. Fortunately, modern décor for a young child can transition with them into their teenage years if it remains neutral enough for their changing aesthetic. Rugs, chairs and small sofas are wise investment pieces that will grow with her alongside a desk that will transition from a craft table to a homework station and, finally, into a make-up vanity. Wood furniture brightly painted in a high gloss enamel alongside clear acrylic nightstands or chairs can create a youthful ambiance for any young girl. Neutral finishes used with pops of bright colors and accessories allow the modern girl to inject her personality without becoming stuck on a theme she will quickly outgrow. For example, pillows paired with neutral linens, such as a washable matelassé coverlet, is an economical way to incorporate personality, but gives your young girl freedom to change as often as her mood. Framing bold geometric wallpaper or scrapbooking paper achieves a bold statement inexpensively without the commitment. Complete the room with whimsical accessories by hanging her jewelry, purses or hats directly on the wall as living artwork and finish it off with a magical touch by handcrafting her very own chandelier from a lamp kit.

Gender Neutral or Shared Rooms:

When a brother and sister have to share a bedroom, decorating around their divided interests can be a challenge. Creating a theme around their shared interests, however, can help to bridge the gap and make the space gender neutral. A few impartial ideas that transcend gender include: a nature/scenic theme, a travel theme or a music theme. With a few well-chosen accessories, both children can be satisfied.

Provide access to a workspace for homework and crafts that also serves as an imagination station where your little ones can dream up new ideas and play together. Well-placed bulletin or magnetic boards designated for each child allow them each to personalize their own spaces and hang artwork, crafts or photographs of their choosing.

An accent wall painted with chalkboard paint also inspires their imaginations and gives room to create.

Storage ottomans double as extra seating and ladders can serve as rustic bookshelves. Framed sheet music to a favorite song, pages carefully torn from a children’s book, your children’s art and maps of a favorite vacation destination or bucket list place become unique artwork when framed. Photographs printed on canvas convey the idea of youthful posters in a modern way. Black and white photographs of family and scenery are also timeless and welcome a classic, gender-neutral theme for any child.

Heather is mother to a cute one-year-old boy and the owner of Becoming Designs; she is passionate about helping families create inviting spaces that foster genuine relationships.


By Heather J. Cravens

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