I have a three-year-old and a one-year-old, and since becoming a dad I’ve learned that kids want to be involved in absolutely everything their parents are doing. House chores, home renos, putting together furniture… heck, they’d accompany you in the washroom if you didn’t lock the door. No doubt, we’re all crazy busy and can’t safely involve our little creatures in everything we do – but the biggest wins I’ve had recently have involved turning productivity into quality time with my boys. From custom art pieces to kid-friendly DIYs, decorating with your kids can be a fun and meaningful way to keep them busy and knock off some stylish to-dos. After all, the days are long but the years are short – so let’s make ’em count!
Brian McCourt is a contractor, design expert and co-host of HGTV Canada’s Backyard Builds.
Pick Paint Projects
Painting is a cost-effective way to change the look of a room – and it’s also a fun opportunity to get your kids involved in decorating while teaching them useful life-long DIY skills. Depending on your child’s age, they can help with the prep work or even pick up a brush. A few more tips and tricks for painting like a pro? If kids are helping, it’s extra important to be thorough with protecting your furniture and floors from inevitable spills and splatters. For beginner helpers, it might also be a good idea to have them assist with the first coat… and then you can take care of the second coat or touch-ups yourself.
Choose Paint Colours
Whether or not your kids pick up a paint brush, they can still be involved in the decorating process by giving their input in choosing wall paint colours – especially for their own bedrooms or play areas. To make decision-making a bit easier, pre-choose two or three paint colours that you think would work, and let your children pick their favourite.
Put Their Art on Display
It’s one thing to stick your kids’ art on the fridge, but there are definitely ways to take things to the next level by incorporating it in your decorating scheme. For example, you can choose a few of their art projects and frame them for the masterpieces that they are – like I did with my son Calvin’s colourful art in this at-home budget washroom reno.
A Fun Feature Wall
Kids’ tastes can change almost as quickly as their shoe size – so no matter how much they insist that rockets will be their favourite thing forever, you might not want to invest a lot of time and money in wallpapering the entire room with spaceships. Instead, a themed or bold feature wall is an easier and more cost-effective way to make a kid-approved style statement. For inspiration, Sarah and I will show you how to create three cool feature walls in this quick video.
Chalk It Up
Because children love to change things up all the time, incorporating a chalkboard feature in their space is a great way to let them express decor creativity – without having to commit to anything major. You can find inexpensive chalkboard paint at your local hardware store and paint a fun feature wall, like this unique idea from the Property Brothers.
Create Custom Furniture
Painting vintage furniture is a great way to create unique pieces, stay on budget and add some character to a room – and it also provides opportunities for kids to get involved.
DIY Cabinet Door Pulls
is a simple way to change and customize the look of anything from cabinets to dresser drawers, and this DIY project shows you how to use nail polish to refinish handles (perfect for adding a pop of colour to kids’ room furniture).
Put It All Together
Do you have a simple piece of flat-pack furniture that needs to be assembled? Instead of thinking of the task as a chore, look at it as a unique puzzle to be solved, and get the kids to help.
A Great Gallery Wall
Here’s a picture-perfect, no-mess way to get your kids’ input in your home decor. Have your little ones select photos or art for a gallery wall. Let them choose a certain number of images from a selection of pictures that could work on your gallery wall (either printed out or in a digital folder on the computer), and then you can hang them all up for a special, stylish display. For more kid-friendly gallery wall inspiration, check out these ideas.
Make It Personal
When decorating your kids’ rooms, look for projects that let them put their own personal stamp on the space. A special DIY project, like these custom spray-painted toy bookends made by Worst to First‘s Catherine Yuen, is a fun idea to do with the help of bigger kids, and younger children can help by choosing the toys to include. The end result will be a one-of-a-kind decoration that your kids (and you) will be proud of.
The bed is the design focal point of any bedroom, and choosing fun bedding is a playful way to get kids involved in decorating their own space. Emphasizing boldly coloured or patterned bedding (while keeping the walls neutral) can also bring added cost savings in the future. It’s much easier and less expensive to switch up bedding than it is to redesign and repaint a kids’ bedroom.
Make Organization Fun
If you’ve got kids, you already know that storage is an absolute must if you’re striving for a calm, tidy home. When incorporating storage into your home decor, consider making some DIY solutions – and getting the kids to take part. Whether they help you choose materials or assist with the construction, getting kids involved is a great way to encourage them to actually use the storage in the future. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few cool outdoor DIY storage projects that Sarah and I did for Backyard Builds, including a how-to for creating a custom DIY storage banquette.
Speaking of storage, something as simple as a shelf is an easy, no-commitment way to let children try their hand at decorating (while also keeping things neat). You can let kids select their most-loved books to display on a picture ledge in their room, for example, or use shelves to showcase a much-loved collection.
Design a Study Station
The best places to let kids flex their creativity when decorating are spaces that are just for them. While kids’ bedrooms and playrooms are obvious places to start, a unique kids’ study station (whether it’s a desk, hidden nook or other area) gives children a special place to learn – and it’s a great opportunity for them to decorate to their taste (letting them select the colour palette, decorations and art – preferably their own creations!). Ready to make homework more fun? Read this guide to creating a functional homework station in your home.
Fill in the Blanks
While painting a wall mural might be a bit of an overzealous paint project for kids (or anyone who’s not a professional artist!), you can use tools like stencils, traced shapes or even tape to mark off sections of the wall that kids can fill in – basically, you can create a home decor paint-by-number for the wall.