I’ve been looking forward to writing this post about kids bedrooms because we have a new baby on the way and we’re moving our son into a bigger bedroom so we’re coming up with loads of great ideas to decorate and style it. Kids bedrooms allow you a little bit of leeway in letting your imagination run wild; after all, that’s what you want your child’s imagination to do!
You could pick a kids room theme and come up with some creative ways to incorporate it into storage, bed, murals, etc. Or you could stay quite neutral and allow accessories, posters and toys be the exciting parts of your kids bedroom. If your child is old enough then obviously you can get them involved in the design process, it is their room after all!
We’ve broken this guide down into the important ideas to concentrate on that will all combine towards the perfect kids bedroom. Start with understanding exactly what your child’s bedroom will be used for, then think about the general decor theme you want to go with, then add in your considerations for furniture, adventure, practicality and safety.
What is Your Kids Bedroom For?
This may or may not be a question you have actually asked yourself before, but your child’s bedroom may be used very differently to other children’s bedrooms. Is it purely for sleep or does it double up as a playroom too?
The way you plan the room will differ greatly depending on exactly how it is used. It should always be a calming, comforting place to encourage sleep because good sleep is vitally important, especially for children. However, if it is a multi-function room then you may want to create zones to separate sleep from play.
Good storage will also be important so that the room can be transformed into a sleep haven at night.
Kids Bedroom Decor
The way you decorate your child’s bedroom needs to be carefully considered. It may be tempting to create a stimulating environment to excite their imaginations, but they also need to be able to calm down for bedtime. Here are a few areas to think about.
Colour and Schemes
A simple idea is to go with a neutral colour for the walls and use pops of colour through posters, wall decals, accessories and books. I would avoid too many reds or bright greens which are quite stimulating colours.
This does not mean you have to be reserved though! In our son’s room we have gone for a ‘space’ theme and one wall will be a deep black-blue (Farrow and Ball Hague Blue) with stars drawn on in gold pen.
Mural walls are a great starting point from which you can get inspiration for the colour of the rest of the room. Picking a theme is often helpful to get the creative juices flowing, but be mindful of how quickly kids grow out of interests, so think long term and fairly generic (like the example of ‘space’ that we have gone for).
If the room is shared between two kids then perhaps you can personalise each side of the room so that it feels a bit like they have their own space. This could be subtle differences in colour or dramatic contrasts in theme and style.
Think early on about lighting as you might want to incorporate that into zones, such as a reading nook.
A nice warm, mid level (30 or 40 Watt) bulb that gives a lovely soft ambient light when combined with a lampshade or fitting that diffuses it well would be a perfect choice.
If your child likes a night light, a great idea is a set of fairy lights hanging from the ceiling or in a mason jar. We also love these dinosaur night lights, although they didn’t work in our ‘space’ theme (but really, who’s judging!?).
The window treatment is another place you can add in some great design. Make sure whatever you choose will block out as much light as possible at night. Gro-Blinds are great for blocking light, but you’re kind of stuck with black out or not; who has time to take them down and put them up everyday!? So if the room is used a lot during the day you may want something that easily opens and closes.
Good quality roman or roller blinds are a great option or shutters if you can stretch the budget. With roman blinds you can search for the perfect fabric to go with your room decor and get them made up by a local seamstress; we’re lucky that my sister is THE best in the world! (Emma’s Handmade Curtains).
As mentioned earlier, wall decals are so popular right now, which means there is a huge variety out there. Just head to Etsy and enter ‘kids wall decals’ and browse through hundreds of ideas that could even help you choose your entire scheme!
Don’t be afraid of having a go at wallpaper or full-wall murals, with a bit of patience anyone can do a decent job of it. If you don’t want to DIY, it wouldn’t be too expensive to get a professional in for a feature wall.
An easy feature wall would be a blackboard or chalkboard wall. Think of it as the equivalent of a journal to get all your child’s thoughts out of their head before bedtime. You could encourage your child to draw what happened today.
Don’t go to crazy stuffing in lots of loosely related nick-nacks onto every available surface (you know who you are! 😉 ). Subtle references to a theme or your child’s interests will give some personalisation to the room. For example, we have a this star shaped light fitting, a rocket tent and rocket bed linen in our son’s room, but not much more ‘space’ related accessories.
There are certain things that lend themselves well to becoming ‘interesting’ accessories such as light fittings, bed linen, drawer knobs, cushions, night lights, etc.
