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How to Design a Kids’ Room That is Built to Last

Let out your inner child and design a space that’s colorful and creative, with room to grow.

Sep 30, 2020

Let’s be honest: when it comes to designing spaces in your home, few are more creative and whimsical than a kid’s room. At their best, kids rooms are imaginative, comforting, and full of color, but figuring out how to build safety and room to grow into their designs can be a bit of a challenge. 

With children growing and changing so quickly between their newborn and late toddler years, it’s essential to design for the now, but plan for the future. Modular furniture, accessible storage, and some clever design tricks will create a base that you can build off of, swapping certain layers and accessories throughout the years as your child’s tastes and needs change. So take a break from adulting and pull out the rainbow patterns. Your child—and inner child—will thank you.


Create a solid base

Toys and accessories will already add plenty of pattern and color to your kids room, so start off with a base that can adapt to shifting styles and pair well with any decorating scheme. Blue- or purple-gray paint on the walls will give the space a bit of color while still reading as a neutral. Or, try wallpapering an accent wall with a gray-and-white patterned wallpaper: peel-and-stick options like this geometric print and this elephant paper let you replace easily if you get tired of the look. Woven rope or wicker baskets, and clean-lined furniture painted white or in a natural wood finish sets a simple base for playful sheets, pillows, and toys. 

Brooklinen's Crib Sheet Set in "Jungle in Orange," paired with the Baby Quilt and Swaddle in "Blush."

Go gender-neutral

Don’t feel beholden to using only the traditional pastel pinks or blues. Greens, yellows, and oranges add a brightness to rooms that is stimulating and cheerful, and will grow with your child more easily. Shop our Brooklittles bedding for sheets in multicolor dots, dashes, and tropical patterns that look sophisticated enough for parents, and will work from newborn through toddler years. You can even customize your own Toddler Bed Set, mixing and matching sheets, pillowcases and a duvet for a colorful custom look.

Add accessible storage

Build in storage where your toddler will be able to reach it. Not only will having books and baskets at eye level make it easier for kids to play—it curbs the clutter. Kids can find toys on their own, and put them back easily. (No guarantees they do it every time!) One idea we love: installing a clothes rack that will be in-reach for your toddler, so they can start dressing themselves more easily. We love a design solution that saves a parent some early-morning time.

Brooklinen's Toddler Sheet Set in "Jungle in Multi" paired with the Duvet Cover in "Dotty in Blue."

Design for safety

The kids may be little monkeys, but our favorite spaces always make sure there won’t be any bumping of the heads. Shop upholstered bed frames and headboards, and dressers that are padded on the corners and covered in soft fabric so even if kids do run into them, there won’t be any damage. Make sure there aren’t blinds strings, power cords, or heavy objects on top shelves positioned in places a child could reach them, or cause objects to fall. Good alternatives to avoid safety concerns altogether include installing pull-down shades (no cords), using outlet covers on any exposed outlets, and opting for horizontal, low bookcases rather than tall vertical units. And the perk—now your child can reach all the books they’d like, and you don’t have to worry about them scaling the furniture.

Shop convertible furniture

These are pieces meant to last through multiple stages of life—and the kids decor market is booming with stylish options. Try looking for modular dressers with removable changing table trays, and three-in-one cribs that transition from crib to toddler bed to daybeds as your child grows. Nesting tables and floor cushions that can be rearranged to create different seating arrangements can turn into bedside tables and play area pieces when needed.

Use color as an organizing system

If The Home Edit’s new organizing show (streaming on Netflix) has taught us anything, it’s that organizing through color isn’t just gorgeous—it’s also incredibly useful. Watch the dynamic duo (co-founders Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin) organize bookshelves, pantries, and clothes according to color. Not only does it visually declutter a space; it helps identify pieces quickly. Kids who can’t read yet will know where to find the “big blue book”; mom can quickly pull out that green button-down for a family photo. Win-win. 


Written by Mallory Abreu

Mallory is a writer currently based in Des Moines, Iowa, where she works as a home design editor for Better Homes & Gardens. This New England native began her career at the Boston Globe covering music and arts beats, and has since had her work featured in Boston Magazine, Magnolia Journal, BH&G, and other national publications. Catch her playing piano and ogling old homes in her free time. View her portfolio at www.malloryabreu.com and follow her on IG at @mal.abreu.

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