When curtaining a dormer window, you’re often dealing with an undersize window in a narrow niche. Let your drapery, at least, create a sense of generosity. Buy sheer fabric in a light, neutral color (or use tulle from a store that sells bridal fabrics ). Install the rod above the window at the highest possible point of the dormer wall. Make the curtain three times as wide as the dormer niche, and let it float all the way to the floor. The cascade of fabric creates architectural stature and still admits light.
Archive for February, 2009
Now the second rod can be removed from the wardrobe to leave full-length hanging space. You can dispense with window bars. The play top is going to do double duty as part-time work top so, to ease the transition, add an angled light for homework. A couple of upright chairs can come in at this stage. The pinboard can stay, and the trolley will now become useful for holding models, games, perhaps a tv set or a small home computer to amuse a child and to help with learning.
The bunk beds can now be dismantled and turned into two single beds. If space permits, place the beds at right angles to one another and put a small low table between them, to serve both. By day turn the beds into sofas by adding tailored covers, some bolsters and cushions.
The floor may need some attention too: it could be carpeted or covered with matting or painted and stencilled. Or you could simply add one or two rugs. Window blinds can be changed for a new fabric roller or curtains and walls re-painted, papered or otherwise decorated to the teenager’s wishes.
Teenagers have very much more sophisticated needs than younger children. They will more than likely feel the need to make their room into a bed-sitting room of some kind. Extra seating, in the form of bean bags or covered foam slabs, is reasonably cheap and always seems popular since it is less formal. Or a spare comfortable armchair, if you have the space, makes a comfortable place to sit and read. Cover the bed with a fitted cover and scatter cushions to turn it into a sofa by day. If space is short, provide a large kneehole dressing-table which can double as a desk. Otherwise, television sets, cassette players, computers and school books can be placed on the laminated work surface. A more extensive wardrobe, musical and electronic equipment (guitars, synthesisers and so on) will maximise the need for good storage.
With any teenager, it is a good idea to install a washbasin in the room, to discourage them from monopolizing the bathroom! Dressing-room style light fittings around a mirror will be particularly appreciated by girls for make-up practice.
The great thing is that, although the room looks quite different and fulfils changing needs at each stage, the modern furniture remain substantially the same over a good number of years. No change of stage costs very much money, except perhaps for the final transformation.
As well as being very budget-conscious, such a plan is highly flexible. It allows first the parents and then the child himself enormous scope for adding, changing and indulging individual tastes and interests. As long as the original basic plan is simple and includes plenty of storage a room can go on developing along with the child it caters for.
The room has to cope with a bigger child who is up and around and into everything.
The window can be left much as it is (with Venetian blinds or blackout backed roller blinds) so that the day does not start too early for parents, daytime resting is made easier and any sun can easily be filtered. However, it is a good idea to fit some vertical bars not more than 6 cm (2 3/8 in) apart (which can be removed later) to prevent any unsupervised adventuring and possible accidents. It is essential that these can be easily removed in case of fire. Bars with keys are available.
Because children at this age can’t concentrate for long on any one thing they need lots of playthings and you are liable to have a great overflow of toys. Make a home for these in an old wooden chest which could later act as a coffee table, or with tough polyurethane or corrugated cardboard storage boxes which can double as play equipment and become trains, carriages, trolleys or anything the child likes to make them in his imagination. Stacking boxes and trays are also good ideas. And, unless there’s another baby, the trolley, denuded of all the infant paraphernalia, can also help to cope with all the toys and games. A portable Moses basket or basket carry cot are both useful for storing soft toys. They can also be used for transporting toys into another room, if necessary.
About halfway through this stage the cot can be replaced by a pair of modular bunk beds of the kind that can be dismantled and turned into ordinary single beds. The second bunk will come into play either for a second child or for a friend and provide a two-tiered play area as well. Some bunk beds have a useful drawer underneath for even more storage; buy this kind if you are pressed for space.
A cohesive space is always an inviting retreat. Employ the basics of space planning to make the most of what you have. Use color to emphasize or create the illusion of expansiveness by wrapping the room in a single pale hue.
Visually extend a wall using the strong horizontal line of a built-in shelf. Use bold patterns to focus attention on an area. When it comes to furniture, keep in mind that you can increase the sense of spaciousness by choosing closed, streamlined storage. Tables, beds, and chairs that sit high off the floor make rooms appear airier and less cluttered.