Interior Design for Children's Rooms

Sally Painter
Girl's bedroom

Designing for children begins in their personal spaces. The typical rooms a child uses regularly includes the child's bedroom, bathroom, and playroom. When shopping for bedroom furnishings for a child, a great place to start is a dedicated children's store, although a big box store will often have budget-friendly options that you can design around.

Bedroom Color Choices

Color is a vital part of any room décor. Work with your child to guide them toward a color both of you can live with. There are numerous color schemes for kids' bedrooms.

Girl's Pastel Purple Bedroom Example

light purple bedroom example

This purple room design is subtle and accommodates a growing child. The color scheme can be easily modified by changing out a lamp shade, window treatment, pillows, and a coat of paint.

  • The loft bed featuring a desk and loveseat underneath is a space saver and provides a neat look to any room. It also frees up floor space.
  • This design leaves room for the light purple velvet chaise lounge.
  • The textured pale purple walls backdrop the unique window treatment of purple and gold checked shades.
  • The harsh lines of the row of windows is softened and framed by lace curtain panels.

Accessories include, a purple lampshade, velvet throw over the built-in loveseat and a solid purple pillow. An accent pillow made from the window shade fabric repeats the pattern to draw the eye deeper into the room design.

To give this room greater depth and interest, you could add two darker purple values throughout the room. This could be achieved by adding wall art, a small area rug, faux flowers and accessories. You could also repeat the gold accent color with various objects and items.

Additional Bedroom Color Tips

Other ways to bring a color scheme to life include:

  • Wallpaper is always an option for color and pattern choices.
  • Furniture can be color matched to give a bit of pop to a kid's bedroom.
  • Area rugs soften hard surfaces and can designate a play or study area.
  • Wall art is always a fun way to add and repeat decor colors.
  • Bed linens and window treatments also offer opportunities to reinforce the color scheme.
  • Storage bins and toy chests are practical and present another way to add color.

Themed Bedroom Design

A themed bedroom can become a child's delight. If your child loves butterflies or dragons, you can choose this as your theme centerpiece. The design for a girl's bedroom or boy's bedroom should reflect your child's interest. Other possible themes include flowers, animals, sports, robots and astronomy.

Seafaring Theme Example

This boy's bedroom uses the sea color in various values of blue in the overall decor. The neat furniture choices are shipshape for any sailor. Some of the items used include:

  • Young teenager in a ship
    A wall hanging of a schooner over the bed sets the pace for this design.
  • The trundle style bed with built-in storage drawers is in keeping with a seafaring décor and provides additional storage for growing kids.
  • A blue and white lifesaver can be leaned against the bed or find its way as a wall decoration.
  • Two different styles of world globes will appeal to any kid with ocean wanderlust.
  • Add a blue liner to a plain basket for an additional pop of color.
  • The ship lantern replica lamp design on the student desk provides task lighting and is in keeping with the ship theme.

In larger bedrooms, you can really bring out the theme. Other sea-themed furnishings you could use include:

  • Blue and white striped curtains will repeat the color scheme and add a masculine touch.
  • Hang a framed maritime compass on the wall above the desk.
  • A faux ship's wheel can be placed over the desk or headboard.
  • Create a wall collage with a fishing net showcasing seashells, sea urchins and fish interspersed among the folds.

Other Theme Décor Items

You can choose any kind of theme for a child's bedroom. Some decor objects/items you may want to consider include:

  • Wall decal(s): Add a large wall decal over the bed or desk.
  • Area rug: Select an appropriate area rug that repeats the theme, such as a large flower rug for a floral theme.
  • Wall art: Carry out the bedroom theme through wall art.

Bedroom Furniture and Storage

It's tempting to put inexpensive items in a child's room, especially when they are very young and quickly outgrow cribs and bunk beds. However, there are many furniture pieces that are appropriate for infants to teenagers. You can save money from the beginning of your child's life by selecting furniture pieces, such as a crib that will convert into a juvenile bed and then into a teenager twin size bed. Matching bedroom suite pieces can be added as your child grows, such as a bookcase, desk, storage bins and dressers.

