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5 Must-haves for kids bedrooms!

5 Must-haves for kids bedrooms!

I need to start off by saying that I just LOVE designing Kids rooms. I’ve done three in my home already (and only have two kids!) and they have definitely been the most rewarding rooms for me. Designing your child’s bedroom can be one of the most fun projects to work on in your home. There are two reasons for this and both are aspects that I love about all interior design. Firstly, you inherently consider the little person who will sleep and play in the room and so will more naturally allow their personality to shine through both in the wall colours and the things you choose to put in there. We don’t often think about this for our living rooms or bathrooms but using this principle can help us create a unique scheme in our homes that we love for longer.

Turquoise and grey kids bedroom

And secondly, you are more likely to use colour and make braver design choices that you might not do for other rooms in your home. You can be really creative and fun with kids’ bedrooms and it’s exciting how that this creativity and confidence in decision-making can inspire you for future home projects. With a client recently I suggested some burnt orange in her toddler’s new bedroom to compliment the mid-century property and curtains they already had. Initially she wasn’t sure but decided to go for it and is now so glad that she tried something different and really loves the space! She also has a new found confidence in her interior design choices.

Girls bedroom black cast iron bed and clouds

As with any room my first question is "How do I want the room to feel?" Chances are for any bedroom you want it to be comfortable, safe, relaxing and cosy and for a kid’s bedroom maybe a little playful? I also consider what is the function of the room will be. Of course we will mainly sleep in our bedrooms, but maybe also play with friends and enjoy reading at bedroom. So with these considerations in mind, here are my 5 must have for any child’s bedroom:

1. Books

One of the most precious moments of childhood in my opinion is that moment when you snuggle under the covers at bedtime and read tales and adventures (or about diggers!) with our little ones. We all seem to acquire lots of books as presents thanks to lovely friends and family but where do you keep them all? You need some kind of book storage. There are lots of ways of doing this but I’m a huge fan of these ikea picture shelves. They are relatively easy to install (unless you have stud walls like us and then it's not so straightforward!) and the beauty is that little hands can reach the shelves to choose stories for themselves. Did you know that children choose stories based on what their subconscious is processing at that time? So letting them decide what book that fancy on a particular day is really important for their emotional well-being. I am really noticing this now as my 4 year old is becoming oh so aware of the real world around him and struggling with bad dreams. Thank goodness that stories allow him to explore and experience dangerous and scary aspects of the world in a safe environment and through another character’s journey. Fairy tales do an amazing job of showing how the protagonist finds his or her own way through the difficult path ahead of them (I have Bruno Bettelheim to thank for his thoughts on this). These picture shelves  are narrower than normal shelves so they can be lower to the ground but don’t protrude so much from the wall that you keep banging your leg on the edge. I believe Ikea spice shelves are also good for this as well and remember, you can customise them by painting them to tie into the room’s colour palette. I also love how they help dress the walls.

Kids bedroom bookshelves
E81A3039Jack's room.jpg
Kids bookshelf ideas

2. Artwork

This may seem a little indulgent for a child’s bedroom but bear with me. Think of the positive images and words that your child could see last thing at night and first thing in the morning? When I visited Hazel Nicholls beautifully colourful home I just adored all the amazing prints and word art covering the walls of her girls’ bedroom. She herself creates screen prints (which you can buy here) and I love how she was inspired by positive messages her mother crocheted when she was growing up. 

In my son’s room I framed some gorgeous cards he received at his dedication of flying birds and foxes that look great framed on the wall but also remind us all of our hopes, dreams and prayers for his life. In Jack’s new room we have a gallery wall full of affirmations that I want him to know growing up like...

Let kindness be your keeper

I love the bones of you

He also loves skeletons. But I mostly love how these powerful messages can encourage and uplift him!

E81A3031Monochrome Mint Kids Bedroom.jpg

As with any room, adding art is easiest way of injecting your should and personality into a room and there are so many amazing and affordable artists to choose from. Below are some papercut Initials which start from about £15 for the giclee prints from Rehanna Chaudri (someone who also features on my blog).

Rehanna Chaudri Papercut Initial

3. Lighting

Turquoise and grey kids room

Cosy lighting is a must. I’m a strong believer in trying to have dim lights close to bedroom to help melatonin to be released and help my boys get ready to fall asleep easily. I even do this after bath-time while we snuggle in the living room to watch a little bit of TV and try to keep horseplay to a minimum (yes I know dads don't help us here!) 

