Simple Ways to Create an Attractive Room for a Visiting Child
The Dilemma: How to Adapt a Guest Bedroom for a Child
My granddaughter will be coming to visit us with her parents and for the first time she will be sleeping in a separate room. We don't have enough space to have a dedicated children's room so I wanted to be able to use bright and cheerful accessories to make her room special without making it into a bedroom suitable only for children.
My self-inflicted rules were that the room must stay as it is: no redecorating or any expensive refurbishment. The room isn't large so I couldn't add extra furniture, nor do we have enough storage space to swap items of furniture in and out. Besides, children's furniture is outgrown very rapidly. However, for decoration and storage/furniture ideas, see the great video at the end for easy and adaptable solutions.
The same goes for children's bedlinen. It is soon outgrown and while it may get good use from your own children, visiting grandchildren really don't use it often enough to warrant that sort of expense.
So, plain bedlinen, plain walls, were my starting point. Now to make it attractive to a child. I tried, by the way, to keep most of it suitable also for boys, should any make an appearance.
With hindsight and the arrival of a grandson, I had only limited success on that score.
I needed to think of ways to give the room child appeal but still keeping suitable for any adults who might come to visit us. My first step was to look through online catalogues and decorating sites for ideas - and became totally overwhelmed. There is so much to take in and none seemed to be coming from the same direction as I was.
I decided to take one step at a time.
Now, although it is overwhelming, I do think it's worth looking at the catalogues and interior decorating sites because it does give you an idea of the amazing amount there is available, and it shows why you might be well advised to go through this process methodically, as I did.
The collage of images was compiled from Flickr
Throws or Blankets
A good way to make a bright splash of colour in an otherwise fairly plain room is to cover the bed with a throw or quilt. Even here there is an overwhelming choice but in the end I decided to go for a bright but inexpensive fleece blanket.
It is the PT Fleece Rug Mediterranean Flower Patchwork from Amazon.
It is exactly the cheerful sort of design I was hoping to find, and has been well reviewed by previous buyers. Even though it's called a rug, it would be better described as a blanket. It is large enough to cover the top of a double bed.
The dimensions weren't mentioned in the description. I learnt rapidly that it's important to read the description and reviews carefully.
Examples of Other Throws from Amazon
There are almost unlimited choices for you, some more suitable for boys, some more for girls. Fortunately there are a number that could be considered "unisex" for those who have both boys and girls coming to stay, or, if you feel so inclined you can buy relatively inexpensive items and swap them in and out as appropriate.
On To a Few Extras
I found this cushion cover on Amazon UK and think it's wonderful, with the added extra of being a favourite animal of the moment. No doubt that will change, but for now it's a relatively inexpensive way of adding to the fun of the room. I can always change the cover for adult occupation.
In fact Amazon UK does a series of these covers, from The Animal House. I would dearly love to have them all but by this time costs were mounting.
Cushions for Kids
If you're handy with a needle, you can make covers that any child would like, with bright colours and simple images.
Now For the Walls
By this time that the bed was pretty well covered (excuse the pun) so I turned my attention to the walls.
While the walls themselves had to stay the same, I saw no reason why I couldn't use stickers to decorate them, or hang pictures. Stickers these days have moved on from what they were when my sons were young. Nowadays they are removable, re-positionable and don't seem to mark the walls.
My own choice from Amazon UK:
I'm just hoping they will be nicely visible on the yellow walls that you can see to the right.
Updated to add that they showed up very well and peeled off readily - as my granddaughter found out fairly soon. She had great fun re-positioning them to her own satisfaction. To my surprise and delight, they stood up to this treatment very well. They were an excellent choice because they provided some entertainment as well as decoration.
As far as I can see all of these are removable without any damage to the walls. There is an enormous choice and they are all relatively inexpensive. It is a fantastic way of (temporarily) decorating a room for a child.
I would probably choose butterflies or something similar because they can be positioned anywhere. Trees are slightly more limiting though I know my granddaughter would have no qualms over a tree lying down for a nap.
Updated two years later: I now have a grandson too, and will probably purchase an alternative set for his visits. Animals might be more unisex.
...or Pictures, or Posters
I chose not to have pictures because they do need to be attached to the wall more permanently, but that may not necessarily be a problem for you. Alternatively, swap the children's themed art for more grown up versions as appropriate.
How about this as an idea? Let the child/ren make hand-prints based on the picture above. It's extremely decorative, looks fantastic, and great fun to do. You could possibly keep adding to it as the child grows up - an alternative to a height chart!
A few little gifts, nothing enormous, should make the room complete. Most children seem to like to discover bits and pieces inside a bag so I started with a Little Miss Sunshine Tote Bag. Inside I put a Little Miss Sunshine Purse and a book to match: Little Miss Sunshine (Little Miss Classic Library). These are all in yellow which I thought would match the room though in reality they were much brighter and possibly I could have made a better choice with something contrasting.
But there are all sorts of other small "sets" available, all sorts of bags with an infinite number of possible fillers, almost like stocking fillers.
(I can hear you sighing with relief)
...a few activities in case the weather is poor. I always loved helping my mother baking when I was little so I decided on an apron set and a cooking set. All I need now are some simple recipes for us to follow, but that's a whole other story.
OK, boys probably wouldn't go for pink but they definitely do enjoy baking.
I'd love to hear of any other ways I could improve the child appeal of our guest bedroom. I'm only a beginner grandmother so I'm sure there are people with far more experience than I have.