Create Cool Kids' Rooms Without Spending A Fortune

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child's playroom with stuffed animals and a tree

The key to a cool kid's bedroom makeover is letting your imagination run wild. Credit: Michelle Workman

Sprucing up your kid's bedroom doesn't have to cost a fortune to look super cool and luxe, says interior designer to the stars Michelle Workman. All it takes are a few creative ideas and a little work.

Workman is the owner of The Red House Interiors in Los Angeles and has a star-studded client list including Jennifer Lopez, Kelly Preston and John Travolta, and Leah Remini. Her design philosophy when it comes to kids' rooms? Go nuts.

"You can kind of go crazy with a kid's room," Workman tells ParentDish. "You can be as imaginative as you want, and as fun as you want. Use bright colors, it doesn't matter as long as you go wild."

Here are some of Workman's best tips for giving your kid's bedroom a makeover:
Go bold. A fresh coat of paint in bold color -- think bright greens, deep reds, strong blues -- and a few new accessories can make a big difference. "So many people do baby rooms in pale pink or blue. That's very pretty, but if you use really fresh and interesting fabrics, it doesn't matter if they are from IKEA or from a high-end design house."

Aim to inspire. "You want items that excite a child's imagination," Workman says. "IKEA has some really cheap and fun fabrics, and you can go the hardware store and get a finial, and screw that directly into the wall. Then, drape the fabric across the walls like wallpaper."

Items like wall decals, chalkboard tiles or paint and draped fabrics can help make the space more than a bedroom, and instead turn a child's room into a land designed for creative play. Fabric not only can give your child's room an interesting design, it also provides kids with a place to play hide-and-go-seek with a flashlight and some story books. Or why not go one step further, and get some chalkboard paint? "Then you have the chalkboard paint on the wall and you have your panels over that," Workman suggests. "Then they can write all over the walls and it almost becomes like a little theater for them."

The goal is to create a world for your child, she adds. Look for inspiration in places like old storybook illustrations or nature. For example, Workman built a tree into the wall of her son's playroom. "He has a big tree he can play on," she says. "I decorated the branches with leaves and I also put crystals on it, so it has a fairyland feel to it."

She used gold-tinted hairspray to give the tree a magical sheen, and installed a green shag carpet. "It almost looks like grass," she says, adding that shag is a great choice for a child's room, because it is so plush and soft. Add a cushy pad underneath and you have a soft surface for even the most energetic daredevil.

Small changes make a big difference. You don't have to go that far to create a magical space for your child. For example, Workman says wall decals in the shape of Chinese lanterns would be darling for a girl's room. "You can do some fun and interesting things, like spray some gold paint on or around the lanterns, so it looks like they are illuminated," she says.

The key, she says, is not how much money you spend, but how much time and thought you put into giving your child's bedroom a makeover. "Be uber-creative," Workman advises. "Think of it like you would if you were planning a big party or a wedding. That way you are teaching your kids to be creative and you are putting them into a creative environment, and you are helping them to develop a personal sense of taste."

Related: More on Kid Decor & Style

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.