I think at some point in everyone’s lives we’ve all been guilty of overdoing it when it comes to a themed room. Not long ago, we talked about the good, the bad and the ugly about theme rooms.
You may have ready this article and then wondered how in the world can you showcase a theme you love without overdoing it? Well, our new series, “Literally Not”, hopes to answer that question for you by showcasing sample themes and then explaining how you can achieve that look without being too literal. That’s why it’s “Literally Not | Get the Look Without Being Too Literal”. We’ll cover the topic periodically with different examples. We’re not sure yet if it’ll be weekly or how our posting schedule will work yet for this particular topic, but we’ll let you know as soon as we get it sorted out.
This time I want to talk about kids rooms. Specifically we’re going to talk about a child’s dream room, with a firefighter theme. Now, kid’s furniture and accessory companies will gladly sell you a plethora of firefighter themed items; fire truck beds, fire hydrant bedside tables, firefighter wall clings, on and on and on. But, as we learned in our previous article — this will end up overwhelming the space. Let’s discuss why.
First, the overabundance of themed items will likely not grow very well with the child as they age. Most of these items will have a cute, kid-like look and feel to them which won’t work as your young firefighter becomes an adolescent. The desire to be a firefighter might not wane, but their desire to have kid’s firefighter stuff all over will definitely falter.
Second, the above concept of your child outgrowing these items will lead to a budget crunch for you. Why? Because as they outgrow those items, they will need to replaced by new items, which will cost you more and more over time. So, let’s begin by showing you how you can instill a firefighters theme into your child’s room without overdoing it, shall we?
Ladders: Ladders are an important part of a firefighter’s job. In the early days of firefighting, ladders were non-adjustable, straight wooden contraptions. Old ladders like these make great room decor. If you have tall storage, you can attach one with hardware to a sturdy cabinet (make sure it is also attached to the wall to prevent tipping) to allow your child access to items out of reach.
You could also bring in this element by finding an old, wooden, straight ladder and hanging it sideways on the wall. The older and crustier looking the better. If the surface is chipping, simply coat it with polyurethane to seal the piece and prevent further chipping. Once installed, you can hang frames inbetween the rungs of the ladder showcasing photos of your child, photos of firefighter implements (like fire trucks, fire stations or even old-fashioned firefighter equipment like horse drawn trucks or photos of old firemen in uniform), your child or a combination of both. Your frames can be a similar old wood to match the ladder or you can introduce additional firefighter elements by using brass or even red frames. Be creative with it!
The Element of Brass: Brass has long been a metal used in firefighting in equipment and pipe fittings. Introducing brass in a subtle way will convey your design intent without it smacking visitors in the face when they enter the space. It doesn’t have to be a brass fire hydrant or a brass fire helmet. Simply introducing the element of brass will allude to the overall firefighter theme without being literal about it. You can introduce brass with a bedside table lamp, details on a bedside table or even by changing out your furniture hardware, like dresser pulls. And no, I don’t mean go out and get firefighter themed brass furniture hardware! You can also introduce it with picture frames, as mentioned previously.
Burlap: Burlap or another textile of similar texture and color helps you introduce yet another element from firefighters, the material used to make their hoses and jackets. Draperies or even decorative accent pillows can be made out this material and used in the space. You could dress up your drapery panels with a red stripe even, just to add another tiny hit of the theme without drawing any serious attention to it. For the decorative accent pillows, you could screen print or heat transfer a firefighter’s crest or any other non-childish symbol onto the pillow, again to introduce the theme in a subtle way.
The Color Red: This goes without saying, the color red is typically associated with fire trucks. As such, incorporating a little red throughout the space will go a long way towards helping your theme. Rather than painting the entire room red, why not paint just an accent wall. If an accent wall seems like too much, try painting a few horizontal stripes of red in varying widths over a neutral background. You could also integrate red through the use of various accessories in the space. Think outside the box and you’ll be rewarded with a great design.
Diamond Plate: Now this one might be a little extreme, but it could turn out really cool. Diamond plate is used on fire vehicles because it seldom rusts, it makes for really nice brightwork and it’s slip-resistant. You can incorporate just a tiny bit of this material and it will go a long way towards making your point. Try purchasing a few small pieces and using them to dress up a desk, dresser or even your child’s bed.
If you’re really in it to win it, they make diamond plate baseboards and crown moulding. Most of thes products have come around due to the popularity of designing garages as man caves. They even make diamond plate floor tiles that are interlockable. I bet none of your kid’s friends will have a diamond plate rug. You could even hang them on the wall alternating between them and photos or artwork from your child. The possibilities are endless.
Follow any or all of the above tips and you’ll be well on your way to achieving the look of a firefighter theme room for your child without overdoing it. Your design should grow with your child, which will save you money in the long run. Have fun with it and get creative, you never know what you might come up with!