f you don’t have a design background, the idea of putting together a room that can transition from charming nursery to teenage hangout space is daunting, to say the least. So, how exactly do interior designers curate a practical yet playful kid’s bedroom? “This may be a bit controversial, but I say, skip the twin bed and go straight to a full-size after they’ve outgrown their crib,” interior designer Emily Henderson tells MyDomaine. “Obviously, this only works if you have space, but if you do, it’s better for everyone.”
Not only does skipping straight to a full-size bed save you money in the long run, but it also makes reading bedtime stories more enjoyable for the whole family. “They can have that same bed till they leave the nest and it’s way more comfortable to read nighttime stories together,” says Henderson, drawing from her own personal experience. For more interior designer-approved kid bedroom decorating ideas, we scoured Instagram to find out how the pros approach this notoriously tricky design challenge.
Scroll on for 13 interior designer-approved kid bedroom ideas that strike the perfect balance between practical and playful.
1. Start With a Neutral Color Palette
It may seem obvious, but starting with a neutral color your kids can grow up with is key to curating a transitional bedroom. Take a page from Amber Lewis of Amber Interiors and opt to paint walls in a shade of bright white. The hue will act as a blank canvas for their evolving tastes, which will certainly come in handy when they enter their teenage years.
2. Opt for Understated Wallpaper
If you decide to go the wallpaper route instead, opt for an understated print in neutral hues. Take inspiration from this space, which was also designed by the über-talented Amber Lewis of Amber Interiors, and choose an abstract geometric pattern that will work as well with a crib as it will with a twin bed.
3. Make a Statement on the Ceiling
Rather than going all-in, opt to make a statement by installing wallpaper on just the ceiling. To keep the room from veering into the juvenile territory, gain inspiration from this beautiful space designed by Amber Lewis of Amber Interiors and choose a print that is age-appropriate for toddlers and a teenager.
4. Lean Into Built-In Storage Options
Here, Amber Lewis of Amber Interiors proves that bunk beds are far from passé. If your budget allows, opt to furnish your kid’s bedroom with a custom bunk bed complete with built-in shelving and plentiful storage options that will carry them from picture books and building blocks to textbooks and footballs.
5. Skip the Twin and Invest in a Full Instead
If space allows, skip a twin bed and go straight for a full-size bed as soon as they outgrow their crib, as interior designer Emily Henderson advises. By anticipating the future, not only will you save money in the long run, but you will be able to have more enjoyable bedtime stories with the whole family. Win, win.
6. Invest in Multipurpose and Transformational Furniture
Invest in multipurpose and transformational furniture to stretch your dollar. In this nursery designed by Emily Henderson, a daybed does double duty as a sofa with a simple rearranging of pillows. While it serves as a peaceful place for parents to rest their heads now, it will make a great “big kid bed” in a few short years.
7. Splurge on Foundational Pieces
Rather than buying furnishings that have an expiration date (such as a changing table), take a page from the designers at Chango & Co. and instead splurge on foundational pieces. Here, a classic dresser that can be used in any bedroom is easily transformed into a changing table with the addition of a changing pad. Genius.
8. Choose a Classic Color Palette
Decorating an elevated, kid-friendly bedroom doesn’t mean you have to abandon convenient furnishing staples like bunk beds. In this space designed by the team at Chango & Co., a timeless black-and-white color palette and a curated collection of eclectic artwork take built-in bunk beds to the next level.
9. Select Art Without an Expiration Date
Avoid themed artwork and instead invest in pieces that your kids can use throughout their childhood and teen years. Take a cue from this space designed by Amber Lewis of Amber Interiors and adorn your kid’s walls with artwork so chic they can even use them to decorate their first apartment once they leave the nest.
10. Think Twice Before Buying Miniature
While miniature child-sized chairs are undeniably adorable, they have a short shelf life and will quickly need to be replaced or stashed away once your children outgrow them. Instead, gain inspiration from this space designed by Chango & Co. and opt for hanging chairs that can be adjusted as your kids grow.
11. Opt for Well-Designed Investment Pieces
Not only will investment pieces carry your child into adulthood, but these items will also teach them how to appreciate and care for well-designed furnishings early on. Gain inspiration from kid’s bedroom designed by Studio McGee featuring a full-size bed, four-poster bedframe, and vintage bedside table.
12. Consider Built-In Storage Options
When designing a transitional kid’s bedroom, plan how space will work when their coloring books are traded for textbooks. In this room designed by Shea McGee of Studio McGee, a floor-to-ceiling bookcase, complete with ample desk space, and a window seat are ideal for a growing child’s interests and hobbies.
13. Make Sophisticated Color Choices
Selecting for a grown-up color palette is key when designing an adaptable kid’s room. Be sure to select a color that won’t scream “nursery” once your kids reach grade-school age or even their high school years. To make the transition from nursery to kid’s room feel special, take a page from Sarah Sherman Samuel and add architectural interest with a custom bunk bed DIY project.