White Furniture Example Room

Baby room with white furniture

White furniture décor can become an accent color in some color schemes or be used as the main color with various accent colors. If your goal is a light and airy bedroom design, then white or off white furniture is a must. As long as the white finishes match, you can also add other white furniture.

Even if you swap the crib out for a twin or full sized bed as your child grows, the large white bookshelf is sure to be useful for years, regardless of the color or theme. Additionally, the small white storage chest can be used as an end table filled with books and extra blankets as the child grows. The chair can display a treasured toy as your child outgrows playing with it.

Darker Bedroom Furniture

Darker furniture finishes can also be used, but will not have the same lightening effect to your bedroom design. Darker finishes are often considered masculine elements although nothing forbids their use in a feminine bedroom design. Just make sure that the textiles you use with darker furniture marries the colors and wood/paint finish.

Additional Furniture Tips

If you want bunk beds for your kids' bedroom, don't scrimp on quality. Go for quality. After all, some of the furniture pieces might eventually make their way to your grown child's first home. All the more reason to choose furniture that can grow with your child. Some furniture ideas include:

  • Choose a quality desk with an adjustable chair (replace chair years later).
  • A rocking chair can be small and replaced with a larger one as your child grows.
  • Lampshades can be changed as your child's tastes evolve.
  • Dressers can be painted and refinished over the years to reflect your child's tastes and age.

Storage Solutions

Ensure that there is enough storage space for your child's clothes, books, toys and other items. There are many ways to add needed storage. Some of these include:

  • A chest of drawers should be small enough for your child to use easily.
  • Floating shelves and bookcases can hold books and storage baskets.
  • Include a toy chest in the bedroom.
  • Maximize storage space by employing a closet organization solution.

Children's Bathroom Design Tips

A child's bathroom has very different design needs than a common or master bathroom. Children usually enjoy bath time and a child's bathroom must be both accommodating and childproof. Splashes of color in the child's bathroom make bath time fun and exciting.

Orange and White Bathroom Example

Colorful children’s bathroom

This orange and white bathroom features yellow accents through towels, soap dispenser, toothbrush holder, and swaps the rubber duck for a rubber giraffe on the shelf above the toilet. Bright, vibrant colors are an excellent choice for children's bathrooms. They also help mask any wear-and-tear the room may have over time.

Other highlights include:

  • The orange tile floor is repeated on part of the wall.
  • Small orange tile squares are used to frame the wall mirror and introduces darker orange squares.
  • The bath floor mats are also another great way to tie the design together.
  • The opposite wall of the tub area features waterproof decals in various floral colors with orange being prominent.

Animal Themed Tile Bathroom Design and Example

Kids modern bathroom design

If the bathroom adjoins your child's bedroom, then carry the same color scheme into the bathroom. If you've used a themed bedroom design, repeat it in the bathroom for a cohesive look. For example, mermaid themed bathroom décor is a great idea for a kid's bathroom. Or, you can highlight animals in a tile design that moves from the bedroom to the bathroom.

Floor-to-wall tile is the best way to go for your children's bathroom for the easiest clean up and waterproofing. You can make a tile bathroom a lot of fun by using colorful themed children's tiles placed among the solid colored tiles.

This bathroom uses large, yellow, tile squares on the floor and smaller yellow ones to highlight the toilet area. Other tiles used in this bathroom feature various cartoonish animal characters to add a whimsical touch A green and yellow pattern are used for a tile upper wall border.

Pay Attention to Design Details

Everything in the bathroom should also be safe for your child to use. Storage is always an important part of any room design. A few bathroom décor suggestions include:

  • All bathmats and rugs should have an anti-slip backing.
  • Fun anti-slip decals or tub mat should be added to the tub.
  • Store extra towels in a floor basket for easy access when tub play splashes onto the floor.
  • Tub toys can be stored in a waterproof basket kept in the tub until next bath time.
  • Wall baskets can also hold toys, soap, shampoos, and even washcloths within easy reach.
  • Add a tub surround to prevent wall water damage.
  • Small stools are great to give children access to the sink. You may decide to have a slide out stool drawer as part of the sink cabinet.
  • Place toothbrush and toothpaste in a holder so children can reach them.
  • A laundry basket for dirty clothes and used wash cloths and towels can slip behind a cabinet door or linen closet floor.
  • Use a washable latex paint for painted surfaces for easy cleanup and water resistance.

