How to Avoid Living
in a Crayon Box – Decorating a Kid-Friendly Bathroom By Pamela Cole Harris
You have made it! You have
reached the top! You are acquired the ultimate luxury, the very
essence of a parental paradise — your children have a separate
bathroom! But now that they have it, how do you make it a space just
for them without spending their lunch money, college fund and
inheritance? There are inexpensive ways to make their bathroom a place
so cheerful they will want to take a bath and brush their teeth!
Start with a neutral décor.
Neutral doesn’t necessarily mean tan or cream. Blues or soft
greens can be neutrals as well. You want a color that will grow
with your child’s changing interests and styles. Bright,
vibrant colors are wonderful colors, but when covering every
wall of a small space…well, one can tire easily living inside
a crayon box (really!).
Add vibrant color and personality
with accessories, wall and window treatments and easy paint
effects that can be changed quickly and easily. This is a great
chance to let your child use his or her own creativity! However,
if your child wants a bathroom covered with vampires and ghouls
with faucets dripping blood red water, you might want to draw
the line and seek professional help!
Find a bright fabric to match your
chosen theme and make your own shower curtain. It is a simple
matter of hemming the top and bottom and adding grommets to hold
the curtain rings. You can sew pockets made from the fabric
(reinforced with fuseable backing) to the front of the shower
curtain to hold washcloths, combs and the like. Add one or two
grommets to the bottom of the pocket to allow moisture to
Pick one color from the fabric you
chose to use as a wall color (for a vibrant color, paint only
one wall as a feature and leave the other walls neutral or
simply paint the wall trim). Before you paint a wall, however,
live with the color for at least 24 hours. Buy a small can of
the color you choose and paint a large piece of cardboard. Prop
the cardboard against the wall or tape it to the wall so that
you can see the color at various times of the day. What may look
wonderful by morning light may be ghastly under artificial
For a customized look for your
windows, or if you just don’t like the look of conventional
curtains, try cutting out a portion of the fabric around a
featured pattern and using fuseable backing to adhere it to a
roller shade. Or add an edging to the bottom of the shade —
wide rick-rack, a ruffle, tassel edging, pompoms, or a strip of
matching fabric. Give you a hot glue gun and a basket full of
trim and then “Katie, bar the door”!
Give life to the bathroom with
painted knobs or specialty children’s knobs in fun shapes to
match your theme. You can paint the knobs in stripes, flowers,
checkerboards, squiggles, animals and any other shape your child
can think of! If you are handy with power tools, try making
knobs of simple shapes made of scrap wood. Simply prime and let
your child paint!
Remember to put a towel ring at a
height your child can reach. You can personalize towels by
cutting letters from of the fabric you have chosen and applying
them to the towel with an appliqué stitch on your sewing
machine or by using fuseable backing. Just make sure that the
fabric is color-fast!
If you don’t like the tile you
have, dress it up with stencils made from ordinary sponges.
Choose a simple shape and make a template out of paper. Place
the paper over the sponge and cut with a utility knife or
scissors. Clean your tiles with soap and water, then alcohol.
Pour your paint into disposable tin pie plates for ease of clean
up. Press the sponge into the paint, then press the paint-filled
sponge to the wall. Don’t move the sponge around, just lift it
off carefully. Let dry thoroughly and apply a polyurethane
Make certain that bathmats you
chose for the room have a non-skid backing for your child’s
safety. There are many bathmats available now with themes for
To help little ones reach the
sink, steps with a broad, stable base can be painted and
decorated. But remember, if a child can reach the sink to get
his toothbrush, he/she may also be able to reach electric
appliances like hairdryers or storage cabinets filled with
medicines. Keep them behind child-proof locked doors.
Fill a small basket with shampoo,
toothpaste and other personal hygiene items that a child can
easily handle. Decorate the basket in your theme with ribbons,
painted or stenciled animals, or other trims. Again, hot glue
can be a decorator’s friend!
Sound like fun? It is! Making your
child’s bathroom into one you can be proud of is a rewarding
experience! Now…if you can just convince your husband to change
the Early Athlete’s Foot décor of his own shower, your life would