Children’s bedroom design can offer the opportunity to really let your imagination run riot. Even if the rest of your home is a sophisticated sanctuary, or a haven of neutral calm, you may be willing to entertain a few different design ideas for the kids. Certainly, as your child grows up, it is likely that they will have their own clear ideas on how to decorate their room and giving them space to explore their own creativity is key.
However, the idea of completely renovating your child’s bedroom every few years as they grow and mature, and needs and tastes change, is not only unrealistically costly for many families, but is environmentally a non-starter. It is likely that the room chosen as your child’s bedroom may need to accommodate their needs from infancy right through to the teenage years and, although the room may start off housing a crib and changing table, it makes sense that big-ticket items such as beds, wardrobes and chests of drawers will stand the test of time. Planning a successful child’s bedroom scheme depends on plenty of forward-thinking. Good storage, multi-functional furniture that serves a child’s changing needs, and imaginative décor are all key. A balance between form and function will result in a hard-working layout that serves you well for many years.
It can be tempting to go wild with wall murals and child-friendly themed wallpapers, however it should be borne in mind that many of these can be very aged-limited and what your child enjoyed as a toddler many not be acceptable to them as they mature. Longer-lasting design alternatives can be abstract themes, simple bold colours or a neutral background theme with stronger accents. Avoid ‘theming’ a room too much, instead opting to bring to life your child’s favourite designs and colours through bedlinen and soft accessories.
However you decorate, it makes sense to ensure that the surface is wipeable; make sure that you choose low sheen paints, as opposed to matt, which can be easily wiped without marking. Practical flooring is also a wise choice. Whilst soft and warm, carpet is hard to keep clean and can harbour dust. Vinyl flooring is a hard-wearing alternative which is warm underfoot and easy to clean. Laminate or engineered wood also offers an easy clean option, but may be more prone to scratches than vinyl and therefore more suitable for older children. Whatever your flooring choice, a brightly coloured rug (see above from www.sonyawinner.com) or playmat can be added for a softer feel and is easily changed as tastes evolve.
It is hard to have too much storage in a child’s bedroom. A bed with drawers beneath can accommodate a multitude of sins. Placing shelving into alcoves covered by a sliding door is an effective way to add more storage as is shelving alongside or behind the bed which can double as a bedside table. Portable storage baskets or boxes are great for smaller toys, which can then be easily cleared away at the end of the day or transported to a grandparent’s house as needed. Remember that simple storage items such as boxes, baskets, hooks, hangers and wall organizers will all help to create an efficient space that still has plenty of personality. A peg rail around the room can be used to hang baskets containing toys to keep them off the floor, dressing gowns and outfits for small children and bags, scarves and coats for your teenagers.
As your child grows, their room will need to move from a focus on toy storage and play to accommodating a desk for study and additional storage space for books and equipment. Choosing multifunctional pieces of furniture that include desk space and accessible but adaptable storage is key to longevity in your design. A good quality comfortable chair is always a winner; used in the early days for nursing a baby, the same chair will later be useful for cuddles and reading with a toddler or space for a teenager to lounge whilst reading or listening to music. Wardrobes that can be refitted internally over time are a great option; shelving, which is a better solution for folding smaller children’s clothes and storing toys for young ones, can later be converted to hanging space for all of those teenage clothes. Shelving used to display larger toys, or those less frequently used, can later be filled with books.
It also makes sense to consider the health and environmental impacts on the items you introduce to your child’s bedroom. Products for children have to meet stringent standards, but some brands are more eco-friendly than others. For beds, check that the wood used has FSC, or equivalent, certification such as PEFC (the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification). Furniture made from solid wood, rather than MDF or particle board, should minimise the use of glues and resins. It is best to choose paints which contain no volatile organic compounds and those from brands such as Earthborn are free from oils, acrylic and vinyl and synthetic ingredients are kept to a minimum. Wallpaper is tricky for the eco-minded, because the inks, dyes and protective coatings mean the paper cannot be recycled as paper. However, some manufacturers are working to make their papers more environmentally-friendly by using FSC-certified wood fibres, and non-toxic water-based inks.
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