3 Easy Decorating Strategies for Boys' Bedrooms
We all want our houses to look as nice as possible, and that includes even the parts where we don't like to go for fear of finding smelly socks tossed on the floor and plates growing moldy fuzz on the dresser. Yes, that's right; I'm talking about your son's bedroom.
Chances are, your son's bedroom is either non-decorated (beige-ish walls and "matching" stained carpet; some torn posters on the walls and mismatched sheets) or is still decorated for a boy a good three or four years younger than your son actually is. (I'm guilty of this myself; my son is now in grade school, but the pale green gingham rocking chair I nursed him in still occupies a prominent place in his room, and his window still sports the matching curtains. Oops!)
The good news is that it doesn't have to be this way! You can decorate your son's room so that it looks attractive (when clean; I can't help you with the moldy pizza remnants) but remains livable for him and reflects his lifestyle and favorite things.
This strategy works best with younger children; a first-grader may be thrilled to show off his Spider-Man bedroom, but five years later the character sheets and matching hamper will be an embarrassment. Thankfully, licensed textiles and furniture for children tend not to be too expensive, and down the road you can choose another direction to go in without wasting too much investment.
This strategy is perhaps the easiest of all, because your color choices and textiles will be governed by your son's interests. The interests of young boys tend to fall into one of several categories:
- Animated TV characters
- Star Wars
You can find licensed character products at any big box store and many places online. For instance, if your son is a huge Star Wars fan, you can buy Star Wars sheets, curtains, pillows, and RoomMates peel-and-stick wall art, all at Walmart. You can even get a wall-mounted lightsaber lamp! You can be done with your shopping in an hour, spend a few hours cleaning and decluttering your son's bedroom, and have his new decor in place by the end of the weekend!
Even if you think the colors your son has chosen don't "go," there may be a way to coordinate them. For instance, if your son's favorite color is light blue, but he also really likes orange, try to incorporate the orange in small splashes of color, such as in the pillow sham on an extra pillow or in a piece of framed artwork.
One of the most obvious and easiest decorating strategies for boys rooms is often overlooked. Simply use your son's favorite color as the unifying theme! Say your son likes blue. Try to pin him down a little more closely: does he like navy blue, royal blue, or sky blue? Does he have a second favorite color that he'd like represented?
Once you two have figured out the colors he likes, ask him how he feels about patterns. Some kids are really particular, and it would be a shame if you spent two weeks looking for the perfect red and blue plaid fabric to use for his curtains, only to find out that he hates plaid and only likes stripes. (Or that any pattern at all makes it hard for him to relax at the end of the day, and he needs soothing solid colors.
If you're buying new furniture, decide on your paint and fabric colors first, but don't buy them yet. That way, you can use the colors you think he wants as a guide to furniture materials (e.g., if he wants light green walls, dark wood furniture would contrast nicely, but with navy walls you'd want light wood or metal furniture to lighten up the space). However, you haven't made a non-returnable investment if he falls in love with a bedroom set that just won't work with the colors he'd chosen. You can go back to the drawing board and adjust your plans without being out of pocket.
Another approach that works well, especially when you're in the market for new furniture, is to try a new design style entirely. Most of us think more about function than style when we put together bedrooms for our kids, but it is possible to do both, and the results can be quite striking.
First, decide what style fits your son's lifestyle. If he's very sporty, chances are he'll be happy with a traditional style (i.e., neutral walls and a traditional wooden bedroom set, with most of the color and interest coming from textiles and art). Hang a couple of framed posters of his favorite team, and use their colors to guide your choice of bedding and curtains.
An artsy child may have very different taste, and want a modern room with clean lines, little clutter, and a designated space for his interests, such as a drafting table. Scandinavian-style furniture would be a good fit for this child, and you can add creative storage solutions to store his art supplies and projects. Your son may have very definite ideas about the use of color, so check with him before deciding to paint his walls gallery white or some shocking bright you think he'll like.
If your son is an aspiring rock star, an industrial look might be right for him. A tubular metal loft bed with space for his guitar or drum kit underneath could be functional and attractive. Locker-style storage completes the industrial vibe, and gives him someplace to hide his dirty clothes. If charcoal-gray walls would be too dark in the space (e.g., if your son's room is small or lacks sunny windows), compromise on a medium blue-gray that will still make the furniture pop but won't make you depressed every time you walk by.
Get it Done
Once your plan is in place, paint first. Give it several days to dry before moving your son's furniture back in, during which time you can replace the carpet if you need to. (If it's not so bad, consider just getting an area rug to hide the worst stains because, let's face it; the new carpet will just get stained again.) Some kids, especially younger children, can be very sensitive to odors from paint and new carpet, so make sure the air is clear before your son moves back in to enjoy his new walls, curtains, bedding, and anything else you freshened up. You'll love the way it looks, and so will he.