How to design a functional kid’s room

With a bit of careful consideration, there’s no reason why a child’s bedroom can’t be safe, stimulating and good-looking too. A child’s bedroom has myriad uses – from sleeping to playing. They also form their personality there too.

Scandi style, spacious child room with cot, bookshelf and dresser

Here’s our top tips for designing a functional, fun space for your kids.

The essentials

First up, make a list of all the things you want your child to be able to do in the room, as this will help you figure out exactly what furniture is required. From a bed to desk, shelving and wardrobe, making this list will help you figure out just how much you can comfortably fit in the room and in what sort of configuration.


Just as adults love nothing more than retreating to a sanctuary at the end of the day, so too do children. It helps if you can engage your child from the beginning of the design process and find out about their passions and preferences.

Brainstorm using a scrapbook, or you could even set up a Pinterest board together during the design process.

Fun accessories

If ever there was a time for the design that doesn’t take itself too seriously, it’s childhood. Just as kids aren’t afraid to dance like nobody’s watching, childhood is the perfect time for their room to follow suit. From age-specific removable wallpaper to fun cushions, interesting pendant lights and bright lampshades, don’t be afraid to have fun with accessories as these can be updated inexpensively down the track.

In My Place with Norsu founder Nat Wheeler. Picture: Erinna Giblin

Don’t be afraid to have fun with accessories.

Space savers

From beds with storage drawers, bookshelves or a trundle underneath, there are so many ingenious space-saving furniture designs on the market these days. If it’s age appropriate, consider a loft-bed with either a desk or second bed underneath. Additional beds are always handy for a sibling or sleepover.

Safety first

Avoid slatted furniture as curious kids are often inclined to play around with slats and can also get stuck between them. Secure power cords (replacing old ones if they look worn) and install electrical outlet covers and plugs where appropriate. Avoid blinds with string cords as children can get themselves tangled in them, though if you already have them, tie them in a bow to keep them out of reach.

If installing a bunk bed, make sure the child sleeping on the top bunk is old enough to handle the extra responsibility and always insist on safety rails and a safety ladder regardless of the child’s age. All furniture should be sturdy – bolt bookcases to the wall in case a child decides to climb them.

Think creatively

Chalk paint, whiteboard walls and removable wallpaper all add a creative touch to a child’s room. Make like Angelina Jolie’s wedding dress and create a custom fabric from your child’s drawings.

From cushions, curtains or bed linen, they will get a major buzz out of seeing their own designs brought to life. There are myriad online stores to help you do this.

Originally published as How to design a functional kid’s room by Naomi Findlay. Author at