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Decorating children's rooms: hot looks for cool kids

Oct 14th, 2011
Kids bedroom
Photography by Getty Images
Oct 14th, 2011

Kids can drive the style queens among us to the edge with their wants, but with a realistic approach to their needs, and some creative energy, we can give our young hipsters a room that encourages learning and stimulates their personality, too.

Today's kids are an indulged lot. They are born into a world of colour extravagance where choice is taken for granted. These 'cyber' kids are used to flickering screens and instant change and this undoubtedly affects their individual perception of colour, shape and pattern. It's only natural then to expect to see pixel images and DayGlo colours (in themselves a symbol of action and optimism) take form somewhere in a kid's bedroom. Kids are quick to pick up on trends, yet they select only what appeals to them in real time. While it's been said that many children's rooms are created by parents for (let's be honest here) parents who simply find shopping and decorating for their child too hard to resist, it's become increasingly obvious kids rule when it comes to colour and creative expression.

Plan ahead

Get the basics in place from the beginning and the room will be comfortable and safe for the growing years ahead. Don't complicate the room structurally with furniture that could become redundant. Children at any age spend half their life on the floor so build-in furniture which frees up the centre of the room and helps control clutter (well, that's the plan anyway!) and by also making it multi-purpose it'll adapt to your child's lifestyle.


Invest in a good quality wool carpet because, frankly, carpet is the best option for tender young feet and knees. Never skimp on bedding – your kids are not 'second cousins' – they need the quality stuff for their growing bodies. A king single can take your child through to the teenage years when they will usually demand a double bed.

Colour rules

Magenta is the pink de jour and indigo, or ink blue is seen in the trendiest domains of the young and restless. But all-white walls are cool, too. Using colour creatively will guarantee the space its point of difference. Just make sure it's the wow, not whoa factor you are trying achieve here. Remember some kids are more visual than others. Others need to be educated. You have to show them pictures, magazines and paint chips to stimulate their interest. A good idea is to scheme the room around three colours – you can stick with this through the years by mixing and matching the various shades and tones.

A child's bedroom is much more than simply a room to sleep in. It's an oasis for their imagination, a safe haven, a place to express their personality and a resting spot for their stuff. Let's face it, if you get it right, they'll want to spend more time in their room in preference to spending it in yours. And that's got to be a good thing.

Decorating trends for kids rooms

Typography and stylistic imagery is huge for the wall; wallpaper, photographic murals, stickers, decals, tattoos, call them what you will, are a fun, funky and easy way to add personality. Try Lilly & Lolly, Rockett St George and Pottery Barn Kids (now shipping to Australia).

Some parents are indulging the budding artist in the family with a 'legal' wall in which to express themselves.

Prints and colour
Lady of the manor, fairy, rock star or bohemian traveller? Little girls still want to be princesses (when the intrigue of rock stardom has faded) and big girls want a hippy-chic environment and are happy to surround themselves with a profusion of colours, prints, patterns and mirrored objects inspired by exotic travel (think India, Asia and Morocco). Try Ruby Star. Colour schemes that push boundaries – strawberry pink, Fanta orange and chartreuse green; warm grey with duck-egg blue and cream; mocha with black.

Designer styles
Scaled down models of replica designer furniture – think the Egg Chair. Designer brands. If you've got a cool $1000 to spare you, too can have the Bugaboo pram with Italian Missoni trim. Try Incy Interiors and Kid-O Store.

Plantation shutters
They have it over blinds and curtains with their safe and easy control of light and ventilation.

Pendants and funky wall lights
The funkiest are found at Ikea.

Eclectic furniture choices
Daybeds (perfect for sleepovers), fantasy-shaped upholstered bedheads, beanbags, floor cushions and small-scale sofas (boys, keep your old t-shirts and jeans and get mum to sew them into covers). Try Cocoon Couture.

Underbed storage
Toss the crates and go for pretty hat and fabric-covered boxes. To keep Lego tidy, use those colourful plastic double-handled ice-buckets.

Monogramming for little kids
Go for themes based on sport, especially cycling, though many young boys want their space to look like the locker room of their favourite football team. And every teenager wants a room to emulate a swanky New York studio apartment.

Looking for more indoor inspiration? Check out our Indoor section.



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