10 things to consider when designing and decorating a child’s bedroom

As with any Interior Design Project have a good think upfront and establish a clear idea about what you are trying to achieve, how the space will be used now and into the future (short, medium and long term) and set a realistic budget.  There is no reason to expend huge amounts of money – keeping the walls, carpets and curtains or blinds in a neutral colour palette will allow a room to adapt over time, and age-appropriate interest can be added decoratively with pictures, wallpaper, lampshades, rugs, cushions and bedding

1. Function – How long will this be the room for this child, will it need to adapt from a nursery to become a toddler’s room, has a little person been moved from the nursery to accommodate a new sibling, or possibly is now sharing with a sibling, maybe it is for an older child, and all evidences of babyhood need to go – pre teen girls can change from liking to loathing pink overnight and will be very vocal about demanding a change!

2. Layout – Think about the layout – if it’s a baby’s nursery – you will be in and out all night and do not want to be stumbling over or around furniture, or disturbing a sibling.  Obviously structural parts of the room such as doors windows and radiators will dictate layout to some extent.  You need to be able to reach (and see) the baby wipes and clean nappies and vests easily and safely from a changing table.

3. Space – Maximise the space – shelving can go right up to the ceiling, use space under the cot or bed, cupboards and drawers can be built into alcoves. Placing a bookshelf or toy chest at the end of the bed doesn’t take up wall space and may even give you another another surface for a lamp or nighttime book.  Sharing siblings will still need to feel that they have their own personal space.

4. Storage – Small people come with huge amounts of kit! Storage needs to be maximized and multi functional – so chests with cushions can be used as a seat to a play table, a place to sprawl to read or colour, as well as conceal a mountain of toys. A wall unit with drawers can be both a dresser table and desk. Shelving is great for toy organisation as it doesn’t take up a lot of space and can be placed above dressers, desks, even above and round the door for hardly used or seasonal items. Pull out boxes with labels are ideas for storing toys separately – dolls, lego, playmobil, trains, dressing up clothes, and so on which helps the children find and tidy things themselves.

5. Furniture – Although the focus is obviously the child’s need for a bed, clothes and toy storage, and play area, a tired parent or a visiting grandparent reading a story might like a chair, space permitting, (particularly if the bed is not so easy to sit on for an adult, like a bunk bed). Pin boards are useful to display pictures, pin up party invitations and birthday cards, or have school timetables on.

If sharing siblings are old enough, bunk beds are an ideal choice and an efficient use of space and often have built-in storage underneath.  Many separate into single beds for when children are older.

In cupboards, when children are little, two hanging rails are more useful, rather than full height hanging, although having anything at their own level encourages them to get their own clothes to dress themselves, reach toys and books, and more importantly learn how to put them away. Teenagers spend an unbelievable amount time in their rooms, and need them as personal sanctuaries as well as space for studying, invest in a good quality desk and chair and fit some shelves above the desk area so your teen has plenty of space to store coursework and books.

6. Lighting – Night time feeds and nappy changes do not want to be conducted under glaring bright lights, so some more gentle lighting is required, using dimmers or lamps. Night lights need to plug in conveniently for small children, older children will like a bedside lamp and teenagers may need USB ports near their desk!

7. Décor – A shared room may need to be gender neutral, and colour combinations such as white and grey, yellow and grey, turquoise and white or a mix of primary colors work well for both boys and girls. Then individual items can be accessorized keeping the colour theme going – try a blanket or cushion with a red truck for him, and a red flower or heart for her.

8. Decorative accessories – Personalise accessories throughout the room such as hooks, letter lights or wall letters in felt or fabric with their names or first initial to add a bit of fun. Bunting and wall stickers, decals and string lights are fun and colourful. This is an ideal place to display proudly their artwork and craft masterpieces. For clothing, wall and door hooks at low level are helpful for a dressing gown, nursery smock or coat.  A height chart is a lovely decorative accessory too, maybe consider putting it on a separate moveable board so when the room is redecorated later the whole thing can be kept and treasured by the parent, rather than have precious evidence of growing up painted over.

A feature wall of wallpaper can be changed to a black board for chalk drawings or become a graffiti wall for older children covered in messages from their friends and Banksy inspired murals.

9. Play area – Floor mats, cushions, bean bags and tents provide hours of amusement, you may also need to factor in larger items such as a rocking horse, castles, and dolls houses, or easels for painting and drawing.

10. Where to start – IKEA and Argos have a large range of childrens’ furniture and adaptable storage solutions at a reasonable price, John Lewis and Habitat move up the price range for the longer term. Search out ideas on Pinterest or Houzz. You may want an individual space created with bespoke carpentry solutions, or personalised wall art, in which case consider consulting an interior designer, a good one will have all the contacts to help you create and implement your delightful bedroom.


Most of all – have fun and enjoy making a fun, safe and cosy space, this is a chance to be as imaginative and as creative as you like, children can have their favourite book or TV characters over the ceilings and walls, princesses and dragons can exist with space ships, planets and unicorns.  Hot air balloons and castles can rise up over beds.  Life only gets more serious so make the most of their joyous carefree youth now.

These are two beautiful rooms that we created for some very young clients.

https://www.clarabee.com/project/clapham-sw4/ and https://www.clarabee.com/project/tooting-sw12-cloudesdale/