Create a room you will love as much as they do, filled with plenty of practical solutions as well as fun touches, cute color schemes and children's bedroom wallpaper ideas.
Decorating your child’s bedroom doesn’t mean you have to scrimp on style, in fact it is the perfect excuse to indulge their imagination and choose wallpapers that are bright, bold and full of fun. Although it is a good idea to avoid anything too current, such as cartoon characters they might grow out of, there is a wonderful choice of designs to choose from that can open up a whole new world of design possibilities and provide your child with a stimulating and magical environment to grow up in.
For more children's room ideas, see: Small bedroom ideas for kids – creative ways to make the most of your space
What type of wallpaper is best for a child's bedroom
Children's rooms are the perfect place to let your imagination go wild, especially when it comes to decoration. Bright colors and patterned wallpaper will create a personalized space for your little (or not so little) one. Choose a color scheme that can be effortlessly adapted as they grow and have fun doing the decoration together. Wall stickers are a budget-friendly option and can be changed easily.
Parents have always painted the nursery in anticipation of a newborn but, according to Lucinda Croft, managing director of Dragons of Walton Street, interior design for children’s rooms only started in the 1980s. ‘Designers were sniffy about children’s room right up until Princess Diana had her children’s nurseries done by my mother (Rosie Fisher, founder of Dragons). Then the cognoscenti started voting with their wallets and the decorators began to take notice.’
Lucinda designs rooms featuring murals and furniture adorned with Beatrix Potter and Winnie the Pooh characters. She says parents’ requests have hardly altered in 30 years. ‘Even though we do contemporary nurseries, traditional ones seem to be the most popular. Palettes have changed, though. A lot of people want to go with one color, a muted café au lait, with the artwork on top. Color in children’s rooms has gone all tasteful, rather than garish and strong.’
Decorators advise steering clear of using the latest cartoon characters on the wall, simply because they date so fast. Interior designer Charlotte Crosland says, ‘Children grow out of liking things so quickly, so you have to do something that will stay popular, otherwise you are going from one cartoon to the next.’ She advises decorating with characters from the stories that generations of parents have read to their children. ‘They don’t need the latest films, they just love things that are humorous and quirky.’
See more: Easy children's room ideas that will inspire children and parents alike
Children's bedroom wallpaper ideas
You can be so much more adventurous with wallpaper in children's bedrooms, so this really is the opportunity to indulge your love of color and pattern with bright and bold designs. Here we look at the loveliest of schemes.
See more: Wallpaper ideas for every room – decorate your walls with these designs
1. Use gender-neutral wallpaper in a child's bedroom
To create a flexible scheme that will delight both boys and girls, consider wallpapering with a grown-up botanical theme. The playful aesthetic makes for a great unisex scheme and is so simple to update as your children grow and choose their own favourite shades and themes.
As a general rule, choose simple furniture in neutral shades. Accessorise with cushions, curtains and bed linen in either co-ordinating prints (look for matching ranges) or pick one or two colours from the wallpaper print and use them as decorative accent colors. If the wallpaper print is large, choose a medium print for soft furnishings, but try not to overload the space in pattern either.
2. Create a feature wall that's educational, too
Create an interesting feature wall that will excite curiosity. A world map can work particularly well in a child’s room, acting as both an educational aid and colorful décor. Track down a good-quality mural company that can create a bespoke design to perfectly fit your entire wall. Practical flooring and furniture are excellent options in a child’s room. The dark grey carpet will disguise stains, while a hardy chest of drawers has great storage potential.
3. Choose a classic wallpaper for a nursery
Use contemporary ideas to decorate a room in a listed period house. Nothing says neutral more so than a cream scheme, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be so vanilla. Hand-blocked wallpaper with a quirky alphabet design works perfectly alongside the striking original features, which are the real stars of the show in this room.
4. Pick grey for a teen's bedroom
Yellows, blues or pinks are usually the go-to colors for a nursery but try using a grey-and-white color scheme instead. This combination is not only timeless, but can be personalized by adding extras, such as painted stars that can be changed over time as your child grows.
