HGTV.com's "Kid-Sized Design" host Dan Vickery, 28, got his start as a contestant on the network's "Design Star" reality show, where he showed an affinity for decorating for children (Vickery showed his prowess when he created a sophisticated beach nursery for the son of actor Jason Priestley).
Vickery recommends taking the long-view when planning a child's room. "If you spend too much time or money on one particular theme or one color, kids will grow out of it. If you make sure the big pieces work, then they'll work in the future. Pillows, rugs, paint color, etc. are easy to change out and update."
And he says be mindful of room décor that kids can personalize. It's very important to kids to be able to customize or make their own mark on their rooms. "They'll be more interested in a dry erase board or a cheap pinboard that they can change or play with" rather than a piece of great art on the wall made by someone else, he adds.
One trend in children's rooms that Vickery is seeing is less kid-sized furniture. Increasingly, parents are buying pieces for the future, that the child will be able to use for a long time. He says part of that is due to the recent economic downturn.
"People want to buy smart investments. They want to buy things they know they're going to use for a long time. I think it's also a little eco-responsibility. Why buy a piece of furniture you're only going to use for two years and end up throwing away? There's a lot of waste, not just in the production and manufacturing but in the shipping."
Here are more tips from Vickery:
1. To help your kids stay organized, keep things at their height. Closet storage, benches and coat racks will all be used more often if kids can get to them easily.
2. Try creating a continuous art center by using wainscoting in a room and painting the wall below with chalkboard paint. You can get chalkboard paint in the color of your choice. Simply paint up to a chair rail or install your own and paint below.
3. Most craft and hobby stores sell an additive to paint that allows it to glow in the dark. Try painting stars and a moon on your child's ceiling or a cityscape around the edge of the room. This will get them excited about turning out the lights at night.
4. Removable wall transfers are becoming increasingly affordable and the range of patterns and styles grows every day. Call them temporary wall tattoos and let your kid have fun decorating their room in a way you know you won't have to fix later.
5. Kids are collectors, so make collecting easy. Pictures and postcards don't always have to be stuck to a corkboard. Try hanging them from strings in front of a window or clipping them to a string along the wall to create an interactive border in a room.
6. All kids want display space. Galvanized metal is fairly inexpensive and can be purchased in sheets at most home improvement stores. Just mount on the wall and you have an instant magnetic board.
7. Check your local art and crafts store for peel-and-stick cork. You can cut out any shape, simply peel off the backing and attach to any wall for fun pinup space.
8. Rather than a traditional growth chart, put a border around the room. Each month you can use non-toxic, water-based paint to put the child's handprint in the border. Watch them grow together.
9. Be sure to include multiple kinds of lighting in a kid's room. Overall lighting is a necessity but so is a reading light. It may even help them find the bathroom in the middle of the night.
10. If you are painting a dresser or other furniture you know the child will grow out of be sure to let them help. The child could also put their signature on it with personal handprints or fingerprints for a polka-dot design.