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!

  1. 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!).
  2. 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!
  3. 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 evaporate.
  4. 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 light. 
  5. 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”!
  6. 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! 
  7. 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! 
  8. 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 finish. 
  9. 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 children. 
  10. 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.
  11. 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 be perfect!

Pamela Cole Harris is a mother, a writer and an editor with 35 years experience. Visit http://www.all-homeandgarden.com for more articles by Pamela and additional articles on creating a kid-friendly home. You can email her at: uwresource@all-homeandgarden.com.

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