As parents, you get to have the say when it comes to decorating a nursery. Pick something that is meaningful to you, and then extend it to your child. Family photos, including siblings, grandparents, aunts, and cousins, create a personal display. Frame pages from a favorite storybook from your childhood. Or, stick to time-honored baby items, such as rattles and booties, which look adorable when featured in shadowboxes. After all the time you spent picking the perfect name, put it prominently on the wall using vinyl decals, signage letters, or painted stencils.
When kids are able to indicate preferences for toys, characters, and activities, it's time to involve them in the decor of their room. Look for clues in their daily life and translate it to the walls. Does your toddler love blowing soap bubbles? You could create 3-D bubbles by cutting foam spheres in half and hanging them on the wall. If they are crazy for a specific cartoon or book character, hang movie posters or frame book pages. Does your toddler enjoy dancing to music? Look for wood cutouts or stick-on decals of music notes. If you wish to incorporate an educational component, introduce letters and numbers in the wall art. Or, hang manipulatives, such as wood rings, spinning block sets, or interlocking plastic gears. Even wood peg puzzles can look artful and still be fun to play with when they are mounted on a vertical surface.
It won't be long before your child will shrug off anything that seems babyish -- and that includes his or her room. Most kids can accurately articulate what they like and don't like by the time they are in school. And this is a period when activities, such as sports, dance, or crafts, become important components in their decor. If your child still can't predict when his or her passion for soccer might wane, feature favorite activities in a way that is quick-and-easy to change, such as posters and vinyl decals. Basic wall-mount shelves, peg racks, or shadowboxes also let them trade out elements and collections on a whim.
The best kind of wall decor for a teenager is something he or she gets to pick out. Anything mom or dad advocates probably won't make the cut. You can be strategic in your suggestions, however. Think of a long list of things you can live with—school banners, swim team photos, shelves of trophies, band posters—and offer them all, then let your teen choose. Many kids at this age are eager to emulate adult styles, so let them experiment. Curtain panels are not just for windows; they also can be used as wall coverings and canopies. For sophisticated artwork, visit museum stores, poster websites, and import stores. And, for all the stuff your child collects, install shelves, display brackets, closet systems, or even kitchen organizing systems on the wall. Cover a large bulletin board with fabric and you have a canvas for photos, mementos, and other items.