Back to School: Nurtuting Imagination through Decoration

Ah the joy of Back-To-School!  So many things to thing about and shopping to be done…

New clothes… new backpack… new lunchbox….

But what about that special place your little one spends hours in each and every day?  In today’s post, guest contributor Sarah Nehamen shares some fun tips on making that space ultra special.

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It’s that time of year and the excitement is contagious: new clothes, shoes, notebooks, markers, stickers and hairstyles. Teachers show up with huge hugs, bright smiles, and freshly decorated classrooms.

The little ones get dropped off and you eagerly anticipate how their day has gone, how the whole school year will turn out: Is this going to be a great year for Tessa? I wonder in what ways Danny is going to grow? How can I help Alex potentiate his love for music? 

As wonderful as it is to think about all of the goodness they will soak up at school, there is another place where the children will be spending a huge amount of time, that special place each of them calls their home, their bedroom. Why not make it a space rich in inspiration for personal and artistic development?


Besides, it’s no secret that children who are surrounded by creative stimulation have better chances of growing academically, socially and emotionally.

Here are some simple things you can do to get started:

1) Accent the room with vibrant art and meaningful objects.

Most people do this naturally, but why not a reminder? Place objects and pictures in the space that evoke feelings of joy, excite unique thoughts, and suggest humor and play. Don’t worry if one item or another matches perfectly with the rest of your home décor. Years later, when your grown children are doctors, writers or firefighters, it won’t matter whether or not their room matched the den.


2) Give the child ownership of their space:
When your child reaches the age of personal preference, ask him or her what they would like to see. Take them out to shop or encourage craft projects that can develop into items they want to see in their room. If they’re too young to get involved hands-on, have them watch you as you decorate. Keep in mind that this is a kid’s environment. The more they sense “themselves” in the way it looks, the better. {They may actually be inclined to clean it every so often—but don’t count on it:)

3) Keep the room ‘clutter free:
Feng Shui principles advise that all rooms remain clutter free. This creates a calmer atmosphere and an easier place to sleep, play and do homework. Even though “Feng Shui” may seem like more of a grown up concept, kids are sensitive to their surroundings and can be easily affected by a messy space.

4) Bonus Room Renewal! Make it a theme:  
Themes are wonderful because they are easy to follow and each can become a subject with which a child identifies. As they grow up, you can encourage them to look for items that match their theme or have them make their own art pieces that are consistent with what interests them. It might be a particular animal or object of nature, a toy, color or pattern that dominates their fascination. For the little ones, you can take the reigns and pick—don’t forget that a simple baby picture of dolphins can lead to a lifelong interest in the sea and all the creatures living there.

I’ll always remember how my room changed over the years, starting with a purple garden theme and evolving into a full-fledged teenaged poster den.

Happy decorating!



About Sarah

SaraHeadshotSarah Nehamen is a designer, childrens’ art teacher and award winning inventor. She founded InJoy Artistry after creating hand painted wedding contracts for friends and family. That quickly lead to baby announcements and other personalized gifts. When her youthful designs grew in popularity, she decided to make them available for everyone. Prior to launch, Sarah developed and licensed an internationally distributed beauty product, co-founded a boutique branding company, and worked as an art director for BBDO, a global advertising agency. Sarah is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and the Creative Circus Advertising School in Atlanta. When she is not painting or teaching, she Injoys spending time outdoors in Santa Monica and volunteering with The Art of Elysium, a local organization that brings the arts to hospitalized youth.

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What fun ideas!  How will you make your little one’s room a source of constant inspiration?  Do you have a special color scheme or a special theme?


  1. Clutter drives me a little crazy so I’m happy to hear an additional reasons that support my need to keep everything clean. It makes me feel a little less neurotic!

  2. I love those tips! Clutter makes my brain hurt, but I can’t seem to get RID of the clutter in my home.

  3. We need to work on the clutter free part. The kids have claimed their rooms for sure though!

  4. Great ideas! I think at back to school time, most people don’t think about the bedroom. My son is about to turn 4, and I have been thinking about asking him how he would like his room. He is old enough to have some input!

    • It’s true Kecia, we are so focussed on the obvious stuff (clothes and school supplies) that we tend to forget what I would argue is in fact the most important thing: their personal space which often is their work space as well. Happy decorating with your son. That should be a fun adventure!

    • Yeah at age 4 he probably has a LOT of ideas:) And opinions! Happy decorating too!

  5. I love when rooms are clean and clutter free. These are great tips!

  6. These are great tips! My daughter is 6 and wants to paint her room. It kind of makes me sad because we worked so hard on her striped wall, but we know how nice it is for them to make it their own.

    • It is so nice for our kids to feel empowered by having control over the design of their rooms but I completely understand how you feel about her stripped wall Kim! You put so much effort into creating a fun and unique environment for her when she was little and now she’s “outgrown” it.. 🙁 What a fun adventure for you and her though to transform her space into what she wants at this stage in her life.

      • Yeah, I hear you. That sounds like an adventure. It’s like tearing down a piece of art in itself. Plus stripes are super ‘in’ these days…I guess it’s hard to let that go, but will be nice to give her some ownership. Have fun with the paint!

  7. Angela S says:

    I like your suggestion to put vibrant art and meaningful objects in the room. The clutter is a constant battle.

    • I have to say it’s somewhat nice to hear that everyone else struggles with clutter Angela, because it is a constant battle in our house as well. What I love is when my girls make a huge effort and get everything cleaned up.. then they look around with a HUGE smile and say ‘Wow! It looks so nice! Let’s keep it that way”. And I cherish the lack of clutter for as long as it lasts… Bright colors fill me with energy. I LOVE them!

      • Me too! Love me some color. Colors really do affect everything. One of my favorite books is called “Colors for your every mood.” It’s a simple interior decorating book about colors and how they make you feel.

  8. I think I need to remember #3 for myself. My room is definitely cluttered.

  9. I am in the middle of cleaning out my girls’ rooms for a summer purge. Hoping that we will be reorganized before school starts.

  10. Love these idea/tips. I need more of #3 in my life. My first bedroom also had a garden theme.

  11. My daughter is older, so she has mastered the clutter-free part, but my son hasn’t quite made it yet. I like the step of giving ownership!

    • You are so lucky Naomi! I can’t say that my 17 year old has mastered the clutter free part. It’s not for a lack of trying.. It’s how she prefers her room but we’ve noticed big changes when her work load gets really heavy. Good luck with teaching your son 😉 Yes, giving our kids ownership of their room is so important.

    • Yeah boys and girls — sooo different.

  12. My house is nothing but clutter. I wish it wasnt though. I think I would breathe better if it was clear.

  13. My kid’s share a room, and it’s a small room, so making it their own is a little harder to do. They don’t seem to mind too much, though.

    • My sister and I shared a room for most of my growing up years Crystal but we each had one wall that was our own and we could do with it what we chose (within limits of course) It was a great way to declare our individuality within our shared space. As we got older we used a book case to split our room in two.

  14. I am with you on #3… I despise clutter. 🙂

  15. I love these tips! Thanks!

  16. We need to pick up a couple of pieces for our nursery!

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