It can be useful to have some toys in the room so that they can play if they wake up early. But how do they know when it’s too early to get up? A Gro-Clock is a great way of teaching them when it’s time to get up.
Furniture and Practicality
Oh yeah, this room needs to actually work as a bedroom! Don’t forget the most important parts of the room. You need a good bed, practical storage for clothes and toys and I think it’s also important to have some form of chill out area that is not the bed so that they can escape when they need some quiet time.
The key thing to keep in mind when thinking about beds is the future. Your child will grow! Plan ahead and perhaps don’t go for a cute, elaborate, themed bed that your child will grow out of (both physically and mentally) in a couple of years if you don’t like the thought of having to go through the process and cost again.
Having said that, you can get quite adventurous with the bed if you want to. A bed that they love can help with creating smooth bedtime routines (sometimes!). You could go with a very simple, traditional bed and use bed linen as the creative element or you could go for something a bit more exciting. Elevated beds are the obvious choice, giving the chance to create an extra sleeping space underneath or more storage. This perfect example below is from The Socialite Family.
You may get more of your money’s worth by getting a carpenter to put something bespoke together that includes storage than buying a ready made bed. It will also be perfectly suited to your needs.
Look back at what this room is going to be used for and list all the things you need to store. You’re going to need some clothes storage and Ideally somewhere for books. That may be all you really need if it’s just a room for sleep.
If it doubles up as a playroom then storage really needs to work hard so that you can declutter before bed.
- You could make use of any under-bed space with a pull out drawer on castors.
- Integrate storage into an elevated bed (Ikea do a great, simple elevated bed that is begging to be hacked).
- Use simple bucket-based storage that can be filled quickly at the end of the day.
- Open shelves allow you to display your child’s favourite toys, books and pictures but keep them off the floor.
Children thrive on routines, they are just begging to be shown how to act in this world and anything that makes life seem simple and comfortable is just what they need.
Your kid’s bedroom should make the routine easy. Buckets or bins for toys to get put away quickly, a reading nook to read a couple of stories before bed, a cuddly toy for them to take to bed after reading.
Whatever you find works for your child, stick with it every day and it should become a habit after a while.
I think the two key elements of good parenting are showing your child you love them and encouraging their imagination. The latter can be helped with a little adventure planning.
I know I said that you need to try and reign back on excitement when it comes to the room where your child needs to sleep, but as we’ve discussed, if you have a good tidying strategy then this shouldn’t be a problem in multi-function kids rooms.
I think this starts with books and every kids bedroom should have a dedicated reading nook. If space is a problem then this could just be the bed. But if you can have a little area where you and your child can sit down together and explore some books, at any time of the day, that is a good way to help your child’s imagination thrive.
Add in anything that can facilitate imagination creation. We have a pop-up rocket tent that our son loves to hide in or pretend he’s an astronaut. A wigwam is another great alternative. Using the walls to create incredible visuals, as discussed before just keep the walls around the bed relatively un-stimulating.
The chalkboard wall idea would also be great by creating an outlet for their thoughts, frustrations, imagination and dreams. If you allow them to go crazy on that wall it can help save other walls!
The elevated bed also comes into it’s own here, becoming a tall tower, air traffic control, space ship and hiding place without much effort.
My opening thoughts touched on the fact that you, yourself can let your imagination run wild when coming up with ideas for your kid’s bedroom. This room should be more of an exercise in looking through the eyes of a child than what would look great in an Ideal Home magazine, although you might find you accidentally find it fits both bills.
It’s often easy to overlook the safety aspect in a kids bedroom. As a parent you’re obviously subconsciously making those assessments as you plan the room, but here are some things to keep in mind.
- Think about how they might be in the room. Will they get so excited that they forget about being careful and bump into protruding edges?
- If there is a carpet or rug in the room could they trip over it? If so what will they fall onto?
- Electricians recommend (in the UK) that you don’t use the electrical socket covers as they can make things worse. See this video for more information.
- If you have a heavy piece of furniture, make sure it is fixed to the wall at the back so it can’t topple over.
- Make sure drawer and cupboard knobs are not small enough to get swallowed. These can be easily unscrewed by our little ingenuitive rascals!
- If you have accessible shelves, make sure they are low enough so that your child isn’t trying all sorts of risky ways of getting to the contents. If you don’t want your child to get at them then they probably shouldn’t be in the room.
- If you have blinds, do not let the chords hang low enough for your child to reach them and potentially get them around their neck.
I hope you have as much fun designing your children’s bedroom as we did, don’t hold back and just imagine what would make them really happy.