According to Amy Rutherford, owner of Red Barn Mercantile, "Our kids can move from loving Star Wars to skateboarding in the blink of an eye, so it's wise to keep the paint on the walls neutral. That's not to say neutral has to be boring. Gray is the 'in' color right now and is a sophisticated neutral, as is navy blue. Both translate well from one theme to another."
Rutherford cautions against using themed window treatments and suggests opting for the following alternatives instead, "A roman shade on one window, in a fun pattern, is a nice statement. Even consider solid panels with a bold ribbon trim that can be easily replaced as the child grows."
According to Lakshmi Bhargave, cofounder of Roomations.com, furniture made for kids tends to look too cutesy. She suggests buying adult furniture and accessorizing it with throw pillows and bedding in kid-friendly colors. "Also, younger kids love to see their name on things. Try sewing their initials onto pillow covers," she adds.
Bhargave explains that themes are less overwhelming when referenced in moderation. "As a general rule, don't have the theme in more than three places in the room," she says. "For example, if a boy picks cars and trucks as a theme, you can make a 'road' using chalkboard paint in one block on the wall of the room. The chalkboard paint makes it functional to write messages and also looks classy."
For princess-themed rooms, Bhargave suggests implementing all white furniture and walls, lace bedding, and just a few splashes of pink.
Bhargave's third tip is what she believes is the key to achieving a sophisticated looking kid's room, "Make sure there is a spot for all of your child's toys. Target has some great blocked storage shelves for which you can get different colored baskets—it's a great way to get your color theme incorporated and make sure everything has its place."
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