Designing kids' bedrooms – 8 top tips for a timeless space

An expert in designing kids' bedrooms, interior designer Emma Sims-Hilditch provides insight into getting these most vital of spaces just right

Designing kids' bedrooms with storage
(Image credit: Sims Hilditch)

Designing kids' bedrooms can be a decorative trap – we're often persuaded by children's current obsessions with colors, cartoon heroes and sports teams to theme their bedrooms in a way that might well have dated before you have even added the finishing touches. 

So when considering children's room ideas, how do you create a scheme that's both pleasing to them but has longevity, both practically and decoratively? The secret is to create a timeless space that might not see them from nursery to university, but will certainly be pleasing and enduring to both your children and you. 

Here, interior designer Emma Sims-Hilditch of Sims Hilditch offers her expertise for this most important of spaces. 

Designing kids' bedrooms

Whether you are looking for bedroom ideas for girls, boys' bedroom ideas or bedroom ideas for teenagers, these tips for designing kids' bedrooms apply.

1. Consider the design of the rest of your home

Designing kids' bedrooms with neutral colors

(Image credit: Sims Hilditch)

Children's bedroom design can jar when it contrasts strongly with your home's decor  as a whole, advises Emma. 

'When designing kids' bedrooms, it can be hard to strike the right balance between playful and timeless,' says Emma. 'A great place to start is to consider the design of the rest of the home, and make sure this room is in keeping throughout. 

'This might include color palette, materials used and textures. From here, you can start to build a welcoming and fun bedroom for your child that will stand the test of time.'

Designing kids' bedrooms with twin beds

(Image credit: Sims Hilditch)

Considering children's bedroom wallpaper ideas or kids' room paint ideas? Think subtle, says Emma.

'Where possible, we recommend avoiding covering your child’s bedroom in heavily themed décor that is difficult to change. Instead, why not opt for lightly patterned wallpaper which will act as a neutral and characterful backdrop to the space?' advises Emma. 

'Designs such as sail boats, florals and even aeroplanes work equally well.'

3. Less is more for a restful space

Designing kids' bedrooms with twin beds

(Image credit: Sims Hilditch)

This mantra applies particularly when you are looking at shared bedroom ideas, for small bedroom ideas for kids or for children who need a calm, restful space at the end of the day. Equally, if you have a playroom, it makes sense to keep your child's bedroom free of clutter – from toys to schoolwork – if you can. This will allow you to design a child's bedroom that's just about sleep and rest – or quiet reading.

4. Switch out soft furnishings

Designing kids' bedrooms with a single bed and bedspread

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'Scatter cushions, throws and bedding are easily updated as your child gets older and their tastes change, keeping the fundamental essence of the room in harmony with the rest of the home,' says Emma. 

'Artwork is also a nice way to bring character to the space. A younger child might prefer colorful pictures with plenty of texture, whereas a teenager might opt for posters and more neutral artwork and photographs.'

5. Consider a work space

Designing kids' bedrooms with bold wallpaper

(Image credit: Sims Hilditch)

'When it comes to lighting it is important to incorporate a desk lamp into the space. This encourages your child to enjoy reading independently. You might also consider installing a reading space within bespoke joinery. This can be easily updated into a desk to complete school work and pursue hobbies as the child gets older,' Emma advises. 

'A wicker basket or small set of bookshelves is a practical and attractive way to store books, school items and arts and crafts, making it easy for your child or teenager to access.'

6. Make it a retreat

Designing kids' bedrooms with quilt on bed

(Image credit: Sims Hilditch)

Bringing the same principles to designing kids' bedrooms as you do to designing your own bedroom will ensure their room is just as much as a retreat as yours. So while you might be focussed on keeping it uncluttered, you should also consider mood lighting – table lamps are perfect – and layering, such as quilts and cushions. The idea is that they will be drawn to their bedrooms to unwind.

7. Maximize floor space

Designing kids' bedrooms with loft beds

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Loft bed ideas are a must in a small bedroom, but even if it's not a shared space, consider them for children who love to host sleepovers regularly. Of course, you can also leave space beneath the lofted bed for a study or reading space – this is a wonderful way to maximize square footage. 

8. Make the most of storage

Designing kids' bedrooms with storage

(Image credit: Sims Hilditch)

When designing kids' bedrooms, prioritize bedroom storage ideas that will grow with them. This includes closets with adjustable shelving and hanging spaces, drawer space beneath the bed, and plenty of shelving. When they are young, shelving in particular can host, for example, toys, games and makes; as they grow older, it can make way for books, schoolwork and gaming equipment.

Where should a bed be placed in a child's bedroom?

Where a bed is placed in a child's bedroom is generally on the focal wall – typically the one opposite the door to the bedroom itself. You needn't push a child's bed into a corner – although this is the best way to maximize floor space. Instead, a child's bed can be placed centrally on the focal wall to make it accessible on both sides. This can also allow you to place storage units around the bed. 

How do you make a kid's room cozy?

To make a kid's room cozy, it's important to furnish it like you would any other living or sleep space in your home – with layers. Layers can of course include quilts, cushions, blankets and throws, but it's important to add comfort underfoot with rugs, too. And don't dismiss bedroom lighting ideas – these can add layers of light that can be very inviting and practical, too. Choose warm-colored bulbs and a kids' room will become quickly cozy.