Tuesday Tips: Tackling a Child's Bedroom

A child's bedroom can either be a cluttered mess of toys, books and stuffed animals or a fun, easy-to-clean-up oasis for kids and even their parents from time to time. I'm guessing most parents would just settle for something in between the two. So I tapped Wendy A. Jordan, a Washingtonian who has written several design books, including "New Kidspace Idea Book," for tips on how to liven up the place where junior sleeps:

Tip #1: As you get ready to plan the design of your child's bedroom, keep in mind that kids grow and change. You want the room to be able to grow and change with them, Jordan says. Make the design easy to update if the child outgrows it in a year or suddenly doesn't like her princess-themed room anymore.

Tip #2: Involve the child in the design process but find ways to compromise on room color and theme. If the child says his favorite colors are purple and orange, paint the room a neutral color with purple and orange accents in the bed's comforter and other accessories.

Tip #3: The old days of a bed and desk are long gone, Jordan says. Be creative with how the space is used, including using a large closet for a play area, making window seats with storage underneath, having bunk beds for fun sleepovers.

Tip #4: If siblings are sharing a room, find a creative way to give each of them privacy, such as a sheer curtain dividing the room.

Tip #5: Storage is key in a child's room, but it has to be age appropriate. Small kids need storage bins and shelves they can reach, making it easier for them to put things away. Older kids will want shelves to display collections, trophies and awards or other things.

Tip #6: You don't have to spend a ton of money to freshen up a child's room. Changing a comforter and curtains can change the look of a room. Jordan also suggests buying some cheap frames and using them to display some of your child's artwork. Consider using different knobs on cabinets and drawers. "There are some wonderful, whimsical knobs," she says. "Changing those will freshen up the whole room without having changed much at all."

Tip #7: You don't have to spend a fortune on children's furniture to make the room look good. Shell out the money for one nice piece such as the bed. Other elements of the room can be found at discount such stores that have imitated many of the items found at higher end stores -- but for half the price. "Even consider Goodwill and yard sales, where people may be getting rid of furniture that their children have outgrown," Jordan says. "As long as it's sturdy and safe and nontoxic, go for it."

So have you recently re-done your child's bedroom? Please share your tips for tackling this room.

If you are looking for suggestions on other rooms, I've been slowly making my way through the house, offering tips on how to freshen up the bathroom, the kitchen, the attic and the basement.

Here are this week's back-to-school deals for under $1:

Staples: Free two-pocket folder, two-subject notebooks with 70 pages for 5 cents, composition notebooks with 100 pages for 25 cents and graphing notebooks with 100 sheets for 50 cents.

Office Depot: Slider pencil boxes, pencil sharpener and 12-inch wood rulers for 1 cent each, pack of 16 crayons and two-pocket folders for 5 cents each, pack of 10 ballpoint pens for 25 cents, two-pack of kids scissors for 79 cents, and four-pocket folders and five pack of mechanical pens for 99 cents each.

InkStop: 4-ounce glue, 12-pack of pencils and one-subject notebook for 10 cents each, zippered pencil pouches for 49 cents, composition book for 69 cents, stretchable book covers and portfolios for 79 cents each.

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By Tania Anderson |  August 5, 2008; 3:00 AM ET Home Improvement , Kid Stuff , Tuesday Tips
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