If there’s one room in the home I love to spend time planning and decorating, it’s a child’s bedroom. I think it’s the overriding feeling that you have so much freedom with it; you can really go to town on the decor and have a lot of fun in the process! It doesn’t matter to me whether it’s a boy’s den or a little girl’s sanctuary – with sufficient doses of imagination and creativity you can produce some fabulous results (and not necessarily with the price tag to match, believe me!)
In my opinion, bringing a child’s bedroom to life is all about breaking the decor rules a little bit. Don’t feel you have to stick to the three primary colours in a toddler’s room, sparkly pink and purple for a girl or lemon pastels in the nursery – let your imagination run free and think outside the box in terms of things like storage solutions, colour choices, lighting and furnishings. Do let your child have a say in how they see their room developing, too – make it a joint project you can enjoy together. After all, it’s a place which should reflect your child’s personality and allow them to play and learn freely and creatively, as well as ensuring they’re in the perfect environment for a peaceful night’s sleep, of course!
Children’s needs and preferences are in a constant state of flux, which is obviously a big determining factor in their bedroom’s design and function. The trick is to create a space that can be easily adjusted to match their ever-changing needs and growing selves. With my own three children over the years, I have constantly chopped and changed the bedroom arrangements, from decorating a nursery for a girl, then tweaking it to suit a little boy, designing a bedroom to work for a boy and girl sharing and finally, creating separate bedroom spaces; one for the girls and one for my boy. It has certainly been a bit of a learning curve for me as to what works and what definitely doesn’t (for example, light-coloured carpets + potty training = no-no)!! So, having had lots of experience in this field over the past (almost) nine years, I thought I would put together a few pointers as to how to make your precious one’s sleeping, playing and living space the perfect place for them to grow and thrive in (without being a slave to the decor rules, remember!)
Storage & Display
Probably THE most important part of making your child’s bedroom work is getting the storage right. Keeping unwanted toy clutter at bay with plenty of storage space seems an obvious enough point, but also remember you want the child to be able to quickly and easily find their beloved possessions and then be able to independently tidy them away at the end of the day. This calls for some creative organisation skills on your part! Instead of the usual shallow boxes or baskets to neatly store things under the bed that your child frequently uses or plays with, how about a beautiful vintage suitcase to store your daughter’s cherished possessions or a few spare blankets in? This floral one from Cox & Cox is almost too pretty to hide underneath a bed! What’s more, it’s currently in the sale in cream for only £15 – go on, you know you want to…
Ikea is the current go-to store for affordable storage systems, the TROFAST and KALLAX series being popular choices, however much as I respect (and love!) these particular Swedish design systems, you can inject a little more ‘personality’ into your child’s room by looking to more unusual solutions for storage too.
This slightly more retro wire unit comes in mint green or pink for a cheerful pop of colour. The added bonus is that mummy doesn’t have to dust it!
This is a very clever little storage unit for a child’s room or playroom. The castor wheels make it easy to move about, plus it combines playful with practical.
Now we have the bigger toys and books stored properly, what about the little things? There are some adorable, yet practical products around which are perfect for storing and displaying your child’s favourite books and trinkets, too. Staying on the house theme, these little house-shaped shelves from Next would be very popular in a girl’s bedroom and because of their dinky size can be arranged on the wall above the bed, so ideal for providing easy access to reading books, a glass of water, tissues, that type of thing. On a similar note, this distressed white dolls house shelf from Cox & Cox is simply gorgeous, don’t you think?
For unisex appeal, this set of box shelves can work at any age. Fill them with paperbacks, trinket collections, dinosaurs of course too…! Children will love arranging and rearranging them and again I believe it’s so important for kids to have a say in how their room will look and work for them as individuals.
For an older child or teenager, I really like this shelf. Hung above a bed or desk, the metallic finish in grey is a little more grown up, meaning you can benefit from more years of use. Try hanging them in a trio in a line or stacked up a wall.
A child’s bedroom is one place in a house where you really don’t have to spend a fortune on expensive art to fill the walls. If you’re a sucker for mini ‘masterpieces’ brought home from school, be proud of them and display them, but rather than resorting to good old Blutack, protect them within funky coloured picture frames (Ikea is as good a place as any) or create a little art gallery wall by hanging them from a length of wire with little metal clips or pegs. Again, Ikea comes up trumps with this.
Image source: imeeshu.com
I was really inspired recently by this wall decor idea by Emma over at Life at the Little Wood. So simple yet so fun and an effective and economical way to fill up blank wall space in a child’s room, don’t you think?
Image used with kind permission from Life at the Little Wood
Use striking wallpaper or wall stickers in a child’s room to easily update an empty space behind a bed. These silver stars are neither gender nor age restrictive – find similar here.
Image source: Jelanie
On the subject of walls, don’t be afraid to keep to an all white palette for a child’s room, despite the fear of messy hands and grubby fingerprints! For an ultra-cool, modern decor scheme, look to our Scandinavian cousins and keep the walls white and furnishings simple. It really lets colours pop and it’s not difficult to refresh with a lick of white paint every now and then if those little hands (grasping crayons!) do wander.
Adding accents of black through furnishings and accessories can introduce depth to an otherwise white scheme. Don’t shy away from black in a child’s bedroom for fear of it being too oppressive, dark or grown up. It can look very cool when dotted around the room.
This bedroom is solely based around a black and white scheme, yet with just enough splashes of red, yellow and blue to bring it to life. I love the coloured pompom garland and bold striped rug. Such a room only needs minor tweaks over time to grow with the child.
Image source: Apartment Therapy
How wonderful is this room? Perfect for a boy and I just love the black bed frame (find similar in Ikea).
Image source: miniandbeau
Again, loving this set up which would be for you fans of midcentury design out there. If you take away the furnishings, it’s basically white walls and grey carpet, but add in some well planned doses of colour and you have a fabulous, fun and inviting space. The bursts of turquoise and orange are so cheery – note the little house shelves which proves they would look the part in a boy’s bedroom, too! Cover a vintage (or just plain old…) armchair in a bright or quirky fabric and you’ve got yourself the perfect bedtime reading nook.
Image source: Desiretoinspire
Kids’ rooms need to have good overhead lighting for general play and so on, but you can add lots of personality and up the fun factor through your choice of task and/or ambient lighting. Make sure your child’s bedside lamp allows them plenty of good clear light for reading a story and that their desk light is adjustable. Try BHS, Ikea or Next for a decent choice of children’s lighting.
There are just too many funky lighting options out there perfectly suited to a child’s room that I’m struggling to stick to a limited choice here, but these are some of my top picks:
This lightning bolt marquee style light is similar to the one in the bedroom picture earlier in this post. Pricey at £95, but a real statement piece!
This is a ‘girly’ choice, but not of the usual princessy type which is refreshing. Flamingos are truly having their moment in the design world right now.
And one for the boys…
Finally, this little anglepoise lamp makes an ideal desk light for late night homeworks and also comes in blue or pink, so a good all-rounder. (Apologies for the rather minute picture).
I’ll cover choosing kids’ furniture in another post soon, but hopefully this lot gets your creative juices flowing in the meantime! Any children’s room decor ideas you’ve tried and would like to share too?