5. Opt for a bold wallpaper color for a cheerful child's room
Colorful wallpaper is a great way to inject a touch of creativity into your child's bedroom. Introducing some fun elements into a simple scheme will ring the changes. ‘The zeitgeist is to avoid trends – instead embrace your children’s passions and interests,’ advises Olive Loves Alfie’s Ashlyn Gibson. Take a color they love, and use it to create a grown-up scheme that is as fun as it is sophisticated. This rather daring scheme is a work of art.
6. Pick a subtle pattern that won't date
Forget stereotypes of cheap fabric and tacky design. Used in the right way, animal motifs can add a real sense of sophistication to a scheme. A children’s room is an ideal setting for a strong print, and an easy way to work animal motifs. This wallpaper is a modern take on the classic leopard print, and used in a soft blue color, it really comes into its own.
7. Pick monochromatic wallpaper for a room you can easily update
A black-and-white color scheme can work equally well in a children’s room. This space has a neat, tailored finish that is smart and practical. Break up the black with as many colors as you like to create a striking look.
8. Work in a 'wow' wallpaper
Kids' rooms have the tendency to be on the poky side, so if you’ve chosen a bold print, paper no more than a feature wall. If you have a little more room to play with, or if the print isn’t too bold, you can afford to hang the design on two or more walls. If in doubt, start with one wall and work up from there. You can always paint the adjacent walls in a co-ordinating shade.
The majority of design houses produce cohesive ranges of wallpapers and fabrics that are created to work together, but the basic rule is if you choose a bold wallpaper, stick to a simple fabric pattern for window treatments and soft furnishings, or vice versa.
9. Let your child decorate their own wallpaper
Picking up on a color theme for the room is a great way to tie the scheme together, so pick a shade from the wallpaper and fabric and reflect this in a choice of decorative accessories and artwork. A lovely way to personalize the space is for your child to create their own artwork, so provide them with a selection of fabric swatches, wallpaper and paint to create a collage that will complement the room scheme.
10. Pick a smart stripe to correct room proportions
Striped wallpaper is always a smart option for a child's bedroom, but hung vertically like in the room above, it can make a room with a low ceiling feel taller.
11. Factor in florals for a happy scheme
A stylish choice for children and grown-ups alike, the delicate but impactful nature of florals can add a new dimension to any scheme, whether traditional or contemporary. Choose a print that features large blooms, rather than a small repeat pattern, and is realistic in its design and style for an elegant finish.
12. Combine natural wallpapers for a fun finish
We love this idea – a combination of wallpapers across a feature wall. The key to success is that the colors are entirely complementary, so don't fight for attention or make the room feel chaotic. Instead, there's plenty of pattern to enjoy, and a calming, verdant color scheme.
How can I decorate my child's bedroom?
Thinking about your color scheme is a good place to start, as it means you can ensure any furniture or accessories you choose will work with your child’s room. Ask your child if they have a preference for wall color. Agreeing on a shade with them will help them feel a connection to the space and will make it extra special to them.
If wallpaper is you or your child’s preference, decide whether this will cover every wall or be a feature on one wall. Wallpaper can be a trickier option than paint, as themed designs may not always be flavour of the month in years to come, so they might need to be updated relatively frequently.
As children’s bedrooms and playrooms can often be on the small side, intricate wallpaper patterns should be kept to a minimum. Start with a feature wall and work from there, if it dominates the space, pick a color from the design and paint the adjacent walls in a bright complementary tint or shade. Try co-ordinating wallpaper and fabric from the same design collection in order to stop bold patterns and colours from clashing and overpowering the space.
Involving your child in the choice of décor for their room is a fabulous opportunity for them to express themselves and their creativity, so encourage them to take the time to consider what they would like and how it can be achieved.
What kind of wallpaper is best for a small room?
A small pattern on all four walls or on just one feature wall won't make the room feel larger, neither will opting for a large pattern. Instead, try these wallpaper tricks:
- Hang a subtle stripe across the shortest walls of a narrow room to make them feel longer – and the room wider.
- Pick out a wallpaper for a child's small bedroom with a diagonal pattern – doing so will make the walls seem wider and taller.
- As we said above, hang a striped wallpaper vertically to make a child's room with low ceiling look taller.
- Pick a children's bedroom wallpaper with a reflective design that will bounce light around the room, making it feel larger.
- Choose a children's bedroom wallpaper with a white or pale background – this will also make a small room feel bigger.