What is it that’s so cozy about children’s bedrooms? They always feel like a good place to be. From framed postcards to reading nooks, these 16 rooms from our house tours are full of great ideas. Take a look…
Consider a climbing wall (or not). “The climbing wall and net were here when we moved in,” says author Emma Straub of her Brooklyn home. “It would be such a dream room for some really sporty, climb-y children. And I don’t have those children. We look at it as an art installation.”
Make a reading nook. “Someone from our local Buy Nothing group gave me the felt and stuffing I used to make this floor cushion for the girls’ reading nook,” says single mother Marcelline Balfour in Manhattan. “It was my first sewing project, but I just looked up some tutorials online and went for it. Honestly, it is so crooked. But it works.”
Embrace the chaos. “People say children are little scientists and explorers,” says Sadatu Dennis, a mother of two in North Carolina. “So, if my house is a mess, that means my kids had a damn good day.”
Frame postcards (or book pages or magazine clippings). “Art doesn’t need to be complicated,” insists DIY enthusiast Xin Lu in Atlanta. “When I visited New York City years ago, I went to the famous Strand bookstore and bought a pack of bird postcards. They were so beautiful that I didn’t want to mail them! So, I framed them and put them on a wall.”
Find a middle ground you’re all happy with. “These girls love pink, and I wanted their bedrooms to feel fun for them, but also pleasing for me,” says designer Heather Taylor in L.A. “So, we went with Farrow and Ball’s Dimity — it vibes pink in the most subtle way.”
Create bedtime rituals. “We listen to a magical children’s storytelling podcast — Journey With Story,” adds Heather Taylor. “A Scottish writer tells fairy tales in the most soothing way: ‘All right, children, what was the souvenir, the little nugget, the lesson?’”
Scatter small lamps. “Our house is about connecting, and lighting is such a huge part of that,” shares author LaTonya Yvette in upstate New York. “There are only a few overheads but lots of small lamps to create ambiance.”
Go nuts with stickers. Instead of expensive wallpaper, designer Heather Ross made and stuck pony stickers on her daughter’s bedroom wall. You can find others here and here, including cars, animals and clouds.
Go for colors that feel right to you. “I wanted my kids’ room to feel gender neutral,” says Kat van der Hoorn of her Portland home. “When people talk about gender neutral, they think the color beige, but everyone I know who is non-binary or gender queer, are very not beige! So, we went for a vibrant green.”
Make the room feel like home. “Since their dad and I live in separate houses, we decided to have the same type of bed for the boys in both places, so that going to sleep always felt the same,” explains Kat van der Hoorn. “We ordered the exact same bunk bed for their dad’s house.”
Turn tables into art. “When the kids were tiny, we covered the coffee table with white paper,” says Catherine Newman of Amherst, Massachusetts. “It was fun for them to draw on the table, and their friends would come over and draw, too. It became a 20-year habit. When the kids were teenagers, I would come down in the morning after a big sleepover, and there would be all these tiny dirty drawings on the table or bad words, which was the funniest and most innocent rebellion.”
Give your kid choices. Andrea Ramírez, in San Rafael, California, made sure her daughter’s room reflected her interests: Trolls, books, a bean bag chair, and a very comfy bed. She says, “We brought Emilia to Ikea and she lay down on all the beds and picked this one!”
Tape up kids’ drawings. “I love blank wall space,” admits Lena Corwin in San Francisco. “It’s very calming for me, and it leaves room for transitory artwork. We’re always hanging the kids’ drawings and handmade signs for celebrations.”
Put all lights on dimmers. “Lighting is critical for a cozy feeling in any space, especially the bedroom,” says Laura Fenton in Queens, New York.
Start a measuring wall. “We have a height wall that everyone measures themselves on,” says my aunt Lulu in Cornwall, England. “You see the kids shoot right up!”
Hold onto favorite toys. “My father made this dollhouse,” says my aunt Lulu. “It has wallpaper and even loo paper! As a gift, you could always buy him something for his dollhouse, like a person or a broom. He made all the little paintings by clipping out pictures from magazines and putting them in tiny frames. Nowadays, when a child visits us, they just sort of disappear, and they’re up there playing with the dollhouse for an hour.”
What would you add? What did you love in your room as a child?
P.S. The best way to hang family photos, 10 more kids’ bedroom ideas and the best part of our apartment.