Kids' rooms can be challenging to decorate because it's difficult to keep the young occupants interested in one theme for very long. By the time you get the last coat of paint on the walls, your kiddo may be asking for something new. A Southern-living theme is a perfect solution -- it lets you provide your youngster with a serene and beautiful environment while also making it easy to give the room a makeover later when she's pleading for the next fad.
When you're looking for the perfect color scheme for a Southern-living-style children's bedroom, think about ice cream -- the soft, pastel, muted tones. These colors are popular in the South, in part because of the tendency for dark colors to absorb the heat that's a fact of life for a large part of the year. The lighter colors also help create a feeling of openness in a smaller room and utilize natural lighting to its maximum potential. Soft greens and yellows provide a gender-neutral canvas for the room and also work well with other decorating themes if you'd like to give the room a makeover later. In particular, pale blues resemble a warm blue Southern sky and pale oranges hint toward the distant edges of a Southern sunset.
Researchers at the International Center for Leadership in Education have found a correlation between color and emotions, behavior, and performance of students in school, and suggest that when you're trying to create a harmonious environment, you consider greens, peach and lavender, whereas a comforting environment may be best obtained by incorporating blues and whites. Southern-inspired hues fit right in with that color scheme.
If it's within your budget, replace the flooring with light-colored hardwood or laminate to brighten the room even more. If you're sticking with the flooring that's already there, that's no problem -- add some brightness to the room with a light-colored rug instead.
The famous Southern charm makes furniture selection a cinch when planning your child's bedroom. Just think inviting and comfortable. Avoid lavishly ornate furniture, since it is not often found in Southern bedrooms. Consider a whitewashed or distressed-looking bed and dresser furniture, and then soften up the decor with a few wicker pieces, such as a wicker toy box and laundry hamper. It's a good idea for parents to avoid old-style toy boxes with heavy lids to prevent little fingers from getting trapped in between, advises Kim Estes, a child-safety expert in Redmond, Washington. Remove the lid if your child's toy box has a heavy top. Opt for a four-poster or canopy bed to make it stand out as a centerpiece in the room. If your child's room is large enough, arrange a separate little sitting area -- common in Southern bedrooms -- with a kid-size table and chair set. Now your youngster has a cozy little area for artwork and play.
The warmer climate of the South calls for light and airy materials, such as linen and cotton -- heavy brocades and thick upholstery would look out of place. When choosing bedding and other fabrics that your child will come into contact with, cottons are a good choice because they are durable; they also wash well and at higher temperatures, so stain removal is easier, according to a report by the Virginia Cooperative Extension. Choose light fabrics for the window coverings as well so they catch a warm summer breeze and billow gently into the room. If you'd like the room dark at nap time and bedtime, add a room-darkening roller shade behind the airy curtains and leave the shade rolled up when not in use. For an additional touch of Southern-living beauty, drape a white or pastel netting all around a canopied bed and tie the sections in gentle gatherings around each post.
A plethora of pillows is a nice Southern accent for the bed. However, you should wait until your child is at least 2 years of age before using a pillow, recommends child-safety expert Debra Holtzman, author of "The Safe Baby: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Home Safety and Health Living." At that point, she advises using a firm, small pillow. It's okay to decorate the bed with extra pillows during the day, but make sure they're removed at nap time and bedtime.
Adorn the top of a canopy or four-poster bed with garlands of faux Southern flowers, like hibiscus, woodland phlox and lilies. If you opted for a different type of bed, you can still incorporate the garlands of flowers along the curtain rod or above the doorway. Make sure the garlands are far out of the reach of young children or save them for when your child gets a bit bigger to avoid dangling hazards. Use the popular Southern flowers to decorate the room even more with a large plastic vase full of your favorite faux picks, and one or two wall hangings of floral art. If you're decorating for a little guy who isn't so fond of flowers, skip the floral wall hangings and hang bloodhound prints or faux furs instead.