10 Tips to Going from a Nursery to a Kid's Room

There's a fine line between nursery and kid's room.
There's a fine line between nursery and kid's room.

When the day finally comes to update your child's room from a nursery to a kid's room, the transition can be bittersweet. It's where you brought your baby home from hospital, where they slept alone for the first time, and maybe even where they took their first steps. It's the end of an era.

Creating a new grown-up room that reflects your child's personality and temperament will be fun, too, bringing with it a whole new set of memories. It will also be a chance for you both to collaborate on the project. This time you'll have someone around to share the decorating process with who is as excited as you are about making the space special.



Pick a Theme

Most children have powerful feelings about their current interests. Their hobbies and pastimes can make great bedroom themes. If you've used themes in interior design before, making the change may be as simple as applying a coat of paint, putting up a new wallpaper border and changing out the bedding and drapes. These days, there are so many themed home decorating products on the market that you can stick with one manufacturer's brand throughout if you want to. It's a foolproof solution that's fast and easy. One suggestion, though. Keep your major purchases generic. That bed in the shape of a car will have much less staying power than a standard bed paired with some car-related bed linens and posters.


Build From a Neutral Base

If you kept the flooring, trim and built-ins neutral in the nursery, adding a couple of bright accent colors like bright blue or lime to update a child's room will be easy to do without a major overhaul. You may also be able to give some of your nursery accessories, like wicker furniture, trunks or baskets, a new lease on life with the judicious application of a little spray paint.

Keeping the room neutral and working some child friendly design magic on the furnishings and accessories may be your only option if you're living in a rental where you don't have the freedom to paint the walls or change the carpeting. If that's the case, you can always update the space for your child with wall posters, vinyl decals, area rugs, bedding and pillows.



Convert and Multitask

Remove the changing pad and voila -- instant dresser!
Remove the changing pad and voila -- instant dresser!

The prospect of buying furniture that can last from the cradle into your child's teen years and beyond can be enticing. These days, you can buy cribs that convert to toddler or even full-sized beds. They're a great choice if you're sure you won't need a crib in the future, too. Some changing tables with onboard storage convert to simple dressers as well. Both of these furniture options make the task of converting a nursery to a kid's room easier. You may be able to buy a dresser and changing table separately for less than you'd pay for a convertible unit, so keep that in mind when you shop.


Go Bright

Kids love bright colors, and you can transform a nursery by changing out those pastels for eye popping shades of blue, red, yellow, orange and green. From brightly tinted plastic bins and shelves to bold stripes on the walls, using vivid colors in the design of a child's room is fun and easy. Use the rainbow as your inspiration. In fact, why not invest in a rainbow wallpaper decal and use it as a focal point over your child's bed?


Add Storage

This storage solution is genius -- and stylish!
This storage solution is genius -- and stylish!

Sometimes a child's favorite toys and games make the best decorations, and all you need is a creative way to display them. Open or freestanding shelving and storage bins can banish the lingering idea of baby from a child's room with a minimum of effort.

We love the pencil-shaped bookcase and matching desk, but it's only one example of a children's furniture piece that uses bold colors and a cute idea to create dynamic, fun kid's room décor. Think race car bed, princess' castle bunk beds or a fireman's truck loft bed with a play room underneath. If you can find someone handy, the possibilities are only as endless as your imagination.



Make a Craft Center

With the addition of a small table and some specialty wall paint, you can make your child's room craft central. Now that your baby isn't a baby anymore, she needs her own space and a few dynamic tools to make expressing herself a little easier. Chalkboard paint is a water-based latex paint that's easy to apply. It goes on just like regular paint, and your child can decorate it with chalk pictures or writing. If you don't want an entire chalkboard wall, frame off a small section, or apply the paint to a poster frame backing you've mounted to the wall vertically. You can also buy magnetic paint primer designed to hold kitchen, alphabet and other magnets in place. When you use the two products in combination, you can create the perfect arts and craft center in your child's room to give it added fun and function.


Child Size the Furnishings

If your kids have to climb on to the furniture, it's too big.
If your kids have to climb on to the furniture, it's too big.

You like furniture that's just right, and so will your child. Child-sized chairs, tables, benches, desks and shelves will help transform a nursery into a kid's space your child will love. A brand new bed that's the perfect size for your big boy is a nice addition, but even if you have a functioning bed, adding a few other pieces will customize the space and make it wholly his own. To integrate all those small pieces into a cohesive design, create functional groupings, like a homework corner and a distinct play zone. Anchor them in the space with colorful area rugs in kid-friendly prints.


Make it Personal

If your child is moving from the nursery into a shared room with a sibling, make sure to divide the space with well-defined areas for both children. One great way to do this is to split the room in half, painting one side one color and the other side a very different color. It may be a designer nightmare, but it could diffuse territorial issues later. Getting both children to choose their colors and participate in the design process helps, too. Kids can't always have a room of their own, but no one ever said that sharing can't be a fun, positive experience.


When You Want to Keep it Subtle

Subtle colors and natural wood tones work well, too.

If you don't like the idea of a themed kid's room or want to keep your child's room design consistent with the colors in the rest of the house, try using stripes and dots. When you're after something a little more subtle than Spider-man or rampaging dinosaurs, using dots and stripes (and even stars or wavy lines) creates movement and energy in the room. You can incorporate splashes of color in accessory items like lamps. These are also good transitional motifs when you want to update the décor in the nursery but aren't ready for a complete makeover just yet.


Lose the Baby Clutter

While you work to transform the nursery into a kid's room for your youngster, don't make the mistake of leaving baby accessories lying around. You may need those items again later, but for the time being, pack them up and put them out of sight in the garage, basement or attic. Your child is moving on to bigger things, so help him make the transition by getting the baby artifacts out of the way.


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!

Related Articles


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