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Design bedrooms that grow with your kids

From the Resene decorating blog

Keeping up with the kids can be tough – and expensive! Their tastes and interests change a lot and often, and as they grow, the amount and type of space they need seems to vary almost daily. So how do you give them a bedroom they love, that’s practical and age appropriate, without breaking the bank?

Here are a few simple ideas.

A dark blue kids bedroom

Shades of blue form an almost neutral backdrop to this child’s bedroom where key features like shelving, storage and the bedhead can easily be updated.

Walls painted in Resene Bunting, floor in Resene Sea Fog, bookshelf in Resene Hammerhead, bedside table in Resene Breathless, wall shelves and storage boxes in Resene Hammerhead, Resene Jalapeno and Resene Breathless. The bedhead and bedside drawer front are wallpapered in Resene Wallpaper Collection LL-05-07-4. Bookshelf and hanger from Mocka, circle rug from Mitre 10, quilt, pillowcase, cushion, throw and sausage dog from Adairs, navy bunny from Allium. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Bryce Carleton.

A kids bedroom painted with dusty sunset shades

Dusty sunset shades make the perfect backdrop for this sweet room, which could be easily changed with more mature accessories for a growing child.

This bedroom is cheerful without being cloying with the wall painted in Resene Sorbet, floor in Resene Triple Blanc, and headboard and vase in Resene Just Dance. Bedside table in Resene Soulful with details in Resene Just Dance, lamp in Resene Sante Fe, stool in Resene Moccasin and hook rack in Resene Blanc with hand-painted flowers in Resene Just Dance. Quilt, cushions and throw from Adairs. Project by Melle van Sambeek, image by Bryce Carleton.

Create a canvas

Decorating with your child’s favourite paint colours is a relatively inexpensive way to keep their bedroom up to date with their latest whims. But there are some things you can do, to keep subtly mixing things up.

The obvious way to prolong the life of your child’s bedroom colour scheme is to opt for a neutral colour on the walls, floor and ceiling, that you can then adapt with accessories and decoration.

It’s important to note here that neutral doesn’t need to mean white or cream, if that feels too adult or minimalist for an age-appropriate bedroom. For something different try warm greys like Resene Jumbo, which will work well with pops of bright orange Resene Trinidad or red Resene Pohutukawa. Or use a smoky, muted green like Resene Flax as a neutral backdrop and add fun bursts of hot pink Resene Cranberry or pastel yellow Resene Primrose.

Use the bolder shades on one or two items of furniture like a chair or bookshelf for an eye-catching effect. If your child’s colour tastes change, it’s easy enough to repaint one or two small items in different colours.

You could also compromise and keep one feature wall in an otherwise fairly neutral room that your child can change more often. It might be a bold splash of colour, or a drop of funky or themed Resene wallpaper. It could also be kept as an art space by allowing your kids to paint a mural on it using Resene testpots, or cover it in Resene FX Chalkboard Paint so the art can be ever-changing. Resene FX Chalkboard Paint comes in a range of colours too, so it doesn’t need to be a black feature wall.

Top tip:  A good rule of thumb for any interior you think you’ll want to update reasonably frequently is to go classic and neutral for the things you want to keep the longest. Then add finishing touches that reflect your child’s personality and favourite things.


A sophisticated kids bedroom painted with chic dusty pink

Chic dusky pink is a sophisticated choice for this bedroom. It’s given some childlike whimsy with bright orange highlights. For a more grown-up look, swap out the neon touches for a coppery shade or even deep plum.

Bedroom walls painted in Resene Wafer with polka dots painted in Resene Double Alabaster, toybox in Resene Urbane with triangles in Resene Big Bang, which is also the colour of the bedside table. The floor is Resene Pearl Bush, the plant pot in Resene Dust Storm and the mason jars are Resene Spring Wood and Resene Umber White. Project by Annick Larkin, image by Bryce Carleton.

A green-blue kids bedroom

Green-blues are a restful choice for both baby and mum and can make a fun nature-themed backdrop for a bedroom as your baby grows.

