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Janette Ewen : Design a creative kids room

Design maven Janette Ewan imagines cozy spaces for kids to learn and grow

Children need a space of their own to learn, play and let their imaginations soar. A playroom or creative space with defined activity zones is a great way to encourage creativity and learning. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune and you don’t need a lot of room. I’ve put together a list of tips that will help you put together a wonderful space that grows with your child and their needs.

Colour me calm

Decorate your kid’s creative space with neutral, calming and soft colors – try soft blue or green. With so many toys and accessories you’ll need to bring calmness in where ever you can. Paint should always be semi-gloss (it’s easy to clean with a magic erase). Try painting one wall with chalkboard paint! For older kids change the look of the room with the addition of wallpaper: all washable of course.

Easy peasy flooring

Vinyl is great and easy to clean, as are some hard woods. Always bring in a super soft carpet made from natural fibres so the kids can comfortably sprawl on the floor. Avoid shag though - it’s hard to clean!

Space for work and play

Create distinct spaces that meet the child’s many needs. These spaces should include the following: craft/art space, learning/homework space, play/toy space, display space and a reading space.

  • Craft spaces for little ones should always include an area for drawing and painting standing up, a small table and chairs and plenty of accessible supplies
  • For younger children include an "imagination station” for dressing up and playing make believe. Tickle trunks can go here as well as a puppet theater.
  • Creative spaces can become more mature as kids grow. Cater them to whatever your child’s specific hobbies are (sewing, fashion, guitar).

  • Store the stuff

    Storage for the little ones should be low to the ground and easily accessible. Clearly mark the boxes so the kids know what goes in them and can help with clean up! Clear bins work well as do colorful cardboard boxes with labels. As kids grow, storage can move upwards: bring in taller book cases and filing cabinets to store homework. Teach your children a filing system to keep homework assignments organized. Post a large calendar so kids are aware of their schedule and can look at an overall month view. Have two types of storage systems, one for play, one for fun stuff like crafts and art supplies.

    Cozy furniture

    Play furnishings should be lightweight and easily moved. Heavier furniture, sofa and desks, should be sturdy and solid. Shop for furniture that grows with your child and is ergonomically designed to prevent headaches, back pain and poor posture. Most children use laptops and move around the room when working so an ergonomic laptop stands or tray is a must. Look for desks and tables that have adjustable legs and height and well-designed chairs. Consider a larger desk (where two children can sit) or two desks face-to-face. With so many collaborative projects kids will need a place to work with project partners