Designing Rooms for Children & Teenagers
Hi everyone my name is Alex and I am a residential Interior Designer, passionate about creating beautiful and practical spaces in people’s homes.
I am often asked for advice on redesigning or redecorating children’s bedrooms which is not surprising given this room may need to be redesigned several times as your child grows and develops.
I like to split up this process into 4 stages by age, 0 -2, 3-7, 8-13 and 14+
Plan the space carefully, open space for play is important in a young child’s room. A safe, protected area with play objects within easy reach of the child will encourage exploration. Choose items with a range of textures, patterns and colours to stimulate their senses. Creating a peaceful environment is key for babies, try to avoid bright vivid colours on the walls and opt for soothing neutrals and ambient lighting. When selecting furniture for the nursery, in addition to a cot/cotbed try to include a chair for quiet times with the baby and also make sure that any furniture is stable and secure, cannot be pulled over or fall and has smooth edges to avoid injury.
TIPS 0-2: Choose a calming decorating scheme layered with soft textiles, black out curtains/blinds, cushions and rugs/carpet to ensure soft surfaces for the baby when they are starting to move around.
Things start to get interesting now as the child grows and they can have more input into their room. Try to include your child in the decision making of redesigning their space. Not only will they love joining in but the will feel the space is really special and hopefully look after it more as a result.
- Children love dens so think of including a secret place for them to hide and have fun, a teepee is great for this in small spaces.
- Child sized furniture such as a small table and chair is great for activities like colouring.
- A quite corner with beanbags or oversized cushions can be used for reading.
- Display toys and books at the child’s height so they can access them independently.
- Storage should be plentiful and appropriate so the child can access everything easily, sort items and put them away once finished with.
- Create a place for them to display artwork or a collection of their favourite things.
- Be sure to use wipe able, hard wearing materials that can withstand the sometimes boisterous play of a young child.
TIP 3-7: Children find it difficult to relax or concentrate in spaces with loud, saturated, bright colours on the walls. Keep the background calm and neutral but bring in accents of colour or images/wall stickers to liven up the space. Add interest in the accessories or with painted furniture. Also remember children’s tastes and interests change very quickly at this age so make sure the design can grow with them or that items can be changed with minimal fuss, otherwise you may find yourself redecorating every few years.
8-13: The Tween years
Children at this age start to develop a strong sense of their likes and dislikes and therefore really want to be involved designing their room. As before their tastes do change quickly so perhaps think about changing bed linen, rugs, lighting, curtains/blinds and adding artwork to give the room quick and relatively inexpensive updates.
- A space to study is now becoming more relevant so look at purchasing a desk and chair. A good tip is to buy furniture that can grow with you child and is height adjustable. Also look in second hand or antique shops where you can pick up great bargains and perhaps upcycle them with a lick of paint
TIP 8-13: Lots of physical and emotional changes can start happening over the Tween years so don’t be tempted to react to every new fad your child seems to like. Keep it simple and they will soon settle for what they really do like and then you can set about a big room overhaul if needed.
Having a teenager can be challenging and you will often see them retreat to their bedroom, their sanctuary away from the family. With more and more time being spent in their rooms a teenager’s bedroom has to work hard and have several functions. Ideally it should incorporate areas for Sleep, Study and Socialising and this is when clear defined zones come into play. Teenage bedrooms come in all shapes and sizes and each teenager will have their own distinct style of choice which may be influenced by peers, hobbies, fashion, media, music and sport, the list is endless.
- Storage is key to a teenager’s room, they accumulate a lot of stuff which needs to go somewhere. In an attempt to keep their room organised and tidy you must provide ample appropriate storage for all their possessions. Wardrobes, chest of drawers, shelving units, wall shelves are all key. Even under bed storage can be useful whether as a divan storage bed or just a large drawer on wheels under the bed.
- A generous workspace to facilitate increased homework is essential as is an abundance of electrical outputs for computers and electronic devices
- Chill out and socialising spaces are important, perhaps paint a wall in a contrasting colour to mark a more relaxing area filled with soft bean bags and calm lighting.
- A space for grooming is important for both boys and girls.
- Make sure their need for privacy is met when planning the space and that they feel comfortable.
TIP: 14+ Teenagers: Their design choices may differ hugely from your own taste during this time but it is important to let them be able to express their own identity.
In summary, redesigning your child’s or teenager’s bedrooms is great fun and should be enjoyed as a joint project. It is an opportunity to get really creative and start thinking as a child once again and ask yourself, what would you have loved in your bedroom?