Kids' Bedrooms That Grow With Your Child

Filed under: Decor

kids bedrooms

"Room for Children" author Susanna Salk shares kids' room decorating ideas and explains how to make decor choices that last.

Author Susanna Salk says that the idea for her latest book "Room for Children: Stylish Spaces to Sleep and Play" came to her from being a mom. Salk says that she rarely saw beautiful kids' rooms featured in magazines or books, but she knew they were out there. "I saw adorable kids with their chic parents in magazines, but not their rooms," says Salk. So, she called up her designer and photographer friends and asked them to dig up the children's rooms they had designed and shot.

kids bedrooms

A room should have personality -- not a theme. Photo: "Room for Children"

It turns out that Salk's hunch was dead-on: She has compiled a book full of children's rooms that are inspirational. However, these are more than just picture-perfect spaces. They are a lesson in smart, chic design for children. We caught up with Salk to talk about how to design a child's room that will grow with your child:

Never make the room too age-specific. Children change and grow quickly, so avoid choosing anything that will feel too young or too specific to a particular age. For example, a cartoonish wallpaper or border chosen for a toddler will need to be changed when your 8-year-old decides it's too "babyish."

Don't dumb down design. "Children deserve to have beautiful things," says Salk. A child's room should relate to the rest of your home and should be a place that you love.

kids bedrooms

A sophisticated chaise and crisp window treatments won't be outgrown any time soon. Photo: "Room for Children"

Accept that it will evolve. "Rooms change and grow," says Salk, a parent of two boys herself. She recommends that parents accept that a room will need to adapt as a child's needs change.

Invest in the things that won't change. "A great rug can last all the way through a child's years in the room," says Salk. Light fixtures and draperies, if wisely chosen, can also endure for years and act as the foundation for a room that grows with your child.

kids bedrooms

A mirrored chest of drawers acts as a changing table now but can be used for years to come. Photo: "Room for Children"

Skip many of the usual nursery must-haves. Instead of one of those "ugly rocking chairs," Salk recommends investing in a great chaise that could be used for many years. Likewise, Salk says to skip the changing table and simply place a terry-covered changing pad on top of a great dresser (you'll want to use some sort of adhesive so it doesn't shift around) that can be used as a more grown-up piece later.

Avoid theme rooms at all costs. Trust Salk -- No matter how much your child loves Dora the Explorer or Star Wars today, it'll be something else a year from now. Instead of costly theme decor, let your child choose one or two accessories for the space, like a single vintage Star Wars poster.

kids bedrooms

Who says you can't paint a nursery black? Photo: "Room for Children"

Be serious about design, but not too serious. Salk points to the nursery Jenna Lyons designed for her son (shown above). With black walls and sleek furnishings, it is a sophisticated room, but it's also whimsical. "It doesn't take itself too seriously," notes Salk.

Pay attention to your child's preferences. "If you find yourself rearranging in your child's room again and again, something's wrong," says Salk. Instead, observe how your child uses the space and plan accordingly. "It's not a show room, it's your child's room," cautions Salk.

kids bedrooms

Let your child have some say in his room: A tie dye bedspread is okay, but a full-on Grateful Dead theme, not so much. Photo: "Room for Children"

Learn to compromise. As your child gets older, he will have opinions about his room -- use these as a lesson in compromise. For example, Salk says that when her teenage son wanted to put up movie posters, they chose some together and then framed them nicely. Remind your child that while his room is his own space, it's also part of the house as a whole.

Cut the clutter. The biggest mistake that Salk sees parents make with children's rooms -- of all ages -- is not letting go of stuff. "Order and display only the things you love and donate the things you don't have room for," says Salk, noting that it's a great lesson for kids to learn early on. "Get kids used to the idea: What is seen is what is used, is what is cherished."

Want more inspiration for kids' rooms? Read on at ShelterPop:
- Kids Room, Nothing Kid-Like About It
- Seriously Stylish Nurseries

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.