Including children in interior design projects can be an exciting and rewarding experience for the whole family. Not only does it allow kids to flex their creative muscles, but it also makes them feel valued and gives them a sense of ownership over the new space. When designed well, spaces personalized by children can capture their personalities and foster independent play and learning.
In this article, we will explore 8 great ways to involve kids in interior design. With some thoughtful planning and effort, you can create a family-friendly home that both children and parents will adore.
Gather Input and Ideas from the Kids
The first step is to simply ask the kids what they want! Have an open discussion to learn about how they envision the new space. You’ll likely uncover lots of valuable nuggets of information that will help guide the design.
Here are some tips for gaining useful input:
- Ask open-ended questions that allow them to share their thoughts freely. “What do you want your room to feel like?” “What colors do you like best?”
- Give them example photos or swatches to react to. Seeing visuals can help them articulate preferences.
- Listen for keywords and themes that capture their style or interests. For example, “cozy,” “outdoors,” or “science.”
- Have them make a wish list of dream items they’d love to include.
- Remember that you may need to ask probing questions if they struggle to express a vision.
- Keep a running list of all their ideas and refer back throughout the process.
Getting children’s perspectives sets the stage for a design they’ll truly enjoy. While their suggestions may need gentle guidance, incorporating their preferences will boost their enthusiasm now and years into the future.
Create a Collaborative Mood Board
After the initial discussions, have the kids make a mood board collaging images, fabrics, colors, and anything else inspiring their vision. A hands-on mood board is an excellent way for them to conceptualize ideas and gives you concrete visual references to reflect their tastes.
Make it a fun collaborative process:
- Gather magazines, catalogs, coloring books and printouts tailored to their interests to browse through.
- Encourage them to seek out and cut or tear out whatever catches their eye, from patterns to photos.
- Let them write notes about why they chose each item.
- Categorize elements into color schemes, styles, textures or themes.
- Glue or tape their selections onto a large poster board or wall in a creative composition.
- Add your own selections alongside theirs.
Having this tactile, visual representation gives the kids agency in the design. You can easily refer to it later when making choices on paint colors, fabrics, wall art and decor. It brings their vision to life!
Make DIY Decor Together
Chances are you’ll find many opportunities to involve kids of all ages in crafting unique DIY decor elements for the space together. Not only will they have fun creating them, but seeing their handmade pieces in the final design will make it that much more special.
Projects can range from simple to complex. For example:
- Make displayed framed art using their drawings, collages or paintings.
- Print and frame cherished photos they choose.
- Produce wall art from painted canvases, wood, or patterned papers.
- Help them set up personalized gallery walls showcasing their creations.
- Craft lamps, light fixtures or lampshades they design or decorate.
- Make throw pillows or cushions from fabric and trim they pick.
- Assemble a personalized headboard, bookcases, toy boxes or other furniture elements.
- Create wall accents like monogram letters, maps or bulletin boards.
- Decorate mirrors, wastebaskets or organizers.
DIY projects allow you to infuse spaces with bespoke details. Display their special handiwork proudly.
Select Furniture Together
Furniture choices go a long way in shaping the aesthetics and function of kids’ spaces. It also represents a significant investment. Involve them in the process to ensure pieces both appeal to their taste and meet their needs.
- Review options online and in stores together. Shortlist favorites.
- Weigh priorities like comfort, size, versatility and style.
- Have them “try out” items in the store by sitting, opening doors and assessing fit.
- Before larger purchases, get free samples of fabrics to feel and compare at home.
- For a big statement piece like a bed or desk, give choices between 2-3 you’ve pre-vetted.
- Compromise on finishes; let them pick colors while you can guide structure.
- Set a budget for accessories they can pick themselves.
Giving children reasonable autonomy over furniture fosters responsibility and pride. While supervising overall function, letting them customize pieces makes the room truly theirs.
Design a Theme
Kids tend to latch onto themes that capture their passions, from outer space to ballet. Designing a room around a central motif can help pull together an energetic, engaging environment.
Work with your child to develop a theme and make it shine:
- Look to the mood board for clues about their interests that could translate to a theme.
- Research ideas like decor, wall murals, bedding and accessories to bring the concept to life.
- Incorporate the theme into lighting, rugs, storage and other features.
- Use wall decals, posters and artwork representing the topic.
- Display favorite toys, collections or books relevant to the theme.
- Add personalized touches like monogrammed pillows or storage bins.
- Let them arrange meaningful mementos and treasured keepsakes.
- Keep the room flexible to allow the theme to evolve over time.
Leveraging a unifying theme that resonates with kids is an impactful way to create a space they’ll absolutely adore.
Plan Clever Storage Solutions Together
Children’s spaces should include smart storage to keep clutter contained and promote organization. Take time to evaluate how your child prefers to store belongings and think through what will work best.
Strategize efficient, useful options together:
- Assess needs for toy storage, clothes, books, projects, craft supplies, electronics, collections, and activity gear.
