Decorating Ideas for Kids' Rooms That Make 'Cents'

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After ruining several great pictures (yard sale buys, of course) and a salvaged piece of carpeting from another room (it really did look good in its earlier life), I decided recently that my girls' room needed a decorating overhaul.

Since I decorate about as well as I cook, a trip to the library was a necessity, where I thumbed through home magazines and decorating books. There I found lots of great ideas for children's rooms, some expensive, some not. A few decorating tips added a lot of "oomph" for just a little cash. Surprising, little changes can give a room a completely different look.

A few things to remember when decorating your child's room:

*Use basic, neutral colors for the floor and walls. You can change the accessories occasionally as your child grows and his/her favorite color changes.

*Try to decorate in something that will grow with the child. While a baby rattle stencil may look absolutely charming when your child is first born, it will soon grow dated.

*Adhesive wall borders are perfect for children because they can be changed in a matter of minutes.

*Always select washable paint and machine-washable fabrics for a child's room.

*Buy used furniture, when available. Don't worry, after two weeks in a child's room, ALL furniture will look used.

You can often use items already located in your child's room to decorate or use inexpensive items (such as paint) to change the appearance.

*Does your son like baseball? Use part of his baseball cap collection as a valance for the window.

*Develop a decorating theme. Does your daughter have a doll collection? Decorate with dolls. Your son likes cars? Use his cars as the theme for the decoration in his room.

*Use paint to draw clouds or stars on the walls or ceilings. There are stencils available to those of us who are artistically-challenged. Craft paint is inexpensive and can be used to stencil an entire room.

*Make a chalkboard using chalkboard paint or include a large chalkboard or bulletin board somewhere in the room. Kids can write notes or hang papers to give their room a more personal effect.

*Place a shelf around the entire room about 18 inches from the ceiling. It can be used to display stuffed animals or toys that are not used often.

*Hang sports jerseys or shirts in a boy's room as "pictures."

*Most importantly, use your imagination. Let your mind wander and you'll come up with lots of great, inexpensive ways to decorate.
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