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Children are never too young to put their toys away

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Posted: Saturday, September 14, 2013 4:30 am

Janice Simonsen, a design spokeswoman for Ikea, was the guest on a recent online chat with the Washington Post. Here is an edited excerpt.

Can you give us some good tips on storing kids’ toys in their bedrooms? It always looks so messy.

Start with a flexible storage unit that can be easily reconfigured as your kids and their toys change. Children need to learn organizational skills at an early age, and being responsible for their own toys is a great place to start.

As a tip for young children who have not yet learned to read, why not tape a photo of the toy to be stored on the outside of the bin? As they get older, the bins can be labeled with the actual toy name.

Do you have any decorating suggestions for a girl and boy who share a room?

Look for ways to create privacy within the room. A decorative curtain strung on a wire cord can create a privacy screen. Free-standing wall units can also be used to create a division within the room. Let each child’s personality and interests come through in his or her section of the room. Color can be the unifying element for varying themes.

I want to decorate my 5-year-old son’s room. Any ideas and tips for painting and designing?

Children grow up so quickly, and their rooms need to grow with them. One way to make an easier transition is to keep walls more neutral in color and add color accents in the way of borders and wall motifs.

Textiles are the perfect way to create a room that works for your 5-year-old and are easy to change as he grows. Don’t forget functional storage pieces that can help teach organizational skills from an early age.

I always thought you should use the same color scheme throughout your home. However, yesterday I saw a beautiful home that had a completely different color palette in each room. What is your opinion about selecting a color scheme or multiple color schemes within a home?

I would recommend coordinating all colors rather than an entirely different color palette. Paint departments offer the perfect cheat-sheet if you want to vary the colors throughout your house. Their color swatches offer contrasting colors that still coordinate beautifully. Why not use their expertise?

If you want to experiment with a more contrasting color on a smaller scale, a powder room is the perfect place to start.

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