Everyone needs a space in their home where they can relax, let down and feel comfortable. That place should be a person’s bedroom. However, many children do not feel comfortable in their bedrooms. This may be due to sensory issues such as buzzing lighting or bad color schemes. It may seem like you can’t afford to renovate your child’s room, but this is simply not true. Fortunately, there are ways to revamp your child’s space so that it will be a sensory friendly bedroom, even on a budget.
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We recently decided to renovate our son’s room, as due to family needs, he has to have one of the bedrooms downstairs. This means that he has had to leave the room he loves for something different. Different is bad, and he was not super happy about the decision. So, we have worked really hard to make his new space as friendly as possible. Through our makeover process, we can show you some easy tips for your own child’s room. With some simple modifications, your child’s room can be inviting, cozy and sensory friendly.
For those with sensory process disorders, color can be a huge issue. Reds, Oranges, Yellows and Bright Whites can send children into sensory overload. Unfortunately a lot of child bedroom themes use these colors. When choosing sensory friendly colors for your child’s room, try blues and greens, neutral colors like beige or grey, or pastels. These colors have a calming affect, and will give your child’s room a warm, stress-free feel.
We chose grey for our son’s walls, instead of the bright white that was there previously. For the trim and accent color, we chose a warm blue. His bed is a dark, wood color that is also a very warm tone.
I cannot say enough about dimmer switches. These are fairly easy to install. Even if you need to call an electrician, it won’t break the bank. Dimmer switches allow your child to have the amount of light that works for them in the moment. While natural light is always the best, dimmer switches are a great second best.
To create more natural light, use blinds instead of curtains. They let in the natural light a lot better and act much like a dimmer switch to allow just the right amount of light into the room. Make sure when choosing blinds, that you select the lead-free options. Our older son actually got lead poisoning from his blinds before we knew of this danger.
Our son’s room has both a dimmer switch and blinds. That way when natural light is not available, he still has the option to regulate the amount of light in his room
Quite often kids with sensory processing issues find certain textures to be bothersome. For the bedding, try to find fabrics that mimic the fabrics in your child’s favorite clothing. This will ensure that there is nothing in the bedding that will be uncomfortable or distracting for your child as they try to fall asleep.
Flooring is another consideration when you are renovating or updating your child’s room. Since your child will likely spend some amount of time on the floor, you will want to make sure this does not cause any sensory issues. If your child likes smooth textures, try tile or wood flooring. If your child prefers soft textures, try carpeting keeping in mind any allergies or sensitivities to smell.
Since your child will likely spend some amount of time on the floor, you will want to make sure this does not cause any sensory issues
If you choose carpeting, you will want to take into consideration the things your child will be doing on the floor. Some carpets are not particularly good with toys that can catch the thread and become unraveled. If you have a child that likes to pull or fidget with things, a hanging strand of carpet will be too much for them to leave alone. Also, if your child is a Lego lover, high pile carpeting can cause issues when trying to find all of the tiny pieces. This could be a sensory issue for everyone if they get stepped on.
The important thing to remember with texture is to let your child lead. Have them with you when you pick out bedding or carpeting to see how they react. Pick the one that they like best within your budget.
For most kids with sensory sensitivities, theming can be overwhelming. As with the overall color of the room, you will want to make sure any decorations are done with calming colors and not overly busy. Try to choose characters or activities that help to calm your child.
Don’t worry if the colors or themes are not gender typical. The important thing to focus on is making your child’s space work for them. In my son’s case, he loves Japan and Japanese gardens. We chose to turn his room into a Japanese garden with flowers. Of course flowers are typically feminine, but since this is what will make my son happy, flowers it is.
When one of my son’s was younger, he liked sleeping on a couch. He felt like it was hugging him. So, we got him a couch and removed the bed. Hey, its his space, and he needs to feel comfortable. This one simple change helped my son go from waking up several times per night to sleeping through the night consistently.
Division of Space
To help your child be less distracted in his or her new space, compartmentalize the room by how it will be used. Keep the sleeping area for sleeping. Try to limit the amount of natural light that comes into this area of the room and keep this area distraction free.
Have an area for play. This area can have more pictures, decorations and natural light. You should make space on the floor in this area for toys that might need floor space.
There should be an area for decompression that is separate from the sleeping area. This area should have pillows or a beanbag chair and lots of sensory fidgets. If you have hard floors in your child’s room, you may want to think about adding a soft rug to this area as well.
For those that have children do homework and learning in their room, this should be a separate area as well. This area should obviously have a table or desk. You may want to add a room divider to help limit distractions.
By separating your child’s room into sections, it will help your child be more focused. This way, when they get into bed, they are more likely to go to sleep, as this is what the body is expecting. They are more likely to be able to let down for the night and sleep. When they sit in the learning area, they will be able to focus on their work, as this is the only thing done in this area. It may take some time to train your child to use his or her room in this new way. Don’t get discouraged. Keep going, and it will get better over time.
Have Your Child Help
As I mentioned, our son was not big on moving. We enlisted his help in getting his room just right, and this help tremendously. He went shopping for almost everything we purchased, and he even helped paint his dresser and desk to match the new decor. By the end of the renovation, he was actually excited about his new space.
If you have younger children, include them as much as possible. Maybe they can help pick out the bedding, or maybe they can color some pictures to be framed on their walls. Have them arrange their toys and special items where they would like them in their room. Whatever your child’s skill level, you will get much more buy in from them if they are helpers in the process.
Our Transformation Before and After
Our total cost including wall paint, trim paint, border, fencing, curtains, blinds, dresser drawer pulls, painters tape and brushes, nails. carpet cleaning and chair cover was $201.64. Not bad for a total room make over I think.
If your child is in need of a more sensory friendly bedroom, you do not need to spend a lot of money getting it right. Use these tips to create a comforting and calming space for your child even on a budget.