The Big Kid Dream Room!

by Jennifer Kirkpatrick

If you're reading this, chances are Junior has been begging you to get rid of the Winnie the Pooh characters gracing every square inch of his room. Redecorating can be a daunting -- and expensive -- task but it doesn't have to be! You can enlist your child's help and ideas for creating a personalized space all their own and not break the bank in the process.

Before you get started, get rid of all the remnants of babyhood. I know, I know, you won't want to throw out a thing, but wipe the tears, grab a Rubbermaid tub, and toss it all in! Remember: This is a new phase, not the end of anything, so approach it with joy and fun and a clean slate.

Gallery Wall

The idea is to have a space to display art -- a blast for any kid to have. You can go about this in a few different ways, so pick whichever way (or combine them) works for your home. You will create an ever-changing wall of fun and art on places such as an entire wall, part of a wall, or on a closet door. If you choose to use a wall line it with small shelves bought from a craft store (usually around $5 each, unfinished). Spray paint the shelves in a rainbow of colors and fill them with art supplies.

  • Chalkboard paint: This is paint that mimics a chalkboard once painted on the wall. This is a permanent option until you paint over it.
  • Peel & stick chalkboard or dry erase board: There are adhesive options that peel and stick (Google "wallies"). They come in sections and can be cut to fit. Remember that they are adhesive, so can damage the wall underneath when removed. They make these in shapes as well, such as clouds or animals, so it would be really fun to place them in various points around the room.
  • Magnet boards: You can buy magnet boards and place fun magnets to display art, schoolwork, or notes. You can also affix a large piece of tin or light metal to achieve the same affect.
  • Corkboard: There are different types of corkboard but the easiest is to buy it framed at a local office supply store. You can also buy rolls of corkboard that can be adhered to the wall -- very permanent and can be tough to remove, but very cool once in place!

Create a "Showcase" with the corkboard or magnetic board to showcase the current art piece(s). Use wooden letters above to spell out "Kayleigh's Art" or "Graham's Gallery."

Personalize the Space

Go to your local craft store and buy some wooden letters. You can spell your child's name or whatever they would like as the theme. For example, if you want to create a themed room you can buy blocks that spell out "Art" and have an art section, "Sleep" for over the bed, "Clothes" or "Dressing Room" for the closet. Buy some acrylic paints and paint them with your child. (Hint: Acrylic will wash off hands but not out of clothes, but is the best to use for wood.)

Create a personalized quilt or blanket. You can buy fun blocks of fabric and create them together using paint, sewing, markers or finger paints. This will create a keepsake for the child -- or for the parent! Once you have enough blocks decorated they can be sewn together to create a great wall hanging, too. This does require some sewing skills -- glue and a stapler won't work!

Buy some inexpensive white or solid-colored throw pillows. Buy some fun stencils and stencil paint and personalize them with your child's name (make sure it's fabric paint). Use the same stencils and paint and personalize lamp shades or curtain swags.

Have your child create some original art pieces and frame them to be placed around the room. You can also create one of your own to give to your child to hang along side.

Use polymer clay and together create door and drawer pulls for the room. This is a more adventurous option, but you should be able to find a kit or How-To book at the craft store.

You can use any of the above suggestions and put your own spin on it. Get creative! Browse websites for ideas and realize that there’s not much you can buy that you can't create yourself. Throughout this task remember to have fun! Let your child help with all of the stages of decoration and listen to what they want to have at the end. Your child will feel invested in the space and proud of her accomplishments once it's all complete, and you will get some really great quality time together and a big kid room where everyone can feel proud.

Jennifer Kirkpatrick is a mom turned entrepreneur who creates and sells unique items for kids of all ages. Visit her online store Pipsqueak Boutique for great gifts for boys and gifts for girls. And check out her new clothing line, Define*Me Clothing for fun personalized kids clothes.

Copyright © Jennifer Kirkpatrick. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.