From a Cosmic Mural to a Magical Forest Bed, These 13 Kids’ Room Ideas Stoke the Imagination
Growing up is overrated.
Published Dec 27, 2023 5:21 PM
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Kids’ room ideas are as individual as your little one. Some kiddos prefer nature-inspired details and calming neutrals to create a little zen retreat, while others gravitate toward bright colors and pattern-on-pattern to fuel their creativity (and match their energy).
Our goal as parents is to spark a love of design and show how it can be used to completely transform a room that feels uniquely theirs—whether that means reimagining a magical circus tent, rigging up a fairy tale–inspired forest canopy, or launching into outer space. Scroll down for 13 kids’ room ideas that are sure to spark the imagination no matter what your age.
Make Your DIY a Family Affair
Building this playful loft space was a team effort: New York City–based jewelry designer Tana Chung enlisted her father to bring the DIY project to life for 6-year-old Lyle. Ten days and several trips to Home Depot later, the trio had a cozy second-story nook complete with a fire pole—and functional storage along the top of the closets (a major bonus in Manhattan).
Foster an Expansive Worldview
Bedtime at North Carolina interior stylist and schoolteacher Stacey-Ann Blake’s house includes poring over a world map that covers an entire wall in her sons’ bedroom. “We can study the countries, cities, and states—and it’s way better than just having a plain wall,” say brothers Zion and Ian. Another bonus: “We point to where Dada was in the world and tell him good night,” explains Blake of her husband, now a retired United States Army Special Forces Green Beret. Who doesn’t love a colorful kids’ room idea that doubles as educational?
Save Room for a Little Whimsy
“The top floor, with its angles and secret closets, had such a fun and magical quality,” says Syeda Lewis, who enlisted New York designer Blaire Moore to transform her attic’s quirks into a functioning bedroom for her 3-year-old son. Custom canopy twin beds and a desk established the layout. But the one-of-kind design doesn’t stop there: A 10-foot-long cubby running behind the wall serves as a tunnel for an electric train, which charmingly emerges through various openings around the room.
Dial Up the Palette
According to Atlanta designer Kate Hayes, parents don’t need to “wait it out until the kids are older to design a home they love. We’re a family that really values fun, and I wanted that to shine through.” In her boys’ room, a zesty yellow hue covers the ceiling and built-in bookshelf, giving the otherwise white space added character, while a checked rug and Pendleton bedding keeps playtime cozy. Hint: An impactful (and renter-friendly) lick of paint tops the list of easy kids’ room ideas.
Spotlight (Rather Than Hide) Awkward Corners
To make her daughter’s attic room feel like an “enclosed nest” rather than a cramped corner, London designer Harriette Cayzer made use of every inch of the sloped alcove space: She added a nightstand niche, a bookcase, and drawers beneath the built-in bed. Then she lined the back and ceiling with Pierre Frey fabric and added a padded headboard and footboard. Tucked under the eaves, the bedroom is now the coziest spot in the home.
Go Bespoke and Balance Out the Rest
New York–based entrepreneur and serial renovator Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day just couldn’t find the right wallpaper while designing her young daughter Simone’s bedroom. The problem? Seeing repeats in the pattern irked her. And so, naturally, she asked her husband, artist Paul Ferney, to help her create one. The result is a whimsical landscape of life-size lemon trees against a pink backdrop (Simone’s favorite color). To balance out the bespoke wall covering, Jordan brought in budget-minded IKEA shelving and an Urban Outfitters table that’s perfect for arts and crafts and hosting teatime.
Make Their Passion a Focal Point
Celebrating your child’s love of sports (or any special interest, really) takes a little creativity to figure out how to display special items while not getting lost in all the stuff. Des Moines gallery owner Liz Lidgett tackled the challenge by bringing in vintage pieces with a backstory to her 3-year-old’s bedroom. Cue: stadium seating from the original Busch Stadium in Saint Louis that she scored at an auction; framed varsity-chic pennants and portraits of baseball players; and a former schoolhouse globe on a pulley.
Channel Ultimate Sleepover Vibes
Cowboy-motif wallpaper, tartan carpet, and playfully pleated curtains: This children’s room in Washington, D.C., has “best sleepover ever” written all over it. Designed to host a bevy of the homeowner’s godchildren, the space also offers under-bed storage and built-in shelves for each bunk, proving fun and functional can happily coexist.
Paint a Dreamy Backdrop
Maria Dueñas Jacobs, founder of kids’ jewelry line Super Smalls, had a practical maxim while renovating her New York City apartment (and approaching kids’ room ideas): “Make it beautiful but not precious.” In her daughters’ shared space that meant floating a lofted sleeping nook above twin beds. (Psst: The stairs double as storage drawers, and the upper zone can transition into a quiet reading spot later on.) The best part? Giving the walls a dreamy painted cloud backdrop.
Reimagine Classic Children Decor
At Sarah Sherman Samuel’s Michigan family home, the design of her 4-year-old’s room was loosely inspired by a circus—but you’d have to look twice to see the reference. Rather than bring in a bright red tent and menagerie of animals, she went with soothing green (one of her son’s favorite hues), clean stripes on the ceiling (painted freehand), and an arched bunk bed (DIYed over a weekend using plywood), complete with golden velvet curtains and tiger rug for a little showtime flair.
Layer Onto a Versatile Base
Sometimes you’re not designing your kid’s forever room, but you still want to make it feel warm and welcoming. While interior designer and DIY pro Ginger Curtis slowly renovated her historic Fort Worth, Texas, home, she remade the attic into a bedroom for her 8-year-old son. Drawing on his love of Indiana Jones, the adventurer-approved retreat shows off all his favorite pieces, but the simple maple plank walls and built-in storage cubbies allow for different textures and patterns to swap in and out as her kiddo’s preferences change.
Bring the Outdoors Inside
For her 9-year-old daughter’s room, London fashion creative Deborah Brett envisioned a fairy tale–worthy woodland scene that would feel like “sleeping in a forest.” She called in her set-designer friend to help her DIY a magical tree canopy out of plaster of paris that’s accented with silk leaves and twinkly lights.
Lean All the Way Into a Theme
When their 7-year-old asked to have a “big kid room” inspired by outer space, Dale Saylor and Joe Williamson of New York design-build firm Hollymount embraced the concept wholeheartedly. In addition to painting an expansive cosmic mural and rocket ships that transform regular floating book shelves (a smart alternative to bulkier furniture), the couple installed a wall-to-wall bed with hidden trundle and recovered a vintage wardrobe with removable constellation-print wallpaper. The lesson? No kids’ room ideas are too far-out, as long as you fuel their imagination.