First, we really engaged our daughter in the discussion when we moved into our new home and it was time to decorate her room. Her immediate reaction? I want Dora. Ours? Look of disgust. But rather than brushing it off, we talked through it with her, offered some alternative options that we both liked, and together, determined it would be a Disney-free zone.
Next, we brought in whimsy in other ways. Straying from the typical kids' room road map doesn't mean you can't have fun. Airy canopies, sparkly butterfly accents, and an amazing, over-sized wall decal all seemed very princess-like, but sans Cinderella.
We let her pick some of the key elements but we subtly led her in the right direction. Rather than shopping at Target or Toys R Us where Pooh Bear and Eeyore greet you down every aisle, we went to Ikea, Pottery Barn Kids and looked online (DwellStudio and Serena and Lily) for more options.
Mommy and me
We incorporated some grown up finds, which she absolutely loved. A Lucite table lamp, cool picture frames (filled with family photos) and throw pillows that came from the same stores mommy shops at (though in pink, of course). All of which got her interior-design bug buzzing -- and her mind off Buzz Lightyear.
Of course we indulge her with Mickey Mouse and My Little Pony dolls, but they all live happily stashed away in her closet when she's not playing with them. We had the inside of her closet painted bubble gum pink so she has no qualms about hiding them away for the night.
And in the end, if she begs and pleads for a little Strawberry Shortcake or Sesame Street... I could never deny her altogether. There's plenty of room in the toothbrush stand for all those friends and more.