How to: Decorate a kid-friendly room

How to: Decorate a kid-friendly room

How to: Decorate a kid-friendly room Author: Style At Home


How to: Decorate a kid-friendly room

Expect it to happen sometime between the ages of three and five: “I want a big-kid room!” Congratulations! Your preschooler has outgrown the nursery and it’s time for his or her first bedroom makeover.

Here’s the thing with preschoolers though: They’re stubbornly independent … as if we had to tell you this! “I want to do it!” is a classic preschooler mantra. While you may not want to give them carte blanche on every design choice, involving them in the makeover goes a long way in fostering self-esteem, creativity and pride in their “big kid” room – and big-kid accomplishments.

Here’s how to decorate a kid-friendly room for your little guy or gal – with tips for how they can help with a minimum of hindrance to you.

Comfort, safety, storage and play space are priorities in a preschooler room. Little kids want a room they’ll enjoy spending time in and sharing with their friends. Remember: preschoolers can be opinionated! It doesn’t mean you have to give in on that pricey designer bed, but it does mean it’s inconsiderate to expect your child to “live with” scratchy bedding or a wall colour they abhor.

Photography by Donna Griffith

1 Bed

Once your preschooler has outgrown their crib/toddler bed, it’s time for a twin.


  • An extendable bed is easily reconfigured so its length fits your growing child, but these beds use foam mattress pads rather than coiled-spring mattresses, which can be uncomfortable for some, for example, you, when you’re trying to lie beside your child to read at night.
  • A conventional twin bed will last your child many years, so buy the best quality you can afford to ensure proper back support and many years of comfort.
  • Use wool-backed mattress pads to protect the mattress and prevent dust mites.

  • Pass on the bunk bed. According to Health Canada, between 1999 and 2006, there were 2,530 bunk bed related injuries in Canada. With some caveats, older kids can use them safely. But no one under the age of seven should have access to one.
  • Buy bed guards or a long bolster cushion to keep your child from falling out of bed.
  • For all products, regularly check Health Canada for safety-related product recalls.

How your child can help
  • Let her test out beds at the store and select her bedding.
  • Teach him how to make his bed!


Photography by Robin Stubbert

2 Wall colour and wall art


  • Your child may or may not be tired of the existing wall colour. If she thinks it’s time for a change, flip through magazines or design books together to come up with inspiration. Or just ask her what her favourite colours are.
  • The Home Depot’s Behr paint display offers Disney paint palettes. Look for the Mickey Mouse shaped paint chips and pick up some of the inspirational brochures. Coordinating a princess-perfect or out-of-sight, outer-space inspired palette just got easier!
  • Stencils, peel-and-stick wall decals and artwork all add personal touches.


  • Avoid introducing volatile organic compounds (hazardous gases) into your home by choosing a low- or, even better, zero-VOC paint. To date, Benjamin Moore’s Natura line is the only widely available 100 percent VOC-free, fully tintable paint (most zero-VOC paints are limited in their colour range). If you like another paint manufacturer’s paint chip, bring it to the Benjamin Moore paint dealer and try to get it matched.

How your child can help

  • Show him a range of colours that are acceptable to you and let him pick from among them.
  • Let her grab a brush or roller and help. (Sigh: Yes, we know a preschooler’s “help” will slow you down, but you can always paint over sloppy work later, or better yet, just chill and let your kid be proud that she did the lower half of one door, for instance. Most preschoolers will lose steam before they can do too much “work”/damage anyway.) TIP Only let kids paint with no-VOC water-based paint.
  • Let him apply the wall decals and decide where the art should go.


Photography by Angus Fergusson

3 Storage

  • A preschooler rooms needs storage for clothing, books – and mucho toys.

  • Bolt or bracket any freestanding units (dressers, bookcases, tables) to the floor or wall so they can’t tip onto your child.
  • As with any other kids’ furniture, check with Health Canada for product recalls.

How your child can help
  • She can help choose the paint colour if you’re sprucing up a secondhand or flea-market bookcase or dresser unit.
  • He can be your “assistant” and pass you tools and screws while you bolt furniture down.


Photography by Michael Nangreaves

4 Play space


  • Kids love cosy nooks where they can play or wind down with a book. Try to find a corner of the room where you can set up a comfortably padded retreat with rug, floor cushions and space to play make believe.

  • If adding a pendant light overhead, regularly check the height to ensure kids can’t knock it with heads or toys.
  • Using a storage chest to demarcate the edge of this area makes it feel more intimate, while adding storage, seating and an additional play surface. Prevent pinched fingers by installing a safety hinge on any chest.
  • Place a carpet underlay beneath the area rug for extra comfort and so it won’t slip.
  • Wool area rugs discourage dust mites and don’t off-gas as much as synthetic rugs.

How your child can help
  • She can help choose the rugs and cushions.
  • He can help you set up the play zone.



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How to: Decorate a kid-friendly room