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10 Great Themes for Kids' Rooms

A bedroom is your little one's haven.
A bedroom is your little one's haven.
©iStockphoto.com/seanfboggs

Decorating your child's room in a theme is a wonderful way to reflect his or her interests and budding personality. Keep in mind that the look will change as your little one grows up, reflecting his or her evolving tastes (or perhaps those of a sibling who takes over the space).

You can make the decor more adaptable by choosing neutral colors for walls and floors and expressing motifs through easily replaceable items, such as bedding and window treatments. Here are 10 of our favorite themes for kids' rooms that you can pull off on a budget, but also have fun creating with your child.

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Go wild and create a zoo- or jungle-inspired animal kingdom for your little Tarzan or Jane. Use stuffed animals to create a play area or "critter corner." A small net strung between two walls is a great home for these lovable beasts and an easy way to keep clutter off the floor. If the ceiling's construction allows, a full-sized hammock makes a cozy spot to read or hang around with these fuzzy friends (and schoolbooks!). Try painting walls in shades of green or using leaf stencils to lend a rainforest accent. Other things that extend the theme include potted palm trees or plants, zebra-print throw rugs and accent pillows, and green light bulbs for lamps.

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Inspiration for a home-on-the-range bedroom is everywhere, partner.
Inspiration for a home-on-the-range bedroom is everywhere, partner.
©iStockphoto.com/sdphotography

From cowboy to country chic, converting your kid's room into a rustic retreat can be easy and fun. When selecting a bed, dresser, toy chest or rocking chair, opt for furniture made of light wood that's distressed or knotty like pine, birch or oak. Mix and match two or three complementary bedding sets (we like gingham, bandana print and denim) for a homespun look. Curtains made of old-fashioned lace or a barnyard animal print fabric can establish a down-on-the-farm look. Accessorize with inexpensive knickknacks, such as a tin water pitcher filled with wildflowers for a girl's room, or mason jars filled with little wooden toys for a boy's room.

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For your budding stargazer, we've got some simple ways to create a room that's out of this world! Affix glow-in-the-dark star stickers on the ceiling or walls to give the illusion of being in deep space. Woolite fabric softener also does the job; just paint it on hard surfaces with a paint brush or cotton swab. Turn off the lights, switch on a black light, and your child will feel like she's in orbit. To continue the theme, hang a solar system mobile from the ceiling, and try arranging framed photos of outer space wonders like planets, comets and constellations. A model rocket or high-powered telescope at the window can encourage your child's interest in space. Choose modern or metallic furniture to complete the room.

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Bring the outdoors indoors for your little nature enthusiast.
Bring the outdoors indoors for your little nature enthusiast.
©iStockphoto.com/aabejon

If your little one loves the outdoors, why not make his bedroom the next best thing? Start with a grassy or pebbly welcome mat by the door. Then, pick bedding and curtains that have nature-inspired designs: clouds, flowers, mountains or camping prints. You can bring the outdoors inside by transforming the ceiling into a starry sky with glow-in-the-dark stickers. Accent the room with a floral- or grass-patterned throw rug, or install a "lawn" of green shag carpet if you don't mind replacing it once your tyke outgrows the theme. A single-person tent can double as a play area and storage space for toys.

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Sharks, mermaids, whales -- it's no wonder so many kids are fascinated with the world that exists under the surface of the sea. Even if you're landlocked, you can inspire a beachy vibe by painting walls shades of cool blues or wallpapering them with an underwater scene. To extend the theme, put snorkel gear on stuffed animals, and display oversized faux pearls and shells in glass vases. Let your little one help you fill decorative containers with layers of colorful sand. Accessorize bookshelves and bureaus with sea glass balls or even a fish tank so your child can learn the responsibility of caring for a pet. If you're handy with tools, construct your own buoy-shaped seat to put in a reading or play corner. The end result: a circular bench built around a tapered middle section for back support.

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A canopy bed guarantees sweet dreams.
A canopy bed guarantees sweet dreams.
©iStockphoto.com/Liliboas

If your girl is a princess at heart, make her room fit for royalty. Dominate the space with plush fabrics in rich reds, purples and gold. A ruffled canopy bed or formal four-poster bed works well. If you've got an ordinary wooden bed to work with, paint it metallic gold and glue plastic gems and rhinestones in a fanciful pattern on the headboard -- or better yet, use the baubles to spell out her initials. Make your little one a throne where she can read and study by upholstering a high-backed chair in purple velvet. Building blocks that look like stone allude to the castle ambiance and also provide a great play space. Give her a crown and she's set!

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For the adventurous child who's bound to be a jet-set globetrotter, use creative accessories to establish a travel theme. Transform bland walls using world map wallpaper, and let your kid mark where she's been or where she wants to go with pushpins or stickers. Put up framed photos of exotic (and maybe even some imaginary) places. You can construct an innovative window valance by stringing wire across the top of a window and clipping postcards to it with clothespins. Use suitcases as toy chests or to stack as display cases for her favorite treasures from far-off lands. Look for bed linens, window treatments and rugs printed with airplanes, cars, trains or boats.

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Search the high seas, and you still won't find a better theme than pirate decor!
Search the high seas, and you still won't find a better theme than pirate decor!
©iStockphoto.com/shalamov

There's no need for your little rebel to protest against bedtime when his bed is a pirate ship! Attach a wooden wheel to the footboard, and drape triangle-shaped fabric from the ceiling to bed posts for a sail effect. Use off-white cloth and give it a weathered effect by staining it with coffee grounds and fraying the edges with pinking shears. Attach a wooden plank to the bed frame for your child to use as a nightstand. To dress up the curtains, fashion hooks out of tinfoil and attach them to the end of curtain rods. Finish the theme by strewing gold coins across the dresser and hanging pirate hats from pegs. If your little one likes playing dress-up, fill a treasure chest with a pirate coat, eye patch and wigs.

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What kind of dance does your child love? Ballet, tap, jazz -- or maybe tumbling and cheerleading? Whatever suits her fancy, use that genre for inspiration when designing her room. If your budget allows, install hardwood flooring and a floor-to-ceiling mirror to give the room a dance studio vibe. Put in a ballet barre along one wall; it takes up very little space and dramatically extends the dance theme. Plus, it's practical for at-home dance practice! Hang her first dance shoes from a sparkling mini chandelier, or arrange them artfully on shelving. You can also frame programs from her dance recitals or display old costumes on dress forms.

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He loves those cool blue hues.
He loves those cool blue hues.
©iStockphoto.com/ChristopherBernard

Themed rooms are great, but sometimes the more elaborate they are, the harder and more expensive a room is to adapt as your child grows up. But don't sweat it! There's a straightforward way to design a cohesive room without having to update it too much over the years: Simply decorate around your kid's favorite color. Decide on a color, and use a handful of hues to bring vibrancy to the space. Classic blue, for example, might be used with shades of soft baby blue, navy blue, ice blue and blue-green accents. Let the color inspire you as you select bedding, curtains and throw rugs, or even paint for the walls, baseboards and crown molding.

UP NEXT

How to Involve Your Kids in Room Decorating

How to Involve Your Kids in Room Decorating

Are you looking how to involve your kids in room decorating? Read our guide on How to Involve Your Kids in Room Decorating now!


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