An important part of childhood is having your own room to sleep, play, hide and dream. For many of us, designing a room for our kids is a fun and happy experience, often informed by our own childhood interests and desires. But it can be easy to get it wrong, with poor layout choices, the wrong lighting, or simply the wrong colour scheme. Using restraint is important too, it’s easy to go overboard and fill the room with clashing tones, too much furniture or inadequate storage. Kids’ rooms need to be multifunctional, inspiring creativity and fostering imagination while also feeling safe, secure and, of course, conducive to a restful nights sleep – rest is as crucial to a child’s development as study and play. There are many ways to design and decorate the perfect space for your kid, so check out some top tips below.
It’s important to choose a neutral tone for the walls, as this provides something of a blank canvas on which to hang paintings, photographs and posters. Strong colours can be overly imposing, and give the room a claustrophobic feel. Most parents agree that it is better to paint rather than use wallpaper, less hassle and not as disastrous should your little one decide to add a bit of graffiti to his or her surroundings. If you can’t resist a splash of brighter colour, consider a feature wall, and if you can’t resist wallpaper, make sure the pattern is simple and not too cluttered.
Kids come with a lot of (physical) baggage. A lot of parents-to-be tell themselves that they will keep things minimal, not have vast amounts of stuff. But the reality is, you accumulate toys in huge numbers, drawers and closets full of a constant rotation of clothes, reams of drawings and much more. Having adequate storage space is essential, but also the right kind of furniture – everything needs to be easily accessible, yet easy to clear away. Luckily, many stores have kid-specific storage solutions, which often double up as furniture.
You may love your wood floors in the rest of the house, but a soft carpet is often preferable in a kid’s room. Children love to play on the floor, and a carpet offers a soft landing from any trips and falls. If you have wooden floors, a soft sheepskin rug is ideal for little feet. Or a mat with a fun pattern or a road layout doubles as a playing surface and a rug.
A very important factor in any room, lighting should be versatile and changeable, suitable for a range of activities, from play, to study, to relaxation. Desk lamps for homework are essential, but consider livening up the desk with a fun table lamp. Standing lamps with lampshades are good to keep some ambient light if your little one is afraid of the dark. And dimmer switches are useful to change from functional light to mood lighting.
We mentioned that kids’ rooms need to be multipurpose. Having separate play, work and sleep zones are important. Playing is a really important part of brain and mood development, so creating the right space is essential. Your child will love a den, wendy house or indoor teepee to let their imagination run wild in – or just to hide out and contemplate when they have been naughty. Put yourself in your little one’s shoes – everything should be accessible from their height, they should be able to get on and in the bed and reach their books and toys. The sleeping zone should be comfortable and cosy, with not too many distracting features around it.
An often overlooked part of any room, the ceiling in a child’s room can be used to great effect. Glow in the dark stars are soothing and add to the ambience of the room, and certainly helped me to drift off to sleep when I was a kid. Mobiles are also an evergreen children’s accessory, and they come in a wide range of themes to suit your child’s interests. Fun or decorative lamp shades also help set a nice, relaxed, playful vibe.
A child’s room should be a little sanctuary, a place to explore their imagination, to study effectively and to sleep peacefully. Keep all that in mind when you are designing the space, and your little one will be happy and content.