A child’s bedroom is their sanctuary. It is a place for them to sleep and to find privacy. It is a room in which you read to them and, one day, they read to you.
It is also an important retreat for older children who need their own individual space during their growth into adulthood. For that reason, a well-designed and decorated bedroom feels all the more welcoming and comforting, and the process of creating the aesthetic can be rewarding for you and your child.
In this article, we outline some helpful and inspiring tips for decorating the bedrooms of your toddler and your teenager.
Designing a bedroom for toddlers and teenagers is a very different challenge in terms of the final product and the process. Therefore, we have divided our tips into two distinct categories, and we begin with toddlers.
Safety must always be the first priority for your child’s room. A safe room can also be beautiful. Include child-safe toys, furniture and layout, as well as removing any potential hazards and beautify these secure elements through the colour scheme and design.
- Open space
Give your child as much open space as possible. That gives them room to play, explore and spread out, and on rainy days allows them to burn off some energy. Continue this idea with open shelving, which allows small hands and limbs to find toys easily and to put them away. Also, be smart with storage to create more open space.
Toddlers are always learning. Every act in their daily lives has the potential to teach them something about themselves and the world around them, and you can encourage this learning through the choice of elements for their room.
Keeping safety in mind, you can include objects such as a blackboard and chalk, plus drawing equipment, to develop their creativity and their handwriting. You can add toys that develop their fine, gross motor skills and their cognitive ability.
That is where you can be creative. Will you focus on one or two colours throughout the room or create an explosion of bright, mixed and fun colours?
You can also let your imagination run wild with the items you include. An art wall or chalkboard, a small swing, a rock-climbing wall, a bunk bed slide or even a cargo net suspended from the ceiling. Take inspiration from where your child likes to play and adapt the design to their personality and hobbies.
Finally, design your toddler’s room in the knowledge that their needs will change as they grow older.
Before you can help to decorate your teenager’s room, it may have to be cleaned.
- My teenager, clean a room?!
That may seem like an impossibility, but it is achievable and will benefit both you and your teenager.
Firstly, divide your thinking about your teenager’s room into two categories: Order and hygiene.
You may have to concede defeat when it comes to ordering. The reality is that most teenage bedrooms will never be neat and orderly, but they can be hygienic.
The mess that covers seemingly every inch of your child’s room could be just that, a mess!
Consider whether your teenager is functioning well in other areas of their life; socially, academically and with their hobbies such as sport, music, drama and art. If they are generally coping with life, then perhaps a messy room is not such a big deal.
Hygiene, on the other hand, is a source of concern. Wet towels, dirty clothes, unwashed sheets and old food do not belong in anyone’s room, especially for extended periods of time, and should be removed before any form of decorating can take place.
- How do I convince my child to clean their room?
Show them the end result. Show them a clean, orderly room in which they can find what they need, which is relaxing and calming, and does not smell like…a teenage boy’s bedroom.
To achieve this, you may have to help clean. This may fly in the face of your philosophy of parenting because, rightly so, you believe that any teenager is old enough to clean a bedroom. However, the end result is what is important, so offering to help clean up may be necessary.
Of course, you can use the tried and trusted parenting methods of bribes, incentives and punishment. You can also establish a strict routine, something anathema to most teenagers.
For example, tell your child that laundry day is a certain day/s of the week and that their clothes will only be washed if they are in the laundry basket on that day.
When your child’s favourite jeans, dress top or sports uniform are still dirty and smelly on the day they simply ‘must’ wear them, your teenager might finally submit to keeping their room clean.
Teenagers have so much stuff. Then again, don’t we all. Teenagers, however, have a way of displaying all of their stuff at once in their bedroom. They no longer use a lot of these items, so a thorough de-clutter is helpful before the decoration begins.
During the process of decluttering, as with every step of the cleaning process, small steps are important. Encourage and help your teenage child to clean and tidy their room in small increments a day or week at a time.
Forcing a total clean in one attempt may create even more conflict in the parent/child battle for a cleanroom.
If your child is naturally ordered and clean, and their bedroom is well-maintained, lucky you. Now, you can get straight to the task of decorating their private sanctuary.
Decorate your teenager’s room together. Allow them to enjoy a significant degree of input into the design and layout of the room. Remember that this will involve compromise. You are bound to dislike some of the elements they want in their room, but remember – it is their room.
- Professional help
Consider consulting a Decorist. They are professionals who specialize in interior decoration and can tailor the design of the room to suit your child, and they can be found online.
Decorators will ask your child what they want out of the room in terms of aesthetic, purpose and function. They will then suggest elements for the room as well as the overall look, and even help to set a budget for acquiring new items.
The bedroom is where many teenagers study. Therefore, it must be conducive to work and thinking. It must be as quiet as possible, be well-lit and well-ventilated and have space for a desk and study materials. Furthermore, it must be designed in a way that encourages and motivates young people to study.
- Make a statement
A statement piece can make a room. One beautiful, bold or striking item can center the room and can define the whole design aesthetic. Importantly, let your child choose this piece and have ownership over the design of the room. That could be a light, a piece of furniture or an accent wall.
- Go neutral
Choose a neutral colour. For example, use a white bedspread, then add bright and bold colours in the form of pillows, throws and blankets. Continue this principle in the rest of the room.
Paint walls a neutral colour and livens up the room with artwork, inspirational quotes, photos of your child and their family and friends, and even pieces that your teenager has made themselves.
Teenagers want to have fun. Help them to create a space where they can enjoy themselves either with their friends or alone, and keep fun at the forefront of your mind when suggesting design elements for their bedroom.
Think art, music and sport when searching for fun design elements to include in your teenager’s room.
As mentioned above, you may not like everything in your child’s room. Within reason, however, you must allow your child to express their personality and identity, and to take charge of the design process.
It is their room, where they want to relax and spend time alone or with friends, and it is part of the journey of asserting their independence.
Last but not least
Decorating your child’s bedroom can be a rewarding experience for yourself and your child. A toddler’s room can be joyful, colourful, fun and full of items that encourage their imagination and development. It is also a space you can decorate by letting your imagination run wild, just as theirs does.
A teenager’s room serves an important function in allowing them personal space during a challenging time. It must, therefore, be designed in consultation with them, and maybe a professional, so that children take ownership of the process.
The more involved teenagers are in the process, the more they develop into adults, and the more likely they are to keep the room in an acceptable state of order and hygiene. At the end of the day, your house will enjoy another beautiful space!