This month interior designer, Clair Strong, shares her ideas for creating multifunctional children’s bedrooms perfect for work, rest and play.
Children’s bedrooms have to work hard – not only are they a place for your child to sleep, but somewhere to play, learn and keep their toys. I think a child’s room is the perfect place to explore fun interior design ideas, from VW Camper van shaped beds to rainbow murals and flamingo rugs. You can go bright with neon jungle animals or pretty with fairies and unicorns.
I love creating interesting spaces for children. Here are some fun ideas to inspire you.
Let there be light
You will need window treatments that black out the light to give your little ones a good night’s sleep. A blackout blind teamed with lined curtains will keep the room dark even during the summer. Or you can buy fun blinds like Disney themed blackout blinds from English Blinds.
Lighting is key in a child’s bedroom. You need to be able to dim the lights at bedtime. Fairylights are cheap and create instant atmosphere and children love them!
Buy a classic lamp base and change up the lampshades for lighting that will last. There are some great designers creating lighting - the Maude Smith x Pooky collaboration will add designer style to a child’s bedroom.
Make your child’s room a place to stimulate their imagination when they are awake. Decorate the room with an eye-catching mural like a map, animals of the world or the galaxy. It’s a great way to teach children about the world around them.
A mural can spark their imagination and help them to learn while they play. You can decorate just one wall and self-adhesive murals are easy to remove or replace when you child’s tastes change.
If you are creative, use chalk paint and paint your own wall mural. The talented Lucy Tiffney painted this fabulous fairy-tale mural in a child’s bedroom for Annie Sloan Interiors (see image).
Painting just one wall with blackboard paint is a great way of giving your children somewhere to be creative. If you have space, create zones for different types of play - an art table, a blackboard and a reading nook are my favourites.
Keep the basics neutral
Children grow up fast. From tractors, to dinosaurs, to being obsessed with Harry Potter, what they love can change overnight. That wonderful astronaut themed bedroom can quickly go out of favour. Neutral colours work well when decorating a child’s bedroom, changing the look with rugs, throws and blinds.
White painted floorboards and white walls are the perfect backdrop for a cute animal themed nursery to a fresh feminine scheme which is pretty yet functional for older girls.
Wallpaper is a great way to give personality to a child’s room and you can use it on just one wall so it’s easy to change. Many companies have wallpaper and fabric in the same design for a coordinated look.
If you also choose simple white furniture and add accessories in bright colours your scheme can change and adapt as your child gets older. A classic wooden bed will last for years, from toddler to teenager.
Annie Sloan Interiors
Neutral colours work well when decorating a child’s bedroom, changing the look with rugs, throws and blinds.
Time to learn
Think about desk space in a child’s bedroom. When children are small they will use it for drawing and crafting. Buy a desk that will grow with your child and it will work for homework and even exam study. This desk from Nidi Graphic has been creatively designed with a whiteboard top and bright colourful legs for a fun, contemporary look.
Good lighting, a bookshelf and clever storage for stationery will make the bedroom a calm space to work in.
A chill out zone is perfect for young children to relax in for story-time before bed and will adapt for older kids when they have friends over to play. Create a relaxing space with throws, cushions, bean bags and rugs. They can be changed easily as tastes change.
A children’s sofa bed is an incredibly useful addition to a bedroom space. It can be used as a guest bed or a sofa – so it’s perfect for sleepovers!
A child’s room can be unique and fun. Just make sure when they grow out of Marvel characters it’s easy to change, you build in plenty of flexible storage space and look for a bed that will grow as you kids do.
Get the storage right
Getting the storage right is key in any child’s room. Maximise space with a bed with storage underneath which makes use of under-bed space. A raised cabin bed with enough storage space for a chest of drawers and a cupboard or desk beneath is a great versatile option for a smaller bedroom as long as you have the head height.
A toy box or low-level storage like a small bookcase will help keep toys and books accessible yet easy to tidy away. If you choose modular storage, it will be easy to adapt as kids get older. If toys are easy to tidy away at the end of the day, it makes keeping the bedroom clutter-free ready for sleep less of a chore.
Use the walls too. Fit hooks hung at a low level to encourage kids to hang up their clothes rather than throw them on a chair or, worse, the floor!
Look for storage solutions that will stand the test of time. An industrial kid’s locker storage bench provides space for toys and a platform to stand on for little ones and then becomes great storage for school books and stationery when the child is older.
And so to sleep
Your child’s bedroom needs to be a sleep-friendly, relaxing space. Buy the best mattress you can afford and invest in quality bedding, pillows and throws to create a cosy comfortable space. There are so many great duvet cover sets on the market for children from Beatrix Potter to this Equatorial Animal themed set from Dunelm.
Multifunctional beds that will grow with your child are a good start when you plan your bedroom scheme. A contemporary loft bed with desk space underneath is practical and versatile.
A raised bed frees up plenty of floor space, but why not go for it with a unique kid's bed inspired by the iconic 60’s camper van? It’s perfect to bring fun and playfulness to a child’s room, making bedtime like an adventurous road trip.