Create a Children's Playroom Design

Your children should be able to create entire worlds in a playroom. If your room is large enough, create areas for specific activities. If your playroom is average sized, you can still create a fun space for children to play.

Bright Murals With Matching Furnishings and Toys

You can go all out with a fun playroom when using primary colors for the color scheme. The outstanding design feature of this playroom are the two murals. You can use peel and stick murals or if you're creative, you can paint your own customized murals that will appeal to your children's imaginations.

Other design elements include:

  • Colorful Playroom
    This playroom features a hardwood floor that makes for an easy clean up.
  • Add a child-size table and chairs in various colors.
  • Other highlights include, two rocking horses and a pair of solid colored sliding boards.

The centerpiece of this playroom is the multi-colored wooden locomotive ideal for climbing and pretending to be a train engineer.

Choose Complementary Colors and Textures

The playroom is a place of activity and bright colors can help excite and create enthusiasm. You want to design a décor that has a color balance. If you're concerned about over-stimulating your kids, then go for a more subdued yet colorful palette.

Ways to do this include:

  • Children’s playroom
    Walls can be painted a soft melon, yellow or green to create an open and happy space.
  • Select a paint that is easy to clean, such as a latex. You may wish to go with an eggshell texture or even a semi-gloss for finger and hand smudge resistance.
  • Use a chair rail (child chair height) to divide the wall space. Apply chalkboard paint underneath the chair rail so kids can create chalk art.
  • Built-in desk and cubbies are great space savers.
  • Corkboard can become a show-off space for children's crafts, artwork and photos.
  • Use colorful baskets and tubs to store toys, books, crayons, pencils and other art supplies.
  • Add a washable or outdoor area rug to soften hard surfaced floors.

Take advantage of ways to add color and texture to the playroom through three-dimensional wall art, wall decals, window treatments with colorful designs, textured rugs and lamps/lampshades.

Playroom Furniture and Storage

You want sturdy and durable furniture that can withstand abuse. Many parents opt for plastic furniture. This is an especially good choice for younger children. Any fabric used should be washable for easy maintenance.

Some furniture choices include:

  • An armoire is ideal for storing electronics such as a TV and DVD player.
  • Make use of plastic tubs for quick pickup of toys.
  • Child-size furniture options include, floor pillows, rockers, ladder back chairs, beanbag chairs and small tables and chairs.
  • Create various zones for homework, crafts, play, and snack time.

Lighting Options for Kids' Spaces

Just as any room design, lighting is very important. A dark room can create a feeling of dread and depression whereas a room filled with light is cheerful and happy. Some of the best lighting solutions for kids' spaces are similar to those you use in high task areas as well as areas you wish to control the mood.

These include:

  • Pendant lighting should be installed low enough to provide additional task lighting for areas, such as studying, reading, and crafts.
  • Recessed lights on a dimmer switch provides great lighting control for bedrooms and playrooms.
  • Lamps are a great way to bring warmth to your design. The shades can be changed easily to reflect the décor.
  • Wall sconces and lamps can take the place of nightstand lamps to free up the tabletop area from table lamps.
  • Nightlights that plug into outlets are always a plus for smaller children's comfort. Install them in bedrooms, bathrooms, and hallways.

Keep Up With Growth

Children are constantly growing and changing and so are their tastes. Before committing to any decor item, evaluate how long it will remain relevant to your child's age. Their age(s) will also determine how involved you want them in the selection process. A good rule of thumb is to give your child two choices of items you've already determined meet your budget and decor criteria. If you take time to plan and involve your children in some decisions, you'll end up with spaces they'll enjoy for many years.

Interior Design for Children's Rooms