A bedroom needs a bed was apparently about as far as our grandparents thought, based on the miserable pictures of my dad's cold drab room with nothing warming and welcoming for him to come home to.
My neice on the other hand lives in a sugar-spun pink paradise with fairytale castles painted on the walls.
Somewhere between the two lies the sensible reality for most of us. However, it is increasingly becoming clear that the thought and effort we put into bedrooms for youngsters will reward us for years to come.
Start by ensuring that the curtains work properly. You need to be able to make the room properly dark, so that midsummer sunshine does not wake the kids at 4.00am. This is advice that benefits you as a parent so don't ignore it.
Interesting colour theory studies seem to point to the idea that the actual colours on the walls is less important than the intensity of the hue. Lots of bold vibrant primary colours are stimulating. While this is great for alphabet books, it doesn't help the young ones sleep as much as more muted tones. Having said that, as they get older, personal preferences come in to play and kids like to exercise a bit of control. Once they are old enough to make decisions about colour, go ahead and indulge them (within reason).
From babies to teenagers, the issue is always storage space. Therefore we suggest you go for the extra storage space that fitted bedroom furniture can provide. Yes, you won't be able to take it with you if you move house, but after an eight year old has set at a wardrobe with the blue crayola, who wants to take it anyway?
When it comes to televisions, computers and music systems, be cautiuous about allowing items that will stop kids from sleeping. Sleep is so important to their development that anything that stops them sleeping is doing them harm and affecting their chances of future success.
Finally I urge you to let them put up posters, hang model aircraft and so on. The bedroom is where the kids can learn about their ability to stamp their will on their environment. Stopping them from ruining the 'family rooms' is a great way of teaching them about boundaries, but they should be able to create their own space. Having said that, NEVER let a teenager paint the entire bedroom black. It only leads to bad fashion disasters and a really bad taste in music. In know, because that kid in the black room... that was me.