Answers to Kids' Room Design Questions

Q. How can I make a black wall look attractive? I am in the planning stages of painting our children's room. My son would like one of his walls painted black. Of course it will be one of the smallest walls (closet wall). I need some ideas, or some good convincing because I am not down with the gothic look.

A. One black wall will not be bad at all. Let black be the accent color and do the rest of the room in another color or colors. You might even play up the black wall by using super shiny gloss paint. There are lots of cool, bedding ensembles that contain black and other colors. As the bed is the largest feature in a bedroom, the choice of bedspread and linens will play a key role in defining the room and pulling everything together.

Find some bedding that you both like and choose the other color(s) from that. You can use the black for accessories like a desk chair, frames for posters, lamps, or even the furniture, but with the bedding as the focal point, just draw the colors from that and it will look great. Throw in some stuff in chrome and it will become "contemporary." Throw in a little red if you want to fire up the scheme.

Q. I have two boys, ages 13 and 11, with different tastes. One likes camouflage, the other likes bold colors like red and wants to go with a racing theme. I'm trying to decorate the room they share with something that will appease both of them. I've searched the Internet for over an hour, but most of those sites only have one child in the room. They have bunk beds and each have a dresser. It's a basement room in a split-level home so it has that "ledge" on two of the walls. Windows are small, so light is a problem. Is there any ideas how I can decorate the room that would be appeasing to both?

A. I think you should go with a neutral khaki or gray on the walls. Get each boy bedding in the style/theme/colors they like and decorate the top of each dresser with accessories in their theme. Each could have posters or wall art on their wall space. I think each of them probably only really cares how "his" space is decorated. They probably won't care that their beds don't match.

Q. I want to decorate my four-year-old's room in a sports theme but I want to also include a section of his room, maybe a corner, for his huge love of dinosaurs. Will this be wrong to include the dinosaurs in a sports motif room? I plan to do my two-year-old's room in a transportation theme and I even have model airplanes to hang from the ceiling. The boys, while excited about their own larger rooms, they are still rather reluctant about the move. I really want to create a room that they will fall in love with. That's why I have chosen the themes based on things they love. The problem is I don't know where to begin. Can anyone offer any cool ideas or suggestions to help me get started?

A. Start with the bedding. Shop around and see what's available. If you find a set that's got a print you like, get it and then decorate around it. If it's busy enough, you might want plainer walls and just some accents here and there. But if you can't find bedding with a print you like, then you may opt for basically solid-colored bedding which you'll need to jazz up with more attention to the walls and accessories.

Once you start shopping, you'll see all sorts of things you can use. For example, I know there's a cute ceiling fan and light kit at my local huge home improvement center that looks like a baseball glove with bats for the fan blades. If it were I, I'd say that's a must-have and go from there. You can find light switch covers in sports themes, too, and also drawer pulls, wallpaper and borders, etc. I've seen a lot of cute stuff in catalogs, too. You can do a search for "bedding" or "comforter sets" online and find a lot to choose from. Just remember, a little goes a long way. And in kids' rooms, they can tend to look a little cluttered. So be sure to think about good and cute storage for books and toys. You can always buy inexpensive toy boxes and shelving, and then glue on wood accents you've cut out and painted yourself in different shapes, to get the look of the expensive ones. Just combine the two. You could paint a kid skateboarding down a brontosaurus' back, a pterodactyl with a ball cap on or t-rexes playing b-ball. Just have fun with it - they are only young once.

Visit our Community Forums for more answers to your home improvement questions.