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Kids' Room Themes

Use stencils, sketches, and paint to transform the walls of your child's room into an expression of his favorite things. Most of the following themes can be expanded with bed linens and accessories.

1. The Four Seasons: Each wall depicts a different season: spring flowers, summer sun, fall foliage, and a winter wonderland.

2. Under the Sea: Around the room, fish swim beneath the waves, coral and seaweed climb the walls, and lobsters crawl this way and that.

3. At the Park: One wall shows trees climbing to the ceiling; another features a cityscape complete with glow-in-the-dark windows created with fluorescent paint.

4. On the Road: Cars and trucks drive down the highway on one wall, with familiar road signs pointing the way.

5. Jungle Safari: Elephants, giraffes, and lions dress up the walls. To go all out, swathe the ceiling in canvas to look like a tent.

6. Treehouse: Walls create the look of a clubhouse, with views from faux windows to the house and yard below. Trompe-l'oeil trees on the ceiling form the illusion of being in a treetop.

7. Noah's Ark: As the animals come, two-by-two, they march onto the ship. One family wrote quotes from the story of the Ark on the walls.

8. Military Base: Toy helicopters hang from the ceiling, GI Joes descend from ropes, and camouflage paint covers the walls.

9. Map Quest: Giant maps cloak the walls. Choose a map of the world, the U.S., your state, your town, your child's favorite places, or all of the above.

10. Crafty Kids: Magnetized paint turns a wall into a magnet board, and chalkboard paint creates a permanent writing surface. If your child loves drawing, hang a roll of butcher paper or newsprint on the back of a door for easy access.

Try these simple additions to make a child's room more functional and more enjoyable.

1. To make it easier for your child to relax with a good book, create a headboard from a simple wood bookcase and add a reading light.

2. Surround the room with a running shelf hung about two feet below the ceiling. This space often goes unused and would be great for displaying stuffed animals and collectibles.

3. Hang a wallpaper border at child height rather than around the ceiling. Kids can better enjoy decorations at eye level.

4. Help your toddler become familiar with her name by spelling it in antique alphabet blocks or painted letters that can be hung on the wall.

5. Search flea markets for vintage drawer pulls, lamps, and other decorative touches that make a room unique. Help your child start a collection of piggy banks, antique spoons, or any other item that interests her. She'll proudly show guests her treasures when they come to visit.

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