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17 Creative and Colorful DIY Ideas for Kids' Spaces

02/20/2015 04:14 pm ET | Updated Apr 22, 2015

Laura Gaskill, Houzz Contributor

Looking for an alternative to cartoon character decor? There are tons of ways to put a personal stamp on a kids' space, and they don't need to be costly. From a bunk-bed fort to wall art, these projects and ideas are sure to get your creative juices flowing.

Creative Ways to Tame the Mess in Kids' Bedrooms

1. Tepee. Kids can use it as a pretend house for dramatic play or get cozy inside and read books -- either way, it's sure to become the focal point of the room.

2. Chalkboard door. Requiring less commitment than a full chalkboard wall (but just as much fun), a chalkboard door gives kids permission to draw on the walls... always a hit!

3. DIY zigzag wall color. Use a straight edge to draw a zigzag border about halfway up the wall, then it tape off. Fill in the lower portion with the wall color of your (or your child's) choice for a creative, yet easy, DIY upgrade.

4. Fort bunk. This bunk comes kitted out with a built-in fort feature, but you could whip up your own version using a top bunk and a sheet. Keep it simple or (if you have a sewing machine) add a few extra features like a window, a door and pockets for bedtime reads.

5. Open-concept play kitchen. Rig up a play kitchen with a modern twist by installing a few open shelves at child-height and stocking them with mini grocery store basics. Attach handles and pulls to the edge of a play table and paint the surface to approximate the look of a stove, and hang wee oven mitts.

6. Washi-tape wall art. Get creative with that craft store favorite, washi tape, and stick a one-of-a-kind scene right onto your child's wall. It should peel off easily, but test a small piece in an inconspicuous spot before getting started, just to be sure.

Make Playtime Exciting With New Kids' Toys

7. Suitcase storage. Vintage suitcases make sturdy, portable storage containers for everything from dress-up clothes to storybooks. Slide one or two under the bed, or stack them to make a side table.

8. Candy-colored decor. With white walls acting as a blank slate, feel free to pile on bright ice cream and candy-store hues, like hot pink, lemon yellow and vibrant turquoise. Cheerful prints and whimsical details like buntings and dream catchers will appeal to pint-size tastes.

9. Rolling cart storage. Have art supplies, will travel! Tote crafting necessities like markers, paper, crayons and more in a wheeled storage cart for easy access, no matter where your little one wants to set up shop.

10. Retro couch. A love seat or small-scale sofa makes a comfy spot for reading books with a young child -- and older kids will love having a "grown-up" hangout spot for chatting with friends. Go with an unfussy fabric in a dark print, so you can relax about those sticky fingers.

11. Framed textiles. Looking for a quick and affordable way to fill a wall with art? Textiles make an unexpected addition -- and they're the perfect way to use up just a square of a beloved but damaged pillow cover, blanket or rug.

12. Pegboard wall. You've likely seen pegboards used in the kitchen to hold pots and pans (thanks to Julia Child's famous example), but why not use one in the little one's room, too? You can hang (and rearrange) artwork, shelves, baskets, cups of art supplies and more on this hardware store workhorse, and you'll never need to make another nail hole.

13. Clipboard art display. A few rows of basic boards outfitted with bulldog clips transform a blank wall into a creative display space for a rotating collection of your child's art. Put up just a few or install rows all the way up the wall, depending on how much gallery space your budding artist needs.

14. A home for books. A bookcase with house-like doors hides clutter and can even stand in as a mod dollhouse. Craft your own take on this by painting (trace first) simple window, door and roof shapes on the outside of a plain cabinet.

15. Wire name sign. Pick up a spool of flexible wire at a craft store, and bend and twist it into the shape of your child's name. No wire? You could use an old wire hanger from the dry cleaner, or even twisted-together pipe cleaners. Make the sign as big or as small as you like, and pin it to the wall for a personal touch that's easy on the budget.

16. Pretty patchwork headboard. Give a simple toddler or twin-size headboard a more personal look and a bit more comfort by draping a well-loved vintage quilt over it. To make it permanent, sew seams along the edges to make a slipcover that can be removed for laundering.

17. Loft with slide. Looking for a bigger change? You can't get much bigger than this awesome double-level loft with a ladder and slide! What little one could resist that?

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