Upper walls painted in Resene Helix with lower walls in Resene Artemis, floor in Resene Poured Milk, toy box in Resene Silver Chalice, side table in Resene Fast Forward with the large vase in Resene Peace and small vase in Resene Cleopatra. The peg hooks are Resene Quarter Bokara Grey. Linen from foxtrot home, blanket from Sunday Home Store. wreath by Markantonia, T-lab animals from Father Rabbit, basket from Blackbird Goods, rocking chair from Contempa, cushion from Citta, rug from Father Rabbit, octopus from Tea Pea. Project by Gem Adams, image by Melanie Jenkins.

Accessorise for the personal touch

Cushions, curtains, chairs, light fittings, rugs, bedlinen and even the floor can be great tools for adding different accessories to suit your child as they grow.

Against a neutral backdrop, paint out a corner in a bold contrast to create a magical Narnia-style kingdom as a fun, imaginative play area for younger children. Switch that corner out for a surf or music-themed young teen, depending on their interests, and turn it into a study or gaming nook for older teens.

Art and posters on the walls are another tried and true way for kids to express themselves in their bedroom as they grow. Just keep layering accessories in different shades of a couple of their favourite colours and moving things around, or keep your accessories to a theme like space, dinosaurs, superheroes or ballet, and change just those accessories as your child’s taste changes. If you’re keen to avoid holes in the wall, paint Resene FX Magnetic Magic first before topcoating to create a magnetic wall space.

Think ahead

When you’re preparing for baby number one it is very easy – and completely reasonable – to get a little carried away with cute and picturesque decorations. The difficulty is, it won’t be long before your little one is much less little and the room feels too babyish.

Think ahead to what might make a fun, engaging space for a toddler and even a young school-aged child, rather than a baby. It might be using Resene FX Nightlight to create glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling and walls. It might be creating a cosy reading nook in one corner with a contrasting paint colour and plenty of comfy cushions.

If you do want to opt with some nursery classics, you can do it inexpensively by painting upcycled chairs and even a cot. Decorate by framing pictures from second-hand children’s books that can be subbed out for more grown-up pictures later.

It’s also a good idea to think ahead in terms of the size of your furniture. Instead of buying a child-sized set of drawers for an infant, buy a full size one that will last through the years. You’ll always use any extra space not taken up by clothes! You could also add a padded mat to the top of a desk or dresser to use as a changing table, then it can be swapped back to a creative, homework or study space.

Storage, storage, storage

We might all wonder sometimes how small children can generate so much stuff! But they do and it’s a good general rule when you’re planning any kid’s bedroom to keep adding more storage – you can never have enough!

Wooden toy boxes with lids double as great seats – and can be easily painted to match your child’s current favourite colour or main interest. Add storage cubicles to shelves, add shelves into wardrobes, add drawers under the bed, add a shelf to the bed-head.

Add some elements of fun to the storage options for younger kids with bright primary colours like Resene Fun Blue, Resene Moon Yellow and Resene Guardsman Red, and colour code things like toys, books and games to complete the effect.

That storage will still be put to good use as your kids grow. Nappies and rattles will make way for toys and puzzles, which will soon make way for sports equipment, hobby gear and game consoles. Even for teens, painting different storage units in different colours is a great way for them to add their personality to a neutral, future-proofed space.

Involve the kids

One of the best ways to keep the kids loving their bedroom design as long as possible is to involve them in creating it.

Even very young kids will have ideas on the colours they like and the tv characters or themes they want to include. Asking their opinion at the start and involving them in some of the actual painting, should mean they are more invested and are less likely to change their mind quickly.

Of course, nothing is permanent so keep the communication channels open and if you’re not ready or able to change their space on demand as they grow, commit to a point in the future where you will make some changes – and negotiate one or two small changes in the meantime.

Try repainting a piece of furniture and rearrange the room around it so it becomes a feature piece. It’s a simple way for a bedroom reset without a full design plan or budget required!

Resene Poured Milk

Resene Soulful

Resene Sorbet

Resene Peace

Resene Helix

Resene Just Dance

Resene Artemis

Resene Fast Forward

Resene Cleopatra

April 20, 2022

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