An organised room doesn’t need to be boring.
Kids’ rooms should reflect the little humans that live in them – and that means embracing flexibility, a sense of fun, and the knowledge that there will be mess. Lots of mess.
Did we mention the mess?
You can, however, help set your child’s room up for organisational success by anticipating what they’re likely to need as they grow, and keeping them involved in everything from décor to responsibility for keeping their own room tidy. Here are five steps to get you started.
1. Start with storage
Good storage is essential, says interior designer Nicki Dobrzynski, who runs interior business and website Cottonwood & Co (and counts cool 73,500+ followers on Instagram).
Kids, says Nicki, “tend to be clutter magnets (soft toys, books, rocks, shells), so having a range of storage options is key. Everything from good robe storage, to a decent dresser, baskets for toys, floating wall-mounted shelves and smaller boxes to collect all those little bits and bobs which can make cleaning and dust a bigger chore than it should be.”
She recommends starting with primary storage like built-ins or free-standing wardrobes (substantial furniture items should be safely anchored to the walls).
“From there you can work out how much extra [storage] you’ll need, which can then help determine the type of bed to get (bunks, bed/s with trundle, double or queen bed with storage underneath). Once you know what type of bed, you can work out how much extra space there is for things like a dresser, desk, bookshelves; or whether you’ll only need things like wall mounted shelves and baskets for soft toys.”
2. Choose big-ticket items wisely
Speaking of beds, says Nicki, it pays to “think long and hard about the size and type of bed to buy, and the quality. Many parents go from a cot to a single bed, which children can quickly outgrow, [and can] also be limiting as they grow and want to have friends to stay.”
Instead, she suggests: “Think about beds with trundles, or built-in bunks (if your ceilings are high enough) that also have added storage. Beds with storage underneath are a great option when space is limited.”
3. Be flexible
Children grow up all too quickly – which also means their needs and tastes can change frequently, making flexibility essential for a room that will evolve with them over time.
Says Nicki: “[One of the] biggest challenges is often making sure kids’ decor works in with the rest of the house but also creating a space that has a sense of childlike fun, while being sophisticated enough for the room to transition as your child grows. A child’s bedroom doesn’t have to mean all Spiderman or Dora the Explorer – there are a lot of ways you can decorate that aren’t permanent and can be changed easily and for little cost, like removable wall decals.”
4. Keep your kids involved
Kids are more likely to take pride in their room if they’re involved in creating and maintaining it – try letting them help choose anything from paint colours or decals to soft furnishings. If they (or you!) get overwhelmed, try narrowing things down to a choice between two or three options.
A bit of imagination can also go a long way towards engaging children in their room’s tidiness. Pinterest is a fantastic source of inspiration: think magnetic wall strips for ‘hanging’ metal toys; and colour-coded jars for storing crayons.
“Having storage at a child-friendly height also means they can easily learn to put their own things away,” says Nicki. Try toy baskets on the floor, shallow bookshelves that allow books to be stored with their covers on display, or using simple string and pegs to hang and display your child’s artworks.
5. Keep on top of it
“I recommend a good “clear out” every autumn and spring for things like clothes, toys and books,” says Nicki. “You can get your little ones to help by making a game out of it, so they have some input and you know you won’t throw away anything that really means something to them (even if it’s just a rock or special toy that YOU think needs to go!).”
Decide whether you’ll be storing, donating, selling or throwing away whatever you don’t need – and get decluttering.