From ALTAR YOUR SPACE by JAGAT JOTI KHALSA
A CHILD'S BEDROOM: FROM NURTURE AND COMFORT TO SELF-EXPRESSION AND INDEPENDENCE
Adult bedroom environments tend to remain relatively stable, and once established, design changes are generally nuanced and developmental, rather than dramatic and spontaneous. Once we've created the ideal adult bedroom space, it will likely stay more or less the same for many years.
But children's bedroom designs tend to vary and change, depending on their ages, personalities and interests. Basic needs for quiet sleep, nurturing and comfort, imagination, play, reading, study, music, independence, self-expression and more will all influence a child's bedroom design as he or she grows through various developmental phases.
Infants are sensually oriented, extremely open to and affected by their environments. The world is an especially stimulating place for the new born, who hasn’t yet learned to filter out numerous impressions. Everything around the baby is new, exciting and at times overwhelming. The reason most infants are asleep more hours than they are awake is because of the overwhelming amount of information and stimuli they take in and process each day. Sleep is when that processing occurs, so it's important that the infant bedroom environment supports this essential need for quiet, rest and sleep.
My wife and I bought our daughter a child-sized Moroccan tent when she was two years old and turned it into an altared space. With her input, we filled it with lots of plush pillows and soft silk blankets in soothing and vibrant colors, scented candles (not to burn), pictures of the Sikh Gurus, a wooden statue of Buddha and small stone carving of Krishna, all of her choosing.
Together we created a sacred fort. It may not make the photo shoot for better homes and gardens, but it’s one of her favorite places in the world to spend time.
Warm, soft lighting and plush, gentle fabrics, pillows and blankets are also important. When it comes to visuals, colourful is good, but don't use too many bright and stimulating colors. Keep a balance, of energizing and soothing colors, and when it comes to stuffed animals, toys and pictures for the wall, keep things benign, charming and whimsical, and let your child be part of the selection process.
Because smell is one of the most powerful senses, scent is also important and an anchor for lifelong memories. Always consult your child in choosing scents for his or her bedroom. Age will dictate the manner of response, whether verbal or visceral. Make sure your children really like a scent before it goes into their rooms. Let them smell organic, naturally scented candles, incense, flowers and natural air fresheners. Which ones do they respond to or reach for? Choose the scents that delight, soothe and calm them. Do a similar test with toys, stuffed animals and wall pictures. As much as possible, and at every age, let your children have a say in what comes into their bedrooms. Their input will make their rooms truly theirs.
As soon as children are able to verbally express their likes and dislikes, they should have direct input regarding the designs of their rooms and the things that go into them. But at every stage of development, the child's bedroom ought to provide a safe and comfortable sanctuary for the body, a nurturing haven for the soul, and a creative and engaging visual and functional environment that matches the imagination, wonder and physicality of the developing body, mind and personality.