I have a treat for you today! My friend Barbara from YES Spaces is here to share on a topic I haven’t covered before: choosing the right colours for kids’ rooms. Barbara took my Specify Colour with Confidence course several weeks ago, she also has five kids of her own, and along with her passion for designing rooms for kids she’s also been working on a very cool project called 52 weeks for less than $52 this year on her YouTube channel.
Here’s her guest post:
When you’re painting your child’s room, where do you start?
If you’re like most parents, you’ll start at your local paint store, right in front of that colourful wall of possibilities. Buried in a sea of samples, you may find yourself looking for any expert guidance you can get about what colours are right for children.
Those bright and saturated just-for-kids colour palettes are a popular solution for many families, but they are not at all as foolproof as you might think. Selecting blindly from them without understanding how they work is a really good way to end up unhappy with your child’s room.
DON’T USE KID COLOURS IN KIDS’ ROOMS
Paint colours designed for children’s rooms are often very heavily saturated. They are bright and vivid to attract young eyes, which is exactly what makes them completely inappropriate for bedrooms. Why? Three reasons:
1) They don’t play nicely together.
Many parents will good-naturedly allow their kids to pick any combination of favourite colours from the available children’s samples. When too many vivid colors are combined in a room (“Julia just loves hot pink and neon yellow!”), the resulting visual chaos is overwhelming for everyone. Children and adults both need a little variation in intensity and hue so that the eyes have places to rest.
Take a look at the two examples below. Bright, rich colours work well as accents, or in combination with lighter, less powerful hues. Notice how the brighter colours look like intentional features, and how you can easily look away from them to find calm.
2) They encourage activity.
Once you introduce a saturated colour into your child’s room, you’ll find it difficult to create a restful colour scheme. Strong colours will tempt your sleep-fighting toddler to get out of bed and play, especially if she sees those same colours on the walls at daycare, in school, or during extracurricular activities.
Bold colours are active colours. Bright red, as in the room below, demands attention, which is why we use it on stop signs. Bold hues are are also used in toys and on cartoon characters to draw and keep children’s attention.
3) They are agitating.
Colours have a psychological effect on us, whether we know it or not, and the more saturated a colour is, the more its effect is magnified. Yellow, for example, is a “happy-making” colour, and it’s a great choice for learning spaces because it can actually boost memory retention. Taken to the extreme, however, very bright yellow can start to cause anxiety and even aggressive behaviour. (This isn’t pseudoscience, by the way; numerous scientific studies and papers back up the psychological effect of colours.) Just look around you to see how well colours are used to shape how you feel!
So, if you can’t rely on the widely available kids’ colours, where can you turn? It’s time to tap into your inner colour expert.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD COLOUR PALETTE FOR KIDS’ ROOMS
Start decorating your child’s room just like you would any other space in your house. The colours in the space should relate to something else in your home. You can use brighter, more fun versions of the colours as accents in your child’s room, but make sure they tie into your overall colour scheme.
Then look for your inspiration piece. Maybe you found some bedding you love, or maybe you have a piece of art that has family history. Maybe it’s just a great inspiration image from Pinterest. It doesn’t matter where you draw your inspiration; just find something that appeals to you and works with the rest of your home’s décor.
If you are decorating an older child’s room, be sure you include him in this planning phase. Never surprise a child with a new room if you have not discussed what he wants. Your child’s bedroom is his sanctuary in your home; it is the one place where he has control over his environment, so don’t take that away from him. At the other end of the spectrum, don’t let him pick any colour he wants! There is always a way to take his input and put it into a well-designed room. Even crazy sports team colors can be balanced with neutrals. You can make it work!
Once you have your inspiration, follow the 123 Formula for a Perfect Room:
Children’s rooms should be appealing, and they should be inviting for your child. They can be fun, but they have to meet the most important function of the space first, which is to provide a place for your child to retreat to and and rest.
Allow your child a little room in your design to personalize his own space. This could be a cork board area over a desk, an entire chalkboard wall, or white board shapes for messages from friends. Be creative by including something that allows him to take some ownership of his room.
If you have children sharing a bedroom, providing space for retreat and ownership is even more important. You have to work with your children to create distinct and separate parts of the room that they each control. The different parts of the room should reflect the children’s individual personalities and create some sense of privacy.
Thanks again, Barbara! To find out more about kids’ spaces, visit Barbara at YES Spaces.
If you would like to transform the way you see colour, become a True Colour Expert.