Come on, be honest, what's in your spare room? For some, it may be a haven for visitors, immaculately decorated in neutral tones, but for most of us, it's the dumping ground. Pictures we don't dislike enough to take to charity shops, exercise equipment, once used, now ignored but saved for that 'just in case' moment, a wardrobe full of clothes that no longer fit. Or it could still be the teenage bedroom of your long moved out children, abandoned when they left to go to university or began the next step in their adult lives.
According to the ONS, there are around 18.6million spare rooms in the UK, spaces that are often underused, overlooked, and neglected. The highest proportion are owned by over 55s whose children have flown the nest, but who don’t want to downsize from their existing home. With a wealth of experience in nurturing a family already, turning a spare room into a bedroom for a foster child could be the perfect reason to transform a space in your home.
For a foster child, a room is more than just a space to sleep; it's a personal space for them and an opportunity to create a sense of belonging in your home. Many foster children have never had a bedroom to call their own and have grown up in households with limited boundaries and rules so, having their own bedroom provides them with the opportunity to adjust to living with new structures and surroundings.
It’s really easy to create an inexpensive space for a foster child to make their own. Giving them the opportunity to have ownership of their space for however long they are living in your family doesn't necessarily mean that you then have to redecorate when they move on from your placement.
Upcycling and reusing older furniture is a cheap and creative way of decorating a room. A fresh lick of paint can give it a bright and new lease of life, ready for someone else to hopefully do the same through using it. It can also add colour to a neutral background.
There are a multitude of apps available which enable users to create personalised artwork that they can then print and frame. Apps like Canva are an invaluable resource which provide a variety of templates which can be customised easily so, with a few clicks of a button a new child in the family can have their name on the door of their room.
Wall stickers and art are an easily changeable way of changing a space to suit the needs of a new inhabitant. Their peel on, peel off nature means that a blank white wall can become a riot of colour in seconds.
A simple chalkboard wall, painted with magnetic blackboard paint, is perfect for children of all ages. Aside from allowing them to be creative, the magnetic element also gives the opportunity to stick postcards, souvenirs, and photos to their wall with minimal damage.
If you have a spare room that is gathering dust and are considering adding some more life to it, we’d love to hear from you. Affinity Fostering work with foster carers from all walks of life and backgrounds.