- Determine optimal spots to place storage furnishings like cabinets, shelving, bins, closets and drawers.
- Add fun labeling and bins so they can easily categorize and access contents.
- Incorporate personalized hooks, lockers or cubbies for backpacks, coats and frequently used items.
- For hobbies like instruments and sports, carefully plan adequate storage.
- Opt for furniture with both open and closed storage as needed.
- Add rolling storage to take supplies or projects out and put away again with ease.
- Use mounting strips, racks, over-door hangers and baskets for extra storage.
By tackling organization together, you’ll design savvy solutions that reduce daily frustrations and keep their room tidy.
There are endless quick, affordable ways to uniquely personalize a child’s space to highlight their identity. Enabling them to customize the decor to represent themselves fosters a sense of ownership.
Here are some fun personalization ideas:
- Frame special certificates, awards and art to highlight achievements.
- Display favorite keepsakes, souvenirs or collections on shelves.
- Add decals with their name or initials to walls, furniture and storage.
- Hang a bulletin board for mementos like photos with friends.
- Choose bedding and pillows printed with patterns or images they love.
- Let them design wall murals with their name graffiti-style for a cool accent wall.
- Include a personalized time capsule or memory box.
- Add hooks or cubbies labeled with their name.
- Select lamps, mirrors and accessories in their favorite colors.
Seeing their names, photos and special items throughout the design will make the space distinctly theirs.
Add Some Active Elements
Children have lots of energy, so adding interactive design elements can provide fun ways to expend it! With your supervision, incorporate engaging features to keep them entertained right in their rooms.
Some active additions to consider include:
- A mini climbing wall.
- An indoor swing, slide, or ball pit.
- Floor mats and cushions for tumbling.
- Space for indoor hopscotch or other floor games.
- A small indoor tent for reading.
- Chalkboard or dry erase walls for drawing.
- A desk designed for standing or cycling.
- Puzzles, board games or activity tables.
- A screen for indoor movies and movement.
These ideas promote activity, learning through play and greater enjoyment of their private space.
Showcase Their Creativity
A wonderful way to validate children is to proudly display their abundant creativity throughout the room’s design. Filling the space with their imaginative output surrounds them with recognition of their skills and interests.
Here are some other ideas for showcasing your kids’ handiwork:
- Frame their constantly changing artwork and rotate canvases to keep it fresh.
- Start a “gallery corner” covered with their visual creations.
- Hang unique mobiles, wind chimes or sculptures they design.
- Display visual maps, stories or poetry they write.
- Let them arrange book collections and treasures on shelves.
- Add a bulletin board to pin up cards, photos, awards and mementos.
- Change out seasonal creations and holiday decor.
- Dedicate a special shelf or table to showcase latest projects.
Watching their ideas and abilities shine will give children pride and motivation to keep creating.
Frequently Asked Questions
How old should kids be before they can help design?
Kids as young as toddlers can participate in simple ways like choosing colors and accessories. Around ages 6-10, they can take on more responsibility in the process. Tweens and teens will want greater say in the overall aesthetic and function of their private spaces.
Should I give my child full creative control?
It’s wise to provide some structure, guidance and final say over major purchases, safety and durability. But granting reasonable creative license helps children feel empowered. Set expectations upfront about your roles.
What if we disagree on the design?
Compromise respectfully to align on elements you both feel good about. Have them articulate their viewpoint and listen actively in return. Look for creative solutions and meet halfway. They’ll accept some decisions better if they have input in others.
How can I affordably involve kids on a budget?
Focus DIY projects on low-cost supplies. Prioritize inexpensive accessories, art and fabrics before pricier furnishings. Buy versatile furniture they can use long-term. Add personalization through photos, decals and displays over costly renovations.
How do I balance function and my child’s vision?
Evaluate must-have functional needs like storage, lighting and workspace early on. Address those decisively in the overall plan, then allow lots of cosmetic flexibility for your child’s vision. Guide gently if suggestions affect durability or safety.
What if their interests change quickly?
Expect and embrace your child’s changing perspective! Make the core design accommodating to evolution. Use inexpensive updates like bedding, posters and accent pieces to refresh the room as needed. Create flexible displays and galleries that can rotate.
Should I wait until the room is done to involve them?
No, include them from the very start! Planning together is key in creating a space tailored to them. But wait until the major construction is complete for their hands-on contributions. Finer details can evolve over time.
Including children in interior design cultivates their creativity and self-expression. The whole family benefits from the rewarding experience of working together to shape a personalized, functional space.
With the tips above, you can successfully plan and execute a kid-friendly design that reflects their budding identities and passions. By granting reasonable creative license, you enable them to have ownership over crafting their own living environment.
The delight children will feel seeing their ideas and talents reflected in the finished design will make the effort well worthwhile. So don’t hesitate to involve the kids. Embrace their input, collaborate on planning, and put their personal stamp on the project. Doing so results in spaces tailored to nurture their growth and interests for years to come.