Kids' Bedroom Design Ideas & Tips

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When you decide to redecorate your child’s bedroom, nurture their greatest asset: imagination. Your children are talented artists, seasoned storytellers, actresses, actors, musicians, and budding entrepreneurs. What keeps them going is their creative energy that radiates into every aspect of their lives from the moment they wake up through bed time and beyond. Don't leave them with a bland bedroom: your kids deserve a space that inspires and empowers them.

Be Practical

Rule number one for decorating a kid's room: your child is not going to stay a baby forever. In a few years, she will outgrow her favorite cartoons and dolls for fashion items and makeup. At a moment's notice, he will lose interest in his building blocks and toy cars, and he'll be chasing drum sets and video games instead. Be prepared for sudden and unexpected changes. You don't want your children to outgrow their furniture too quickly.

Rather than investing in expensive, immediately age appropriate décor, pick basic themes that will evolve and adapt with your child. Buy a few age-appropriate decorative items, but stay practical with the really expensive stuff. Your children's interests will flip flop, but one thing's for sure: they will need to come home to a bed and a few other essential items.

Essential Furniture For A Kid’s Room

Every child's room needs a bed, wardrobe or bureau for clothing, bookcase, desk for studying, and a chair. Invest in high quality items that will last until your child becomes an adult and finally moves out. Or, if you're willing to spend the money, by all means, buy kiddy furniture. Just don't have impractical expectations for your thirteen year old to put up with the choo-choo train bed that you bought when he was five.

When you buy furniture, you can expect one thing: your child is going to grow at a rate that you probably can't predict. Be ten steps ahead of your child's growth spurt when you buy furniture - you do not want to be scrambling through your wallet for unseen expenses when all of a sudden, your daughter's feet are hanging off her bed. Buy your seven year old a bed that she can sleep on as a teenager. Buy that bookcase before he can read, because next year, he'll be in school and will start bringing home text books. Whenever possible, buy items with adjustable heights that can grow up with your kids. If you absolutely must buy that cute kids' table, keep it around as a hand-me-down for your other kids or relatives, or keep it in good condition in case you want to resell it in a few years.

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Involve Your Child

Teach your child to become a mature and responsible adult by discussing their room. While you think that a surprise theme may be a cute idea, you might be shocked to find out that your little girl despises dolls, the color pink, and princess themes. Empower your children to let their personalities shine through by letting them pick their own themes. Make the decision-making process a two-way discussion to keep the experience rational and tantrum-free. Talk to your child, and finalize your options into a list of five potential themes. You or your child can select the winner.

Of course, this guideline only works if your child has reached a mature decision-making age. Children below the age of seven may need their parents to step in to do most of the thinking, planning and decorating. Remember that babies, toddlers, and older kids have very different needs. Think about their evolving personalities as a function of the interests that that they are starting to develop in school.

Decorating Strategies

By the time your child is seven or eight years old, he has probably outgrown his toddler bedroom. When it's time to invest in some new stuff, you will likely take one of two approaches. You may decide to buy some age-appropriate furniture that will last for a few years, or you may wish to purchase some "big kid" items that will last throughout your son or daughter's childhood and teenage years. In the short run, the first option will be least expensive, but in the long run, the second option is more cost effective.

If you want to create an elaborate kids' theme, you can buy basic furniture in a neutral color, and create decorations that are durable but temporary. What you ultimately buy, of course, will depend on the size of your child's space. Don't buy too much stuff or stuff that's too big: your child will need plenty of space to move around, play, do homework, and get dressed. You don't want your furniture to cause any unnecessary head-bumping.


If you want to save money, build it yourself! Even better, get your kids involved. Buy basics such as wood, and assemble furniture that you can paint and repaint as your child's interests evolve. Let your child think outside of the box when decorating furniture projects. Turn your do-it-yourself bookcase into a collage with photos and magazine clippings. Your child can be creative and turn their furniture into tasteful art. Great do-it-yourself jobs include bookcases, tables, and shelves. Beds, especially bunk beds, should be left to professionals if you do not have a solid knowledge of their construction.


Wall murals, posters, glow-in-the-dark stars, pictures, and books are all items that work well as décor in a children's room. Keep in mind that décor accumulates dust, so don't over-do it, especially if your child has allergies. Strike a balance between minimalism and fun. Don't forget the ceilings either. Lit and unlit lanterns, glow in the dark shapes, fun colors, and posters will keep a child happy during naptime and bedtime.

Theme Ideas

Kids' rooms don't necessarily need a theme, but many people find it helpful to work with a guide or unifying aesthetic element. Choose a theme based on your child's personality such as aquariums, cartoons, cars, Disney characters, astronauts, dolls, flowers, jungle, sci-fi, etc. - chances are, you'll be able to brainstorm a concept that you and your child will absolutely love. The problem with choosing a narrow theme is that your child might outgrow it sooner rather than later. (For more information on children’s room themes, see Tips & Ideas For Jungle Themed Rooms For Kids and Disney Bedroom Ideas For Kids).

If you are on a budget and would prefer a design concept that will last at least several years, you should consider these ideas:


Choose a theme based on a color or set of colors. Examples include orange and yellow, pink, green and yellow, or purple. In general, you should avoid selecting more than three bright colors since you don't want any clashing or chaos in your child's room. Be sure to complement your bright colors with plenty of pastels and neutral shades for a balanced aesthetic. Paint one accent wall, create a wall mural, or paint all over. Make sure that you decorate the dominant wall in your child's room. Usually, this wall is the largest and located opposite to the room's entrance.

Patterns & Shapes

Choose a theme based around a pattern or shape like stripes, checkers, and polka dots. If you're feeling adventurous, choose a combination of patterns like flowers and stripes, checkers and stripes, or polka dots and stripes. For example, you can paint a black and white checkered floor with a yellow and red striped ceiling.

Balance your striped bedding with a polka dotted accent wall. This theme is fun and will carry over into your child's teenage years. When you and your child prefer something that's a little more grown up, a quick paint job and new decorations will help you erase your room's palate and start over.


Does your child have a favorite artist? If so, consider framing a few poster prints, and choose paint and linen colors that complement the colors in the painting. This type of theme is inexpensive and can easily transition from youthful to classy and mature.

You can even let your children decorate their rooms with their own art for a creative personal space. Paint a wall mural, create a collage of photos, or create a mosaic using small tiles. Artistic kids will love these types of projects.

Avoid assuming that you need to spend thousands of dollars on luxury decorative items. Themes are about creativity, not money. By remaining practical and creative, you can make interior design a do-it-yourself, completely original, fun family project. Find tasks that you and your child can do together: you will teach your kids important skills like ownership and initiative, and you will keep costs low.

Last Updated: February 3, 2012
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