Helping your kids design and decorate their own bedrooms

Kids thrive in the right environment, which is why they love to have their own rooms with their own rules. But if you left your kids to decorate those rooms as they saw fit, things would go awry pretty quickly. Kids don't always have the stamina or aesthetic sense for great design - more often than not one wall is covered with overlapping posters while the other is devoted to a decoupage of photograph (some with scribbled-on faces, tween drama being what it is).

Your role should be as an advisor of course, because a room is just as much a place for self-expression as it is a place to rest.

Just as important as their self expression, however, is their comfort. For this reason, you'll want to consider installing radiant floor heating in your kids' bedrooms. Radiant heat is a great way to keep a room warm through energy-efficient means and while maintaining great air quality. And the controls are so easy that any kid can easily set and adjust temperatures.

Now that you've made that executive decision, defer to your children. But nudge them along a few of these design avenues.

1. Pick a theme or two. Since kids are still growing - in body and mind - don't expect their interests to linger, so when they decide on a theme be sure to pursue it lightly. While dinosaurs may be all the rage today, two years down the line those stenciled murals of a brontosaurus might be less cool than braces.

2. Insist on a bookshelf. Reading is the key to so much of education, and more often than not, the key to reading is just having some books around. Putting bookshelves in your kids' rooms will help them take ownership of their book collections and pride in their abilities.

3. Offer bunk beds. These are great for a shared bedroom, but you may find your kid wanting one no matter what. As sleepovers are a hallmark of childhood, it's not a bad idea to put in a bunk bed. These can give kids a greater sense of ownership in their room when friends come over.

Following these three tips, you may find your children more excited than ever about their rooms. With any luck all this enthusiasm and self expression will get them to tidy up a bit too!