Designing an attractive, organized child’s room is not difficult. This is best done before the child is born, during the natural ‘nesting’ phase that a mother goes through. At this time she will generally have plenty of energy to prepare everything for baby, and she will be meticulous about every detail.
You would need a large crib, changing table and chest of drawers. These can be purchased from baby shops, or made to your specifications by a carpenter, or even hand-me-downs from friends whose babies have grown.
Once you have chosen your colour scheme, look for fitted sheets and covers in those shades, and try to co-ordinate everything in the room with your three major colours. Duvets are easier to clean and trap less dust and fewer allergens than blankets.
Choose a mosquito net in a bright colour to match your chosen scheme. It could be yellow, pink, light blue, light green or lilac crib bumpers, bright, cushioned fabrics normally tied to a crib to prevent baby from bumping his head on the wood, are bright and cheerful additions to a particular decor theme, but they must be tied securely to prevent suffocation.
Babies up to a year do not need pillows, and you should avoid placing soft toys inside the cot itself.
A well-organized changing table is a must, complete with drawers underneath to store everything needed for nappy changes and even baths. Use a space heater to warm up the room at bath-time but remember to always switch it off and store safely when not in use. While in use, follow the safety precautions and avoid placing it near any cloth items or drapery, as these can easily ignite. A cheerful, pretty rug and matching curtains and lampshades are highly appealing and easily bring together the finished look for the baby.
Accessories are vital, and some parents choose to use neatly arranged toys to give the room a fun, attractive look. A mural is a great addition to a room, either on the roof or on one accent wall. Try not to make it too bright, so as not to be overly stimulating when you want the baby to sleep. If a mural is not in your budget, a border, or a simple strip of wallpaper along the wall is a shortcut that looks great and costs nearly nothing.
Childcare experts like Gina Ford advocate darkening the curtains for a small baby room completely to prevent sleep problems for the baby. For this, you would get some curtains lined in heavy black cotton fabric to keep the room completely dark during daytime naps.
For an older child, it is important to design the child’s room to be a fun, stimulating environment so that they look forward to going to their room and entertaining themselves there. You can easily create a setup where there is room to grow, such that the space remains current for several years. With the plethora of skilled craftspeople available in Kenya, there is almost no limit to the creative ideas you can implement. If you have more than one child sharing the room, a great option is to get customized bunk beds or a Double-Decker, in a unique, fun design.
Starting from the age of about two years, a child is ready to move from a crib into her own bed. Make sure the bed is low enough so she can easily climb in and out without assistance, and include a wooden guard rail to prevent her rolling out of bed. Some creative themes for a baby room include a princess’ room, a football enthusiast, cars, different cartoon characters such as Nemo or toy story, or even a locally-applicable theme of your own design.
Have a chest of drawers for additional clothing storage if cupboard space is limited. The top surface can double-up as a space to keep fun children’s books, a dim lamp or night-light, and a few well-placed toys. Although a toy chest may look good, it is advisable to store toys in clear plastic covered containers to keep the room neat and to enable the child to learn to tidy up by easily identifying where each item belongs. Another proudly Kenyan alternative that works well is to use different colored woven baskets of varying sizes to store toys and materials for school.
A small table and chair or study desk and chair are appropriate for all ages, as children love to sit and ‘read’, colour, draw and play with friends, real or imaginary. Have plenty of shelving space for extra toys and books, and at this stage fun, simple blinds can be used instead of curtains. One advantage of these is the ease of cleaning, to prevent the children’s’ room gathering excessive dust. For a baby room, rugs are much more practical than wall-to-wall carpeting in our part of the world, to prevent the accumulation of dust and allergens.
A rug can easily be changed to update the decor of the room; and these are highly affordable and available at most supermarkets. Make sure you childproof your room in accordance with the age of your little one, including purchasing socket covers to prevent accidents, and guard rails for the bed. You can also buy or get a safety gate made to place in front of the open door to prevent a newly mobile toddler from wandering off unsupervised.
With these handy tips in mind, you can create a whimsical baby room for your young one to grow, sleep, and play, while putting the ‘fun’ in functionality.
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