In Jack's old bedroom we got a star table light that the electrician wired into the wall which I still completely love and is one of my favourite aspects of that room. Fairy lights are a really nice option and will add detail to bare walls and always add a soft lighting and a bit of atmosphere. Another idea is to source some sort of animal or character light box like the rabbit below. I know my son is struggling with the dark at the minute and needs more than just a nightlight on to help him feel comfortable in his room during the night. You could also have a dimmer on the light switch so you can control the lighting really carefully and be able to switch it on gradually if you ever need to wake them up.

Rabbit kids bedroom light
Mint green kids room fairy lights

We are also massive fans of the Gro Clock in out house. My older boy who is four and a half totally gets it and stays in bed until Mr Sun comes out (except for when he wakes us up to tell us he doesn't want bad dreams). But what I also love about them is that they also create a nice dim night light so the room isn't pitch black in the middle of the night.

Gro clock with white grey wall in kids bedroom

4. Add some texture

Layer up with textures in you kids bedroom

Remember one of the goals for the room is  for it to be cosy and another way of doing this besides the lighting is to layer-up with lots of different textures and textiles. A long pile or sheepskin rug can add some warmth especially on wooden floors and blankets or quilts can add warmth to the bed and also provide a bit of colour. Cushions are also a good idea for adult comfort at bed-time stories and are also surprisingly fun toys as well! Blankets and think quilts are easy to travel with when going away for the weekend and can help little ones feel more relaxed with a bit of home with them (which will of course smell like home). A kind women knitted the white one for my first son and I have a couple I made for the boys myself. However I adore this quilt by Snuggle Truffle with it's bright colours and interesting scenes for children to not only snuggle under but enjoy looking at the people and places from the Lake District and even make up their own stories. And did you know that violet is apparently going to be a big colour in 2018...

Fells quilt designed by Snuggle Truffle. Love this great colour combination!

Fells quilt designed by Snuggle Truffle. Love this great colour combination!

5. Curtains

It goes without saying that you’ll need some sort of window covering in your child’s bedroom but whether you go for blinds or curtains take this one bit of advice, GET BLACKOUT LINING! In the winter this doesn’t matter so much but in the bright summer mornings you will thank me! Blackout lining doesn’t make the room pitch black in my experience but minimises the light so that when the sun rises your kid’s won’t detect the change of light and decide its time to get up and want to watch paw patrol at some ungodly time! A great little hack I discovered is that you can buy the blackout lining already made-up so that you just attach it to the tab of you already-existing curtains from Dunelm.

Kids monochrome curtains and bookshelves

But will it help them sleep?…

Your child’s bedroom is a precious space where they should feel safe and cosy but what we really want is for them to sleep well and want to do whatever we can to help them be well rested.


What effect can having a newly decorated room have on your child? For my son, and I’ve heard this for other toddlers too, if they have a hand in making decisions and are excited by the new space there is a chance that it will make them sleep better. I’m afraid I can’t promise this but it is definitely a possibility. When Jack was 21 months, my husband thought it would be a good idea to move him into a single bed. Our first round of building work had finished and his new room would be ready so my husband’s hunch was why bother moving the cot in to move it out again in a few months time! I personally thought it was a terrible idea but (for once!) decided to listen to listen and it actually was just what Jack needed. He loved the responsibility and freedom of his new bed and bedroom and started to drift off to sleep really well and stay asleep every night. He never climbed out of bed and would shout for me from under his duvet if he needed me. I was so surprised that it worked out so well! I’ve heard similar stories from friends that even choosing the duvet cover can help excite them about the process of going to sleep. It’s definitely got to be worth a try!?

Rocket on bedside table

Do you feel inspired about your child's new bedroom? Actually a lot of these points can be incorporated into ANY bedroom so go on and give them a try! My hope is that they will make everyone's life a little bit better and easier. After all, that's what I think interior design has the potential of achieving. I've written a lot about children's rooms in the past couple of months but trust me I've got lots of new things planned for the next few weeks including adult bedrooms (just in time for valentines day!), a home tour for my journey home series and where to go antiques shopping in SE London. Follow me on social media (all links in the footer below) or sign up to my newsletter here so you don't miss a thing!

Yours in colour and creativity,

Donna Ford SKirting Boards and Chandeliers


Disclaimer: All photography by me. Excerpts of this post first appeared Mummy's Gin Fund which is an awesome parenting website! The Fells quilt was kindly gifted by Snuggle Truffle and you can win one! Just visit my Instagram page and find the square with the quilt on it. You've got until Friday 2nd February. Good luck...

Monochrome kids bedroom with sheepskin and Snuggle Truffle quilt
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