As with any room first we need to decide on the focal point of the room and in any bed room this will always be the bed. Decide on the best position for the bed taking into account all the other pieces that you will need to fit into the room. This isn’t always easy in kids’ bedrooms as they can sometimes be awkward shapes and sizes and there are numerous pieces that need to fit into the room.
When deciding on the location of the bed consider the location of all the fixed items including windows, doors and built in robes. All pieces need to function together with enough space to move easily between them. I try to avoid placing beds under windows, however, sometimes this can’t be avoided. We will talk about window treatments later.
In the early stages of styling any child’s bedroom one important factor to consider is the age of the child as obviously this has a direct bearing on how you will be styling the room and the pieces of furniture you will be choosing. For example, do you need a single, double, or queen bed? For younger ages, most people tend to choose a bunk, single or king single but as the children approach the tween or teen stages double or queens are preferred, if you can fit them in.
Once you have made the decision on bed size and location you need to think about what style and colour palette you want to go for. I like children’s rooms to have their own personalities but try to keep it in line with the rest of the home. Is your home contemporary, coastal, classic or Hamptons for example? I always work with my clients to strike a balance between what the child and the parents are both happy with. Style that suits everyone coupled with function.
There are two trains of thought when styling kids’ rooms. Some of my clients are happy to style for the age of the child, especially when they are younger, using features such as wallpaper that will need to be updated in later years. Others want the room to age with the child. Either way, think about what your future needs will be when styling the room now.
If you want to go for the ‘fun’ factor and style the room for the now use something your child is passionate about as a starting point. Let’s go with a dinosaur example. If it’s a feature wall you’re after, look for wallpaper that is fun and features the requisite dinosaurs but that includes a colour palette and style that works with the rest of the home and ensures that the remainder of the room is relatively understated. My rule of thumb is that if you are using wallpaper keep the bed linen plain, but if you’ve got painted walls you can play a bit more with the bed linen.
As an example, if your dinosaur wallpaper features greys and blues take your colour palette from this and incorporate grey and blue (plain) bed linen. You can still have fun and add texture and layers with different hues, pillow cases, cushions and throws. Be sure to co-ordinate the remaining walls with the feature wall colours. Take one of the softer shades from the wallpaper and colour match it to a paint colour for the rest of the walls for a softer effect. Keep skirting boards and architraves crisp white.
For a room that will grow will the child think neutrals and layer up to bring in age appropriate elements. Paint wall colours in either a white or soft grey and keep the big ticket items such as bed heads and furniture neutral so they can age with your child. Consider items as wall decals, affordable artwork and soft furnishings to bring in the colours and style that is appropriate for your child.
Now that we have our bed size, style and colour palette decided we need to select the furniture. Firstly, as it is the focal point of the room the bed itself is vital and will set the tone for the other pieces. Do you want an ensemble or a frame? As with any bedrooms always use a bedhead wherever possible to add texture, warmth and colour. If you need to put the bed under a window a bedhead will probably not be possible, but if you have the room, a bed frame sitting slightly away from the window with a backdrop of a beautiful window treatment can have a stunning effect.
Once you have chosen the bedhead consider whether you want one or two bedside tables. For this age group one usually does the job and you can get creative and have a bit of fun here as there are so many great stool and side table options on the market. I must say I do love symmetry, however, so I say if you can fit in two bedside tables, do it! Even in a child’s bedroom this gives a feeling of timelessness and luxury to the room. When choosing the style and colour of the bedside consider the style and colour palette you have chosen and the overall style of the home. Whites and timbers are classic and timeless and can be found in both classic and more contemporary styles. There are some fabulous black options for boys’ rooms too.
The next important area in the room will be the study zone (see ‘Styling a Nursery and Toddler Bedroom’ for tips for younger children). At a minimum you will need a desk and chair. There are so many beautiful desk options available, however, many are on the small side and lack the functionality that is needed by growing offspring these days, such as room for computers and so on. If you’re happy to buy a desk that suits younger children and update it later on then you can take advantage of a more streamlined version, however, it is important to keep future needs in mind. Gorgeous consoles used as desks and ottomans or stools may look fabulous on Instagram but are not very practical in real life.
Choose a timeless desk that is in line with the other pieces and the chair can be a good place to incorporate some colour. I shy away from ‘office’ type chairs in children’s rooms (though a simple black style can work in boys’ rooms sometimes) as they are too chunky and clinical. Look for options such as dining chairs that are comfortable. Don’t be afraid to mix up the style of the desk and chair, done carefully this can work really well.
I highly recommend built in wardrobes as a functional and contemporary option. However, if you have free standing furniture you will need to find placement for these also. Keep in mind both functionality and aesthetics when placing the pieces and keep the style in line with your pieces that you have already chosen.
The final zone you need to think about is a separate reading or ‘chill out’ zone, if you have the room. This might be a comfy armchair or small sofa next to a book case or side table. Standard book cases tend to get very messy, so I try to go for wall mounted or ‘stand up’ book cases wherever possible (see pic). This brings us to storage. Everything must have its’ place! If you are able to utilise custom joinery be sure to build in plenty of storage, and if not, look for stylish storage solutions. The last thing you want is a room full of kid clutter!
Regarding lighting, task lighting on bedside tables and the desk is essential. If you have two bedside tables, make sure you use two matching lamps. If you are keen on a statement pendant, choose carefully and this can look stunning. For window treatments I favour plantation shutters for a crisp, clean timeless look that are also highly practical. However, roman blinds and curtains (think full length) can also add the wow factor to a room, especially if custom made.
Now we get to the fun part of pulling it all together. By now you should have chosen all of your fixed and large items and have your bed linen in mind. From here you just need to add the bits and pieces that are the icing on the cake, such as artwork, rugs and accessories. If you have hardwood floors a rug is essential and even in carpeted rooms a rug can still help to pull the room together. Either under the bed or a round rug near the bed can really add warmth.
Whatever your styling preferences just remember to have fun and don’t despair! It is possible to style a bed room that both children and parents alike will love.