Make your kids’ rooms stylish and fun with these decor tips

Holiday gift ideas for kids 2013, Christmas shopping

When it comes to bedrooms, the conventional design wisdom is less is more: neutral walls, tranquil bedding, maybe a tasteful zen rock garden if you insist on expressing yourself.

But kids? They don’t need to escape to a Restoration Hardware-induced coma – they need an imaginative, exciting space to dream, play and create. We hit up Pennsylvania-based interior designer and illustrator Lou Marshall for décor tips (hey, it’s hard to think for yourself in a gray-cloaked cubicle).

Spark imaginations
Amazingly, kids don’t need a screen to keep them entertained – a simple wall will do. “I like to inspire kids to play, and create rooms they can play with,” says Marshall, who frequently hand-paints interactive, eye-level murals (check them out at “If they’re sent to their room, I want them to be happy about it.” No art skills? No problem. A fool-proof, inexpensive coat of chalkboard or magnetic paint can turn any wall into a canvas.

Color theory
Kids’ worlds are colorful, and their rooms should be, too. That said, Marshall recommends staying away from harsher primary colors and keeping things light and bright (sleep is the end-game, after all). Swap the hot pink for a softer cotton-candy hue, the bright blue for a chalkier version, and dark greens for a cheery apple shade.

Make a five-year plan
Before you commission that “Frozen” mural, think about what your aspiring princess will be aspiring to next year. “I want a room to grow with a child, to last a good five or six years,” says Marshall. If your little one is obsessed with a certain Disney character right now, consider buying the bedding, but go less-specific with bigger investments such as wallpaper and rugs.

The golden rule
Ultimately, designing a child’s bedroom isn’t (or shouldn’t be) that much different from designing your own. “Above all else,” says Marshall, “think about when you’re going to sleep: what would you want to be around and look at before you close your eyes?”

Cheap trick
For quick, cheap art, Marshall recommends perusing the party store’s wrapping paper section. Bright, cheery and frequently starring the latest princesses and trendiest robots, it’s perfect for framing and will only set you back around $3.

HOM_Kid decor_0611

Pint-sized product pick
If you’re packing up for the beach this summer, we love this petite chair-and-umbrella set from Pottery Barn Kids.
Chair ($17) and umbrella ($11),


Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…


Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…


Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.


Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…


'Full House' might be relaunched with some of…

A new "Full House" might be in the works.


Review: 'The Congress' is a crazy, unwieldy sci-fi…

Robin Wright is the center of gravity in "The Congress," which turns from a live-action Hollywood satire into an animated spectacular on a downer future.


Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.


Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.


When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.


Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.


Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…


The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…


Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.


Does the school day start too early?

As thousands of high schoolers get ready to head back to class, health experts say it may be time to push back the start of…