The moment you learn you're becoming a mother, your brain goes into overdrive creating a long list of things to do before the baby arrives. And one of the biggest tasks on that to-do list is decorating (and in some cases, building) a nursery. Though it's tempting to cover the room with playful wallpaper and pastel everything, it's important to remember that your baby will eventually grow up and outgrow that décor. And although you can redecorate year after year, you're better off utilizing tips for decorating a child's bedroom that they'll never outgrow.
Although decorating a child's bedroom is not the most difficult task you'll encounter as a parent, it is one that can eat up a lot of your time, money, and sanity — three things that no mom ever wants to waste. To find out the best way to create a bedroom your child will love for years, I spoke with Ellen James, site merchandiser for online retailer zulily. James is responsible for finding products that fit with the latest home décor trends (just look at what she pulled for the Ava and Everleigh photoshoot), a role that has given her a lot of insight into what moms want when it comes to their children's bedrooms.
"Moms decorate the house with some synergies to how they dress their kids," James says, noting that in most cases this means being on trend. But there is a way to stick to the trends and create a room that your child will love well into their tweens. Here are a few of James's tips for creating a room that your child will never outgrow.
1. Pick A Color Pallete
The first step to creating a child’s room is to pick a color. Or, as James suggests, multiple colors. “You should pick one neutral color, like a grey or a cream, and then two to four colors that pop with it,” she says. This way you are creating a more eye-catching space and have the option to switch out colors if your child decides one day that they hate blue. Additionally, James advises you have the color swatches whenever you’re shopping for additional décor to keep everything cohesive.
2. Find Furniture That Grows
Not literally, of course. James notes that you should seek out furniture that will work in a child’s room no matter their age. She also suggests finding items that can play double duty, something she kept in mind when helping decorate her niece's room. “We picked a book shelf that worked with storage bins, but as she gets older we can take those storage bins out and replace them with books.” Genius.
TRY: HomePop Dove Gray Kids Storage Bench ($100)
3. Work With The Vertical Space
When it comes to children’s rooms, people tend to keep things low and in the child’s reach. But James says it’s important to use all the wall space available, especially when you’re working with a smaller room. She suggests hanging shelves on top of one another, and placing things that only an adult needs access to on the top.
TRY: VIP Ribbed Wall Shelf Set ($50)
4. Use Their Artwork As Decoration
Kids produce a lot of pictures and craft projects, and there’s only so much room on your fridge and office desk. James suggests hanging these works of art in their bedroom and play area to add a little pop to space. “You can make a gallery wall with some inexpensive frames and switch the stuff out,” she says. James also suggests creating a banner using string and paper clips.
5. Play Off Their Initials
James has a great idea for a decorative piece that will last your child well into their teens. “For my niece harper I took a craft ‘H’ and glued all types of fake flowers on it.” By finding something generic and adding a little personality to it, you can really amp up a child’s room.
TRY: Heart To Heart Wooden Letter Wall Art ($9)
6. Avoid A Character Theme
A kid can be in love with a movie or TV character one day, and over them the next. This is fine if you’ve only invested in a few toys, but becomes a problem if you decorated their entire room in character-based decor. But if your kid is set on having her room decked out in Dora the Explorer gear, James says you can compromise by adding a few elements to the room. “My niece loves Hello Kitty so we have some Hello Kitty stuff in her room to play with,” she says. “But if she outgrows it then it’s easy to remove.”
TRY: Gray Chevron Comforter Set ($80 - $90)
7. Have Fun
“Once you get the stuff that grows with the kid, everything else can be fun,” James says. Paint one wall your child’s favorite color, add some fun wall decals, or hang a cool piece of artwork. The sky’s the limit and, after all, it’s just a room. You can easily re-do it if something goes awry.
TRY: Belvedere Designs Wall Quotes Decal ($17)