By Ailis Brennan published
Whittling down your favorite kids' room paint ideas is no easy task, mainly because all the rules go out the window (or, at least, many of them do) when you’re designing a child’s bedroom.
When it comes to kids' room ideas, you can be as playful as you like, and that means bright colors, bold patterns and even dramatic murals are all on the cards.
That doesn’t, however, mean that you should throw the whole swatch book at the walls – it takes even more careful planning than usual to make a carefree color palette look good.
Kids' room paint ideas
To find out how to choose the perfect paint shade, design and style when planning kids' room paint ideas, we asked the experts.
Take a look at their tips, and get some inspirational paint ideas from a collection of bedrooms for seriously cool kids.
1. Transport them to another world with a mural
Bedroom ideas can encompass boundless imagination – so why not make sure their four walls encourage your child to think outside the box? As seen in this bedroom, even the simplest of painted murals can be a stimulus for creative play.
With just a canny choice of two complementary – and very atmospheric – colors, along with a zigzag design that can be easily marked out with masking tape, this child is instantly transported to forested mountains filled with lions, tigers, and bears (oh my).
2. Pick out feature furniture with paint
Kids' room paint ideas aren't just for walls. If you’ve got a tired-looking item of furniture that you want to turn into a statement piece, get out your paintbrush. This method works particularly well in a child’s room, where you have more licence than usual to colour block in bold shades.
Here, a vintage bunk bed is given a modern update with a lick of cadmium red all over, providing a contemporary take on traditional shared bedroom ideas. This is contrasted with white bedding and walls, but mirrored through red striped accents throughout the room.
3. Choose soothing colors for a nursery
‘If you’re decorating a child's room, paler colors tend to be more calming and soothing – both for the child and parents,’ says Judy Smith, color consultant at Crown.
‘A background of pastel yellows, soft blues, aqua greens and warm pinks can be a good basis from which to add more color. You can always add brighter tones on top of these colors in stripes, squares or a whole painted bedroom accent wall to inject a bit more fun as your child grows.’
4. Throw out the gender rulebook
‘As tradition goes in kids’ bedroom design, blue has been associated more with bedroom ideas for boys and pink in girls' rooms,’ says Interior Designer Ginny Macdonald. ‘I think that is an archaic thing of the past and that color shouldn't define someone's gender. I love the idea of blue for girls' bedroom ideas, and it doesn't just have to be added in in small doses.’
In this bedroom, a soft powder blue is the lead color in a pretty, feminine room for a younger child. The overhead storage and the skirting is painted, while the same color is mirrored in a patterned wallpaper on the walls and inside the cozy nooks.
5. Choose a finish that will do the hard work
‘We all know that children’s bedroom and playroom ideas need to factor in some wear and tear, so choosing the right finish when considering kids' room paint ideas is vital’, says Patrick O’Donnell, color expert and brand ambassador at Farrow & Ball.
‘For walls, choose finishes like our Modern Emulsion, which is washable and wipeable for accidental disasters that strike. For woodwork, resilience is key, so our super hard-wearing Modern Eggshell will fit the bill, from all your woodwork to bedroom furniture, and is even tough enough for painted floorboards.’
6. Create a rainbow headboard
Somewhere under this rainbow is the perfect place for kids to snuggle up at night. ‘Whether there's already an existing headboard or not, you can create an extra pop in the room by adding the same or a contrasting color to the wall behind it,’ says Natasha Bradley, interior design and color psychologist at Lick Home.
‘You can make the space really exciting for your little one by painting a rainbow, a cloud, or simply some geometric shaped kids' room paint ideas behind the bed. This will make nap time even more enjoyable and will turn the boring routine into a real adventure.’
7. Invest in graffiti-style artwork for older children
When planning bedroom ideas for teenagers and older children, consider swapping rainbows for something a little edgier. This striking wall mural contains nods to graffiti-style street art, depicting a fantastical urban scene created through the use of stencilling and spray paint.
