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Room for Growth

Accommodating a growing family may only take a little rethinking of the space you already have. Try out these paint, fabric, and wallpaper ideas to make any room kid-friendly.

Curl up with a good book on a comfy window seat.

An addition to the family doesn't have to mean an addition to the house. You can turn a spare room into a nursery or a playroom by splashing on fresh colors and patterns and using these ideas:

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A diamond design helps unify patterns.
  • Fresh fabrics. Liven up the window seat by tossing patterned pillows in similar colors onto the cushion's star-studded print. Reupholster child-scale furniture in prints, dots, and stripes to complement the harlequin print of the cabinet doors.
  • Diamond dress-up. Make the doors of the wall cabinets a star feature with a painted harlequin diamond pattern. To create the look, measure the length and width of your surface and divide each figure by 3: These figures are the length and width of each diamond. Draw the diamond shape on poster board; cut out. Fold the diamond pattern in half crosswise. On each surface, trace half-length diamonds for the first row (shown in yellow on large doors). Then trace rows of full-length diamonds, folding the pattern in half lengthwise to begin and end alternate rows, as shown. Trace half-length diamonds for the last row. Hand-paint with yellow, salmon, and periwinkle, using a small brush to outline each diamond and a wider brush to fill in the shapes.
  • Space-saving storage. Instead of freestanding shelves, use built-in cabinets to enclose clutter.

Here's how a former guest bedroom became a bright nursery.

Introduce different patterns for a mix-and-match motif.
  • Mix-and-match fabrics. Multiple fabrics create new appeal and enliven old furniture. A whimsical moon-and-stars pattern carries from the draperies to the table to the skirts of the crib, chair, and ottoman. The basic white crib gets color and dimension from the bedding. The rug introduces another pattern.
  • Dressy draperies. Add your own touch by sewing small embellishments to the bottom hem of window valances. Try bracelet charms, silk flowers, or a string of beads for other fun drapery accents.
  • Stimulating color. Deep, rich tones make a room adaptable. You can subdue those darker hues with bright, cheery wallpaper.
Paint a dresser for an inexpensive, eye-catching update.
  • Easy-change style. When it comes to a child's room, adaptability is key. Can a chest of drawers convert to a changing table? It can be repainted as time passes for an inexpensive style update. Here's how: If your dresser is old, sand off the finish. To save a little money, paint it with an inexpensive primer before using colored paint. That way you'll need less of the more expensive paint to cover the wood. Paint the dresser body with a color that flatters the room. The base paint is a good opportunity to bring out certain colors from fabrics, artwork, and accessories in the room. Choose a different motif for each dresser drawer. Try using stamps or stencils to create your pattern. Scraps of wallpaper also make good decoration.

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