(Family Features) Costs for furnishing and decorating a child's room can mount quickly, but with careful planning and a few smart purchases, the decisions you make for that nursery or toddler's room can create a functional and clutter-free space that grows with your child well into the teen years.
From convertible furniture to neutral walls, you can establish a framework that evolves as your child's interests change, significantly extending the life of those early investments.
Lorie Marrero, a certified professional organizer and author of "The Clutter Diet," has partnered with the experts at ClosetMaid to offer these tips for creating a room that transitions with your youngster as childhood gives way to adolescence.
Invest wisely. Select furniture that will adapt to your child's needs in the highest quality your budget allows. For example, if you're starting with a nursery, choose a crib that converts to a toddler bed and even a twin or double bed years down the road. Choose a dresser that can double as a changing table during the early years, with pulls that a toddler or young child can easily manage when the time arrives.
Keep flexibility first. With each purchase, consider how the item will serve your child's needs over a span of several years. This is true even in the closet, where space once allocated for tiny garments must eventually give way to larger and bulkier attire. One solution is a multi-functional closet organization system, such as ClosetMaid's ShelfTrack, which can be altered as children grow and their needs change. For younger children, maximize closet space by utilizing three levels of wire shelving for clothing. As they get older, it's easy to reconfigure the design by adjusting shelving or adding accessories such as baskets and shoe racks.
Make the most of accessories. Establish a neutral palette that can change to reflect your child's personality as they grow. Change up bedding and other decorative items. Dress up cubbies and storage spaces with pops of color using handy ClosetMaid fabric drawers, which can be easily removed to encourage to help out at cleaning time. On the walls, avoid the cost and work of repainting to match each new look by using temporary adornments, such as decals that peel away leaving no sticky residue.
"You're doing yourself a big favor by establishing a solid foundation of furniture and storage in a child's room from the start," Marrero said. "Strategic purchases that last for years will let you focus on helping to make your child's personality shine in the bedroom, starting with an adaptable storage system that helps set an early standard for keeping clutter under control."