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Room To Grow: Tips For Creating Great Kids' Rooms

As kids grow, their tastes change, and often, a revamp of their room is required. Reinventing the nursery into a big kid’s and then a teenager’s room does not necessarily require a complete overhaul or massive cash outlay. If you start out smart and make your child your design partner, you can trade in today’s ducky decals for tomorrow’s funky graphics with ease and panache.    

Start with solid basics – Invest in good furniture basics that are classic and can withstand the inevitable wear and tear kids will inflict. If the room can hold a full-sized bed, skip the twin bed step and go large. There is also no real reason to stay small in scale when it comes to the desk or dresser, if room allows. As your child’s tastes develop, you can also consider painting the furniture or detailing it with different trim or design elements to update their look and stay in step with your child’s age.

Change up accessories – Just as accessories can alter that little black dress, so can tiny touches change the feeling of your child’s room. Consider hunting thrift shops and craft stores with your child to pick out interesting, fun fabrics and trims that can be used to create or decorate headboards, curtains and drawer pulls. Try to eliminate old items as you’re adding new ones to avoid clutter, but let your child hold on to old friends, like favorite stuffed animals or framed pictures. Don’t forget the windowsill. Plants brighten any room and also provide your child with the opportunity to learn responsibility by having to care for them.

Maintain memories – That Justin Bieber poster may lose its relevance over time, but a memory wall of your child’s most important moments will stay significant forever. Create a space, such as a wall, shelf or bookcase, devoted solely to trophies, framed certificates, pictures of family, friends and pets as well as other mementos. This is the place to showcase collections, such as snow globes from family trips or much-cherished glass figurines. Holding onto special memories can make the room feel safe and familiar to a child who is getting older and experiencing the inevitable changes that go along with it.

Take paint in hand – Painting an entire room or simply creating an accent wall is immediately transformative to any room. Decorating with paint and pattern can also give your child the ability to create a unique and individualized space, while simultaneously paying homage to their favorite color of the moment.

Let them be who they are – Kids and their interests change over time and their rooms should reflect that. You may want to create a corner to house gym equipment, or build in a vanity table with lighted mirrors and room for tons of make-up. Possibly, additional shelving will be needed for an ever-burgeoning book collection or a wall will be needed to showcase black and white photography. Look to your child’s passions and make sure their room mirrors their personalities and current activities. 

Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at

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