Design Recipes: The do’s and don’ts of kid-friendly colors

Cathy Hobbs
Tribune News Service
Muted tones help create a soothing yet inviting children’s bedroom. (

 Whether bright, muted or somewhere in between, kid-friendly colors come in various shades and color combinations. Gone are the days when pink was the go-to for girls and blue for boys. From fashion to home decor, interesting and unexpected color combinations are emerging. When looking to create a child-friendly space, here are some tips to keep in mind for creating an ideal color palette.


1. Create a color palette with at least three colors.

2. Build a color story off a neutral color palette or foundation. Colors such as taupe, white, brown and even gray can work well.

3. Add an accent color to your color scheme and be sure to repeat the same color elsewhere in the space.

4. Add accessory enhancers such as artwork, fun bedding, area rugs and toss pillows.

5. Use bright, bold colors such as hot pink, bright yellow, vibrant green and ruby red.


1. Create an overly dark or overly bright color palette. In many cases a successful combination has a color balance of bold and soothing colors.

2. Forget to mix similar colors together. Mixing various soft pastel colors together can create a soothing and interesting combination.

3. Overlook the opportunity to make small rooms feel larger with mirrors.

4. Be afraid to create a color palette that may include a combination of unexpected colors.

5. Omit adding texture to a children’s space. Try a textured toss pillow, fluffy area rug or plush throw.

A child’s room with a mix of pastel colors creates a soothing yet bright color palette. (Design Recipes/TNS)

Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at or visit her website at .