You can completely redecorate a child's room without lifting a paintbrush or buying new furniture. All you need is some fabric and a little home decor sewing. Window coverings, bed linens, throw pillows, even simple slipcovers are easy to sew. When added all together, they make a dramatic difference. One of the keys is picking the right fabric for your project.
"Now wait a minute," you say. "That's fine for your well-behaved little darlings, but my kids will ruin any fabric item I put in their rooms in less than ten minutes.It's true children can be harder on home decor items than adults. But by choosing fabric carefully and making things you can wash, you can create a room that stands up to everyday use and still looks great.
Here are a few Kids' Fabric Dos and Don'ts:
DON'T Take a Young Child on Your First Trip to the Fabric Store
Now's the time to call in that baby sitting favor. You need to see what's available in what colors at what prices. You will probably need to go to more than one store. Unless you want to hear, "Are you done yet?" about 150 times, kids are best left at home for this initial outing.
Start with a decorating plan. Discuss the color scheme and accent colors with the child or children. Plan two trips to the fabric store if you have to – one to pick up swatches and one to make the final purchases after the kids have weighed in on their favorites.
DON'T Be Afraid of the Bargain Bin
If you know how much fabric you're going to need, you can save quite a bit on fun, but formerly expensive, accent fabric. Just be sure to err on the side of too much yardage rather than too little. With remnants, many pieces are discontinued patterns and what you see is what you get; you probably won't be able to return and get more should you run out.
DO Choose Child-Resistant Fabrics
There's no such thing as 100% child-proof fabric. Even bullet-proof Kevlar can be cut. You can, however, select fabrics that are naturally wear-resistant and easier to clean. Here are a few we recommend:
- Denim: There's a reason they made miners' clothes out of it. It's tough, easy to wash and easy to find. Denim works great in a variety of decorating themes from contemporary to nautical to cowboy. Blue tends to be a boys' color but denim is popular with girls too.
- Cotton duck: This sturdy fabric comes in all kinds of solid colors and is ideal for slipcovers, window coverings, and cushions. Because it's plain, it's an easy fabric to embellish. Best of all, it's inexpensive.
- Home decor cotton: This fabric is much sturdier than the cottons over in the Quilting section. You can find everything from designer prints to retro children's patterns. Even though it's 100% cotton, the manufacturer may recommend dry cleaning. But if you don't mind losing some of the original sizing (stiffness), you can wash these fabrics at home.
- Corduroy: It's soft but stands up well to wear. When you wash it, corduroy becomes comfortably worn.
DO Consider Fun, Textured Fabrics
You won't want to do a floor to ceiling curtain in faux leopard, but you should consider accent pieces with a playful texture. A pillow made from the popular, new Minky fleece could end up being your daughter's favorite home decor accessory. Minky fabric is a luxurious and silky soft microfiber that has the feel of mink and the softness of cashmere. It's pricey but oh-so wonderfully plush.
DON'T Choose Special-Care Fabrics
Some finer fabrics are difficult to clean and will be ruined the first time someone spills chocolate milk on them.
DO Look for Natural Fibers
Cotton and wool not only feel better to the skin but they also stand up better to constant use and repeated washings. Polyester and polyester/cotton blends tend to "pill" with regular use.