Don't be intimidated by vivid colors and patterns. This little girl's room will give you confidence.

Do you love bright colors but feel unsure about how to use them? Children's rooms are a great place to make a bold statement. That's what Karla McKinley did in her daughter's room. The vivid colors and prints she used are quite different from the softer colors found in the rest of the family's Dallas home.

The room began with the mahogany bed that 10-year-old Madison inherited from her grandparents. "The heavy furniture begged to be surrounded by bold prints and colors," says designer Ann Fox, who helped with the decor.

The strong fabric combination was the perfect choice. Stripes, solids, and prints in pinks and lime greens mix with outrageous oranges and yellows. The walls feature a hand-painted rose motif. An abstract pattern such as the one they used is easy and affordable to replicate.

Finally they added a leopard-print carpet. "It was the perfect weight for the bold colors and designs," Ann says. Madison agrees. "It just makes me happy," she says.

Coloring Outside the Lines
Designer Ann Fox shares these tips.

  • Keep colors in the same intensity, and they'll harmonize together.
  • Trim is important, so play it up. Painting doors and molding white can be a letdown when the rest of the room is bright.
  • Bold fabrics are often best for kids. They help hide stains. Mix stripes, plaids, and prints together.
  • Pull out the least dominant colors in a fabric to paint furniture. This will help balance the decor.