Do you remember your childhood bedroom? Mine had bright paint, a soft carpet, and lazy sunbeams I’d snooze in during the afternoons. I’d look out the window at a leafy brook across the street and long freight trains rumbling beyond. I had a chest for my toys, a case for my books, imaginative art decorating the walls, a lamp giving off warm light, and a big clock. I slept under soft blankets in the hues of my favorite colors, covered in detailed drawings of the animals I loved. An old desk housed my early drawings and writings, and gave my stuffed animals and figurines a place to play.
Looking back, that bedroom was tiny, but I loved it. So when I decorated my children’s bedrooms, I tried my best to give them a similar, wonderful space to look back on. Now, they’re decorating their children’s bedrooms, and—lo and behold—I see them finding and choosing the kinds of colors, art, and furniture they grew up with. Of course, I love to help add a few finishing touches whenever I can. If you have kids of your own and are looking for some small bedroom ideas for decor, here’s the best advice I can give you.
Decorating your child’s bedroom is a great time to get creative, especially if the room is small. Regardless of size, there are endless ways to match the decor to your child’s tastes. Consider these elements when planning the room’s design:
Each of these areas presents ample opportunity to create a delightful environment for your child to grow up in. Colors, of course, set the mood of the room. Artwork can inspire creativity in your child, fueling their imagination. Furniture provides the physical framework your child will explore and interact with. Furnishings, such as blankets, pillows, curtains, lamps, and clocks, tie the room together.
The colors you paint your child’s walls and trimmings help set the tone of the room. Choosing the right color can make a small room feel bigger than its square footage. Think of how the room will feel over the course of the day. Will it be warm and welcoming in the morning? Cool and calming in the afternoon? Snug and secure in lamplight at night? If the room gets a lot of bright natural sunlight, darker or more muted colors may keep it soft and peaceful. If the room gets less sunlight, bright colors may help bring up the mood and make the room feel larger.
As far as which colors to choose, if your child is old enough, why not let them choose? If they have a favorite color or two, that’s a natural place to start. If you’re not positive they’ll still like the color in a year or two, consider finding a more neutral ground. If your daughter’s current favorite color is bright pink, for example, consider painting the room a softer pink, which can actually work as a neutral and be paired with different color schemes for years to come.
Balloon Buddies Canvas Print by Ellen Giggenbach
The artwork I grew up with in my bedroom—tapestries hand-sewn by my mother—made a powerful, lasting impression on me as a child. I still have them, and they’re still my favorite decor pieces.
While tapestries can be a little tricky to come by, there are many whimsical, imaginative pieces of art to choose from that have been created uniquely for children.
With artworks available in different sizes, you can combine interesting pieces to coax the character out of even the smallest room for your little one. If you have only one small wall to work with, for example, consider creating a gallery wall with three carefully chosen art prints—one large, one small, and one medium-sized. This will allow you to explore a theme in the space without making it feel crowded or busy. A colorful clock can serve double duty as a functional piece of art to help save space.
In a small space, each piece of furniture in your child’s bedroom should serve some function. While beds and dressers are furniture pieces of necessity, other items are furniture pieces of possibility.
For instance, consider choosing a cube shelving unit that allows you to put different items in different cubbies. Some cubes can house fun storage bins to hold toys while coordinating with the room’s color scheme. Other cubes can hold books or showcase framed art. A unit with one row of cubes on the floor can also serve as a bench or flat surface for drawing and playing.
Other pieces of furniture can also serve dual purposes. A DIY desk made of cube shelves and a piece of plywood or tabletop can serve as much-needed storage, while also providing space for a child to write, draw, do homework, and of course, act out stories with their toys. A chest is another fantastic flat surface option that also serves as a storage solution for things like board games, stuffed animals, play figurines, or dress-up costumes.
Another space-saving tip is to use picture ledges as bookshelves. This allows your child to store their children’s books with the covers facing out, displaying the book covers (which are often so beautifully illustrated by talented artists) as art pieces. These shelves take up less space than a traditional bookshelf, making them ideal for small rooms.
Mighty T-Rex Throw Pillow by Liza Lewis
Furnishings tie the whole room together. They’re the little living touches that make a big impact with color and character in a small room. For instance, your child’s bed can be more than just the place they sleep. Creative, imaginative blankets not only keep your child snug and warm at night, they bring color to the bed. If they’re covered in cuddly creatures, they might even make good playmates for your little one in their dreams. But wait! Can the zebra on the pillow play, too?
Lamps, clocks, and curtains are all functional furnishings that can also be so much more. The lamp your child uses to read in bed at night can tell a story of its own if it has a lively lampshade. The sharks on the clock in the corner can keep your kid company until it’s time for supper. Cheerful chickadees on your curtains can frame your child’s interpretation of the world outside.
Decorating your child’s bedroom doesn’t have to be done all at once. You can always repaint the walls, replace or rearrange the furniture (maybe bunk beds?), or find new artwork or furnishings to fill the room with joy. As your child grows, their tastes will change, which is just another opportunity for the two of you to find new ways to make them feel happy and loved. A few careful touches, and a couple loving touch-ups as the years go by, will give your child a bedroom (however big or small) they’ll treasure for life.
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