|Photo courtesy of archzine.org|
First, set a budget. Decide how much money your can afford for the project and decide if the child has to contribute to that fund. For the lessons in this article, it’s not really important for them to contribute, since it’s about budgeting and planning, rather than earning.
Next, decide the parameters. Are the floors off-limits? But an area rug is okay? What about paint? It’s reasonable to let them choose the wall or ceiling color, but what about the trim, molding and doors? Can they paint the furniture, or buy new?
Once the limits are set write them down on paper along with the budget and have everyone sign the decorating contract. Make sure they understand that they only have this amount of money, that it needs to account for sales tax and shipping, if applicable, and help them create a complete plan before they ever lift a paint brush or buy a comforter. Teach them to ask about return policies at stores and how to care for packaging and save receipts in case they need to take something back.
Make sure the contract states that you get to review the plan before implementation to assure that the limits were kept in mind, but otherwise try to keep your hands off the project. Not only will your kid feel valued by being trusted and allowed to express some personal taste, they’ll come to understand the real cost of goods, learn to prioritize and make choices they must live with, and begin to learn to budget. They might even care for and clean the room since it is theirs, not yours! Priceless!