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  • Writer's pictureWendy Elizabeth

Decorating with Children – Part 2

I love my daughter dearly, I must do, because I promised not to disclose the contents of the debris that lurked in her room. Things that had not seen the light of day since George W. Bush first entered the White House, and many things that, if offered, would be happily accepted by any of the CSI franchise.

It took four days to finish her room. Painting was the least of it. I took as much out of the room as I could, but the rest I had to move from wall to wall as I painted. Some things were put back while the paint was still wet, and I know there are smudges of purple in areas that there shouldn’t be. Decorating is never a perfect process, but like any room, once it’s re-loaded the imperfections disappear, and, if we are lucky, we see it as a whole, not just a single piece.

The end result is better than I had hoped. I finished about 10 minutes before she came home from school yesterday. I turned on all the lights, made the bed and fussed with the curtains. Just like a makeover show on HGTV I made her close her eyes while I opened the door. When she opened them she squealed. She loved it so much.

The best part for me is that her room now reflects who she is at this exact moment. It is filled with what is important to her. Her hamster and hermit crabs are on the desk by her bed (so that she can watch them as she goes to sleep). The small loveseat has been rediscovered as a place to sit with her friends. Her collection of rocks, shells, bones and claws (!) have been given their own shelf. There is plenty of room to add more, and she can finally see what she has without sorting through worn, paper bags and special, little cardboard containers. I gave her a white board for drawing and a cork board so that she can pin up art work and photographs. Things that she still loves, but doesn’t need on a daily basis, were stored away; still accessible but not on display.

Before I began her room I decided to do a consultation with her. I pretended she was a client ; asking what she liked and didn’t like,what she wanted and how much leeway I had to use my own ideas. I wrote notes as we talked and I sketched a plan of the room. We discussed the placement of her bed and whether or not she liked to sit by the window. What could I store away and what did she need to have in plain sight. The small amount of time that this took helped me to understand her as a person, not just a girl who recoiled in horror every week when asked to clean her room.

As parents we often ignore what our children want in lieu of what we think is right for them. Decorating a room is an easy opportunity to let them create their perfect world, to show them that we care about what is important to them.

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