With the speed at which your children develop, decorating their bedroom can be a real minefield. One day, it’s all about Frozen wallpaper, and the next day they want to be as close to grown-up as a 12-year-old can get. Trying to create a bedroom that can stand the test of time, move through their phases, and come out relatively unaffected, and not break the bank, is the ultimate goal. While some things will inevitably need changing as time goes on – a fresh lick of paint, a new carpet, or some new accessories – ensuring the rest of the room and furniture can remain almost untouched is a great way to keep money and effort to a minimum. If you’re considering redecorating your child’s bedroom, be sure to read this list first to ensure you create a room which can stand the test of time.
Be sure to get their input (and take it with a pinch of salt)
For children, their room is their personal space, and a den that is separate to the rest of the home. To us, however, their room is still a part of our home. It has to stand up to our standards of tidiness, cleanliness, and even decor. When you discuss their plans with them, you are able to emphasize the importance of compromise and remind them that their bedroom is part of the house as a whole.
It also means you’re able to design and create a room that you’re both happy with. You may find that you have to put your foot down (but moooom I want a treehouse in my bedroom) but, with a bit of luck, you’ll come out with the perfect compromise. If you dictate general style and furnishing but ask them to accessorize and introduce personal flourishes which work for them, the result should be a room you’ll both be happy with, but also which they won’t outgrow before the school semester is over.
Choose timeless furniture
As tempting as it can be to go for the novelty furnishings, especially once your children get wind of the invention of beds shaped like cars, treehouses, and boats, they’re going to outgrow them faster than you can recoup the cost. Good quality, timeless furniture should make up the majority of your expenditure, but, with a bit of luck, it’ll still be perfect when they’re old enough to leave for college. When you invest in timeless, high-quality furniture, it grows with them. The problem with choosing furniture based on their whim, such as a wardrobe designed based on the wardrobe in Beauty and the Beast, is that, pretty soon, they’re going to be embarrassed by it. At this point, the nagging commences for you to pay to replace it, at which point you’ll probably regret that purchase in the first place.
Avoid child-size items
Even when you avoid novelty furniture, it can still be tempting to fall into the trap of buying child-size furniture. A small bed or tiny chest of drawers might look super cute, and seem sensible when they’re so small, but your only option will be to replace it when they get older. They’ll soon outgrow the child-size bed, and their clothes will soon become too big and too numerous to fit into the adorable kiddie wardrobe. If you choose full-size pieces in the first place, they’re able to grow into them, and you can save money by not having to replace them a few years down the line.
Keep expensive elements neutral
Furniture, flooring, and walls are the most important, and most expensive, aspects of room decor. The general rule is, for any decor to stand the test of time, is to keep pricey pieces neutral. Fashions change as quickly as your child’s taste and interests, so to keep any decor up to date without having to completely overhaul it on a yearly basis, keep expensive pieces neutral.
Paint the walls warming, neutral colors, and follow the same rule for the flooring too. This will allow you to change the smaller, fashion-conscious accessories around them, without having to completely strip the room. Classic finishes for furniture, walls and the floor will enable the room to stand the test of time, even as your child’s tastes change on a daily basis.
Bring in accessories for flexible decorating
When your bases are neutral and grown up, you’ve got a timeless base to build on. If you can take out all of the accessories, leaving a room which looks appropriate for someone of any age to move into, you’ve got the perfect base. At this point, you’re able to give your child a bit more input for accessorizing. Start with extra furniture. If there’s space, a large bean bag can make their room perfect for hanging out with friends, relaxing, and it’s also unique and something cool. On the plus side, they’ll probably love it enough never to want to change it, from childhood into their teenage years.
Then it’s just a case of encouraging them to choose accessories and soft furnishings that make space feel like their own, and also make it age appropriate. Trinkets for shelves and art for walls can be changed as they age. If they want posters from magazines on their walls, encourage them to choose a few that they love and frame them. Then, as their tastes change, you can change the posters for new posters, and the walls and paint won’t be damaged by the use of adhesive. Their soft furnishings, such as bedding and curtains, are also great for changing as they get older, without having to redecorate the whole room. Good quality, blackout curtains can be pricey, so invest in a blackout blind which can be pulled across behind the curtains in order to negate the need for high-quality curtains.
All of these little accessories make it easy to change the theme of the bedroom as your kid’s tastes change, without having to repaint or redecorate every time.
Keep it zoned
Zoning a room allows you to define the use of the space, but it also enables you to change sections of the room, without having to redo the whole room. With younger children, create a sleeping zone and a playing zone. Then, as they age, the playing zone can be changed into a homework or study zone, or split in two to keep a smaller playing area, and a reading zone. It’s also great for keeping the room tidy and functional, and it could even help them to get a better night’s sleep. When the room is zoned in a logical and effective manner, their toys will (hopefully) stay away from their sleeping and educational zone, making it far easier to tidy. Keeping entertainment away from sleep will limit distractions and temptations when it’s supposed to be down time. It also helps, when they’re put into the sleep zone, to convince them that now is time to sleep. If a bed is both a play and a sleeping zone, the line becomes blurred, and relaxation can be more difficult.
The secret to doing this successfully is planning ahead. Even when they’re tiny, how do you envisage them using their bedroom, and different sections of the room as they grow up. When you create the initial zones, keep in mind what they’ll become as your child gets older, and how those changes will manifest in decor, accessories, and furnishings. This way, you can make small changes to the functionality of the bedroom, without having the rearrange and redecorate the whole room.
Storage is always essential
When your child is tiny, you need room for nappies, toys, and little clothes. As they get older and their clothes get bigger, storage is still essential, if not more so. As much as you try to declutter, throw away excess toys, or take them to Goodwill, they still seem to accumulate a shocking amount of stuff.
Getting smart with storage solutions will help to keep their bedroom tidy, but also enables them only to choose the trinkets and accessories that they want to display, which will hopefully keep them keen on their bedroom for longer. Choose beds with storage underneath, either as drawers or as an ottoman, for keeping larger items of clothing which are not currently seasonal. Use boxes for storage which are not age-relevant. While a cute toy box might be adorable, the chances are they won’t want it as they get older. Using plain wooden or woven boxes will last far longer, and always look the part. Get imaginative, use cupboards on spare wall space or tucked into useless nooks and crannies, and you’ll keep clutter to a minimum with minimal hassle.
Creating a kid’s bedroom which is build to last is an exercise in compromise between you and your children. Just remember the key rule: the more expensive the item, the longer you want it to last, so go for something timeless and inject personality with cheaper trinkets and accessories.