Kids’ rooms that actually benefit kids

There are so many children’s bedrooms coordinated to perfection by adults these days! Yes, kids’ rooms are a great place for grown-ups to experiment design-wise as we can be more creative; however the style of the room should still be led by the child’s needs and interests. Here Shelley Ferguson shares eight ways to create kids’ rooms the whole family will love.


Find common ground


Find common ground

If your child was left in total charge of their room design, chances are you could end up with a marriage of Marvel and Disney. Cartoons covering every wall may seem genius to kids, but can trigger crazy time because colour affects their moods and minds. Just like in all relationships, compromise is the key. If you want a room that’s cohesive with the rest of the house, ensure the basics like flooring and paint tie back to your interior style. Then let your little one inspire a theme that can be layered on top, and easily changed as they grow. When it comes to big decisions like colour, wallpaper or furniture, use your child’s likes and interests as a guide and choose a range of designs you think they’d like, that you can also live with. Then, let them choose from that selection. That way, they feel like they’re part of the decision yet you still retain some say. 


Kids’ bedrooms are more than just places to sleep


Zone in

Kids’ bedrooms are more than just places to sleep. What does your little one like to do in their room, and in what ways can you create zones for each activity? If you have space, a table and chairs for drawing and art is handy, complete with a pull-out paper roll mounted on the wall. A study zone can help keep school supplies in one area, and shelves are great for making use of vertical space and grouping related items. Floor cushions create comfy reading spots, and even a round rug can encourage sit-down play in a circular formation. If budget allows, built-in zones for different activities can be cleverly designed to double as storage.


Create nooks that offer secrecy, surprise or intrigue


Mystery and magic

Kids love nooks that create a special feeling of secrecy, surprise and intrigue. Can you create a secret passage, add a teepee, install a ladder to a little mezzanine or set up a hidden zone in an unused cupboard or closet? Custom-built or feature beds add a sense of adventure and create a room kids are keen to hang out in. Accessories like glowing lights add to the magical feeling, as do interesting objects borrowed from nature like jars filled with treasures collected outdoors.


Add books, maps, globes, wall charts or musical instruments


Encourage learning

You don’t want your child to feel like they’re taking a test, but their room should be a natural learning environment too. Books, maps, globes, wall charts or musical instruments look great on display, and can also be educational tools (without them even realizing). If you have room, set up a desk or station for creative play.


Help your kids snooze off in a cloud of comfort


Encourage bedtime

Simple, yet oh-so important! Many people invest in their own bedlinen, but buy cheaper imitations for kids. The snugglier and more comfortable you can make your kids’ bed, the more likely they are to snooze off in a cloud of comfort. If you’re on a budget, pull out old linen that’s still in great condition – I remember being in bed heaven whenever mum made the beds with our oldest softest flannelette sheets. Update the look with some fun printed pillowcases and a new throw. If you have a little more to spend, let your child help choose some new linen – get creative and team printed sheets with a coloured duvet or vice versa. Buy soft, natural, breathable fibres like cotton, organics, bamboo or flannelette. Up the cuddle-factor with a throw for the end of the bed, a couple of scatter cushions and your child’s favourite soft toys. Teamed with blockout curtains or blinds and soft lamp light, the scene is set for sleeping (disclaimer: none of this will guarantee your kid will actually sleep).


Create a space that your child feels safe and loved in


Add a layer of love to the room

I believe this is the most important tip of all! Create a space that your child feels safe and loved in. Make them feel at home by putting up photos of their friends, family and favourite times. Use jars to display little mementos like feathers, sand and shells from holidays you’ve been on. Display items they’ve created like amateur artwork or misshapen Fimo sculptures, as it’s a sign you’re proud of them.


Use your room makeover as a bonding exercise


Project funway

Children’s bedrooms are a great opportunity to be brave with colour, creative with design, and to get DIY cred with the family. Use your room makeover as a bonding exercise, and complete a couple of décor projects with your child that can be shown off in the space. Paint and frame artwork, give pre-loved furniture a paint job, and adapt everyday items – these plastic dinosaurs have been sprayed gold and cleverly repurposed as handles.


Sometimes kids just want to rumble or roll around


Room for rough house

Despite your above efforts to entertain, sometimes kids just want to rumble, roll around, or lie on the floor and daydream. Whatever their age, try to achieve a room layout that allows this type of important play. If that means the bed gets pushed into the corner, so be it.

Images courtesy of Bauer Media and Your Home and Garden magazine.


Three looks for littlies to love


Get the look: Animals


Bronco cotton knit blanket, $89.90, from
Little fox framed art, $395, from
Charlie single bunk bed, $999, from
Crochet footstool, $99.95, from
Sian Zeng dino grey wallpaper, from $194AUD, from


Get the look: Explorer

Globe in cream, from $9 small, from
Geology map of New Zealand wall chart, $215, from
Magnifying glasses with shell and bone handles, from $39.99, from
Home Republic vintage washed linen duvet cover in terracotta, from $59.99, from
Vintage suitcase, $245, from
Minka house, $119.95, from


Get the look: Little bird


Little bird
Kingston faux fur stool in pink, from $109.99, from
Draper mint chair, $167.95, from
Eden copper king single bed, $999, from
Studio Ditte Birdhouse wallpaper, $315 per roll, from
Grace quilt cover in queen, $299, from
Resene paint in ‘Pot Pourri’, from

The winner of our home styling session competition has been drawn. The winner is Candice Joiner, who is looking to makeover her little boy's bedroom. Congratulations Candice!

Candice was selected by Shelley from a pool of hundreds of submissions. Thanks to all of those who entered. 

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