Cool digs: what kids want, what kids need
Children have a different perspective on the world and different priorities than adults, especially when it comes to their living environment. The fact that it sometimes creates friction within a family is perfectly normal but it doesn’t have to be that way. Because parents who know what their children want and need can furnish their house or apartment accordingly. To make sure all family members feel comfortable at home, here are a few suggestions.
If you ask kids in kindergarten and primary school what they imagine their dream home to be like, you’ll often hear: „Plenty of room to romp and play!“ It goes without saying since the need for movement is much more pronounced among children than adults. And there are so many new things to discover every day! Even so, children also want to have a quiet place to do homework as quickly as possible and their very own reading nook that will keep secrets under lock and key. A family-friendly living environment offers a private retreat for every member of the family as well as common areas. If a child’s bedroom is too far away from the kitchen or living room, it might mean that the youngster won’t likely stay there for long. He’d rather play where family activities take place, where mom cooks or where he tells his siblings about a school trip. In that case, a play corner in a common area can be a good compromise to prevent the inevitable distribution of toys throughout the entire space.
„When I design for children, then I like to put myself in their shoes,“ says architect Dorothea Huber from Goslar who specialises in child-friendly building. That’s why she includes things like windows at a lower height so children can see out of them. Not everything has to be a structural change, though: a bed, table and chairs in children’s sizes also work well for the little ones.
Generally speaking, households with children should certainly account for appropriate safety measures. No sharp edges, pointy objects or open sockets: go through your home with open eyes and eliminate such safety hazards. Open stairways also pose a risk of accidents. There are numerous safety devices available on the market from anti-trap protection to stairway gates. Search for suitable products for your situation.
Keep in mind that for all the devices available for children, their living standards constantly change with age. While a baby is content with a crib, changing table and play mat, a toddler love all things colourful and needs a cubby for storage and a space for dolls, a toy shop and more. School age children increasingly need their own room as a personal haven whereas teenagers insist parents „do not enter!“ As a result, a child’s bedroom undergoes several transformations over the years. It’s a good idea for the room to be well proportioned and large enough to be adapted and divided into different spatial areas.
A large part of the feel good atmosphere also has to do with colours and lighting. „I love working with soft colours,“ says architect Dorothea Huber. That’s because the stronger the ambient colour, the more restless and wild the children become since colours affect our psyche and being. Loud wall colours or patterned wallpaper are therefore better for room accents or highlights than an entire surface. Then there’s the added advantage of making changes more quickly in case you suddenly realise something doesn’t strike your fancy. As for lighting, it is important to select the right type of lighting for each room area. In other words, avoid using an especially bright overhead light that illuminates the entire room; instead consider reading lamps for the bed and desk and perhaps a dimmable light for optimal snuggling.
Another tip for nursery decoration: childlike motifs such as bears on the armoire are sweet but they won’t be nearly as well liked by seven year olds. At that point, Star Wars characters or football stars will be far more interesting. Instead, select design elements that can also be easily removed at a later point. Either make your own decorative elements and attach them using double sided tape or opt for removable wall decals. By now, there are countless designs to choose from!