If this is a little beyond your artistic talents, consider hiring a professional artist to create something bespoke for your child that they can help design.
8. Zone their workspace with color
Building a dedicated space for homework is never a child’s top priority in their dream bedroom, but pay close attention to it and they will thank you later. To help make a distinction between work and play, use color to zone their workspace area.
This technique works particularly well with a recessed desk area, like the one in this room. By painting this section of the room a more stimulating hue than the rest, you’ll make the area feel special and more exciting – and they might spend more time there than you expect.
9. Neutral walls don’t have to be boring
While it may be tempting to go to town with technicolor in kids' room paint ideas, staying restrained when it comes to the wall color does have its benefits. In this sophisticated bedroom, the pared back beige walls allow the feature green chair and pink patterned curtains to really pop.
Choosing a neutral color that is adaptable is also more likely to stand the test of time. If your child’s chromatic tastes change as they age, you can simply swap the color of the soft furnishings rather than needing to repaint the entire room.
10. Create a statement ceiling
As they drift off to sleep, the bedroom ceiling is likely the last thing your child will see before entering the land of nod – so give them something to dream about. A statement ceiling can come in all shapes and sizes, from a stencilled starry night to wallpapered maps of the world.
In this room, the bedroom becomes the big top, thanks to a simple but transportive design that uses small bedroom ideas for kids to turn a compact space into circus of wonders.
11. Give your pinks staying power by keeping them earthy
‘When it comes to decorating a girl’s room, most people seem to think pink should be the go-to shade,’ says Smith, ‘However, the latest trends have introduced more modern updates and fresh twists on this classic color scheme. Warm shades of terracotta create a grounding and restful space, whilst adding a punchy pop of color.’
‘For longevity, steer away from sugary pinks in favour of warmer tones that feel more grown up,’ adds Nina Tarnowski, founder of Woodchip & Magnolia. ‘This will ensure the décor grows with them. Consider softer shades of pink and soft peaches, balanced by gentle neutrals.’
What is the best color to paint a child’s bedroom?
There is, of course, no one color that triumphs over all others – a room color’s success is entirely down to the individual child, their likes and dislikes, your personal interior style and the architectural qualities of the room itself.
If you want to create a calming environment or are looking for nursery room ideas then paler, softer tones are best. For older children, consult them on their favorite colors. If they love bold colors then embrace it – but if it feels like too much to paint the whole room in the bright shade they picked out, then consider pairing it with more muted tones in the form of children's bedroom wallpaper, a simple mural or feature wall. You could also use that color as an accent throughout the furnishings and wall art, with a neutral base underneath.
How do you paint a child’s bedroom?
Painting a child’s bedroom can be the most fun you can have in interior design, and gives you licence to really get creative. ‘Reflecting their bubbly personalities, kids' room paint ideas such as dynamic patterns, eye-catching murals and bright colors will create a stimulating and cheerful scheme to inspire playtime,’ says Smith.
It’s also not only important to consider the color of the paint but the qualities of it too in relation to how the room will be used. Washable emulsions are a necessity for kids who love making art in their rooms, while hardy floor paint is essential if your child loves to run around.
Finally, consider how their tastes are likely to change, and plan accordingly. If they love one particular color, choose a shade or tone that is more likely to grow with them for a few years in the future.
I started out at British GQ, where a month of work experience turned into 18 months of working on all sorts of projects, writing about everything from motorsport to interiors, and helping to put together the GQ Food & Drink Awards. I then spent three years at the Evening Standard on the GO London team, covering restaurants and bars, and getting to eat and drink a veritable smorgasbord of wonderful things around the city. I left the paper in 2020 and went freelance, writing about food, drink and homes for publications including Conde Nast Traveller, Luxury London and Departures. A little less than a year later, I started at Homes & Gardens as a Digital Writer, allowing me to fully indulge my love of good interior design.
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