I need my own space' is a familiar cry of the late twentieth century. But very rarely do we relate this lament to our children's lives. We are so often tempted to relegate them to the smallest rooms (where there is, in theory, less room to make a mess) and somehow we don't imagine that their little lives could possibly be so full of confusion and clutter as to require a well-thought-out, organized, private space all to themselves.
We forget about the pressures brought on by bickering brothers and sisters, the claustrophobic life of the school room and the confrontations of a competitive playground, not to mention the constant attention of parents who 'don't understand'.
If children are to survive and to develop into sane adulthood, they need all the help we can give them and if, by allocating them their own special quiet space, we can help this along, then so much the better.
The thought process needed for the planning of children's rooms is very similar to that required for living room designs as well. First naturally come the practicalities: the activities to cater for, the storage to accommodate and comfort and security to attend to.
Then there are the aesthetic considerations - also very important. Who, for instance, cannot recall the wallpaper of their room of formative years? So pause a moment to think before reaching for that book of clown wallpaper prints. Careful planning before you start decorating will ensure that your child will be safe, comfortable and happy.
What activities is your child likely to perform in his/her room? To name but a few - sleeping, eating, playing, craftwork, study and, last but not least, entertaining. It is a good idea to create separate areas for each activity so that the child who may spend many hours in this one room has some contrast between the different activities and so that 'messy' areas do not intrude into other parts of the room - though this, of course, will depend upon the space available.
If two are to share one room, efforts should be made to allocate specific areas for each child which 'belong' to him/her and for which he/she is responsible. This will help to encourage growing children to feel more responsible for their room in the future.
Written by Michelle Reynold