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Monday, October 15, 2007

A space your children can call home

A space your children can call home

A space your children can call home

Safety, comfort and changing needs as the child grows must be taken into consideration

Decorating a child's room can be one of the most enjoyable experiences for any homeowner.

It can also be one of the most challenging, considering that a child's needs change quickly as she grows from an infant to a teenager.

Interior designers suggest that for an infant up to age two, safety and comfort trump all other considerations.

But style is also important, and most children prefer a colourful environment with entertaining themes. Storage space for toys is another key consideration.

Mayuri Thammakulangkul, design director for Bareo & Isyss, says that a child's room should help him or her grow up to become an organised adult. Therefore, room designs should focus on maximising space for storage.

She noted that most Thai parents begin separating rooms for their children from the age of eight. Creating a theme and choosing colours is a starting point for a child's room. Furniture should be matched to a child's age.

''Parents have a lot to play with. The theme may be adventurous or fun, and colours can be striking or pale. The room should have roomy storage for items such as toys, cartoons and books,'' she says.

While painting offers parents a do-it-yourself option, they may need professional assistance in choosing the right furniture.

''The furniture must be practical and fit into the room plan. Its design and colour should be congruous to the room concept. Some furniture pieces look pretty, but may not match the room concept,'' Ms Mayuri says.

With small children, the most important issue is safety. Furniture must have round corners and the bed should have a high curve to prevent tots from falling off. A small child's wardrobe should have low-hanging rails so that she can help herself with clothing.

For older children, the design should maximise space in the room by utilising space under the bed or chairs as additional storage to cupboards and shelves, Ms Mayuri says.

Parents should talk to their children to find out their favourite themes and colours, using the clues as a starting point for the design. You would be surprised how much a three-year-old knows about his or her tastes.

Themes such as space, airplanes and jungles are ideal for small children aged between three and ten.

As for colours, a girlish theme doesn't need to be flowery or pink: a pale sugar tone can make the room look equally feminine.

To break away from the old pattern, lilac can substitute for pink, and a soft leafy green can substitute for the usual pale yellow.

Experts suggest that parents focus on closed-door cupboards rather than open shelves since the room should be peaceful at night with no items to tempt a child.

In a child's room, opt for painted walls rather than wallpaper. Photographs and art crafts can be used for display. Apart from design, the bed and mattress are the top priorities for pre-teen children, followed by storage.

A youngster's room also provides an opportunity for parents to try out some creative DIY approaches. For example, wrapping carved paper over a lamp could cast an interesting light to highlight a child's room

A space to call your own- creating a home office
To be a successful work at home parent, you need a space to call your own- a place that will afford the privacy needed to work effectively. .
To be successful work at home parent, one needs to have a comfortable yet functional space in which to work. It not only provides the privacy you need, it lends credibility to what you do. Others are more likely to take your job seriously if you have a home office and set work hours. The ideal situation would be to turn a spare bedroom or den into an office. Unfortunately, many of us lack a spare room. But there may be other options available if you look around and take stock of what space you do have. Erma Bombeck wrote from her utility room. Many people create office space in a corner of their basement, in a converted garage or even a shed. My writing space as a child was the crawl space attic. When my parents weren't home, I would grab the ladder, and go up to my 'office." I have no clue where my sister, who was supposed to watching me was. My dream office is in a tree fort, but that's another story.

As an adult, I started writing in a spiral bound notebook at the kitchen table. When the kids were at school, I would transfer my writings to the computer. This was better than nothing, but being in the main part of the house made it very hard for me to concentrate. There was always housework that needed doing, and it was right in my face. A friend of mine was getting a new computer. A computer repairman had said her old computer was unable to be repaired. Straight out of college with an information technology degree, I offered to take it off her hands to see what I could do with it. I dragged out all my schoolbooks, and after a few days, had it working. I put a desk in my room, and I was set to go. I worked that way for several years. It was much better than the kitchen table, but it still lacked privacy and that "office feel" that I wanted. If I felt inspired to write at night, I couldn't as the glare from the computer monitor bothered my significant other, Ron. Recently, I sectioned off an area in the bedroom, and made a small (very small) office. I love it, and get more work done than ever. It is approximately 5 x 8 feet. I used pegboard as a wall between the bedroom and my office space. My desk faces the pegboard, which holds my bulletin board, some pictures and my degree. To my left I have a shelving unit that acts as another wall, as well as storage. In back of my desk and to my right are the corner walls of the bedroom. I have another small shelf and my filing cabinet against the right hand wall. Behind me, I put shelf runners and three shelves that are 36' long x 8" wide. My desk is a whopping 6 ft long and 3 ft wide, so I have plenty of storage under that, too. I still wish I had a spare room to write in, but I don't right now. We have one graduating high school this year, and one graduating in three years. I can be patient……..

Converting a closet into an office works quite well. If it is the kind that runs the length of the room, you only need to paint the walls, put a desk and filing cabinet inside, and place shelves above the desk. You have an instant office. You can remove the doors or keep them on so you can shut them when you are done with work for the day.

If you don't have a desk, you can easily create one with a sheet of plywood placed on top of two sawhorses. You can also attach the plywood to the wall with a brace or hinges. A long, low dresser can be converted to a desk by removing the drawers and cutting away the runners. An old kitchen table can also make a nice desk.

The important thing is to make sure you have sufficient storage. Utilize wall space by hanging shelves, and don't forget the space under the desk and on top of the filing cabinets. Be sure to place the filing cabinet near the desk or filing tends to be put off. Make sure you create space for a computer and a printer. You want to be able to do everything from your office, not have to go to another room to perform a task.

It doesn't matter whether you are in a corner of a room or in a garage, if you give your space a personal touch, you will be half way to a successful career. Now all you need is some self-discipline and a way to control those children!

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