If you’re designing a nursery for a new baby, you’re probably caught up in all the fairytales and whimsy. But don’t forget that you’ll be spending a lot of time in the room as well, and newborns can’t focus on objects that are more than a few inches from their face, so you should be selecting the items that make you happy. And far too soon, your baby will be growing up and starting to show their own tastes and opinions. Since this blog is all about adding little luxuries to your life, I’ve searched the web to bring you some advice on how to incorporate a bit of glamour to your children’s spaces, making it a place that you’re both happy to be in.
If you’re going to buy large items of furniture, make sure that they’re of very good quality and can be handed down through the family as time goes on. This armoire has exquisite detailing and can easily be used as your child gets older. The shelves can be removed to add more hanging space, or you can take out the rod for bigger spaces to store toys or blankets.
Button tufting is definitely a timeless trend, and always makes your furniture look super plush and comfortable. Choose something in a neutral fabric, and you can easily repurpose it into a headboard for future beds. If you want to add a little sparkle, a quick DIY move is to stick crystal buttons over the fabric ones with 3M strips – very glam, and easy to remove as well.
Proper bookcases are a great option for children’s rooms. You can use higher shelves for displaying keepsakes, and lower shelves for toys. Store toys in neutral baskets to keep clutter at bay, and remember that the bookcase itself can be just as decorative as any accessories you want to put on it.
The best way to add a little whimsy into a nursery without going overboard is by playing with your lighting. I really love this balloon shaped one, but you can go for a regular chandelier, a fun pendant, or something super structural. Lighting doesn’t need to be timeless, but if you want something to last, then definitely invest in higher quality pieces.
Don’t let yourself fall into the clutter or boring trap when it comes to shelves. Purchase something pretty like this one, or DIY it, and it’s the perfect place to showcase things like jewellery boxes, first pairs of booties, and antique storybooks. Mix decorative shelves in with functional ones, and each item will have a clearly defined place.
Rather than putting money towards an intricate mural that will get painted over, try a tapestry. You can have them custom made, and it’s much easier to remove than an actual mural. Plus, it’s something that can be handed down in the family. I recommend simple scenes rather than themed ones, and this beautiful soft tree is so lovely.
Toddlers & Older Children
If you’re decorating for an older child, it might be time to update their dresser. I definitely recommend investing in a good quality piece while they’re a newborn. It can serve as a changing space in their first years, and will work just as well when they’re in school. This is a piece that can easily be used for years without losing any style.
Pin boards are important. It saves your walls from potential damage, and allows you to create changeable scenes depending on your mood. Artwork or photographs can be pinned to it, and it keeps things looking more curated rather than eclectic. Again, this is something that can be used as your child ages – changing displays from baby photos to schoolwork.
I love using proper artwork for children’s rooms. It’s a cost effective way to add character and playfulness to a room, while still being mature enough for adults to appreciate. I do recommend waiting until your child has started showing appreciation for certain things before purchasing something. You don’t want to buy a set of flower fairy prints when your child loves dragons.
A big mirror might seem like a strange thing to have in a kids room, but as long as it’s properly secured then I think it’s something to consider. Children like to look at themselves; not only does their reflection help them learn about their own body, but it also teaches their mind about reflections and depth perception. It’s also a bonus to check your outfit for peanut butter fingerprints or spit-up before you leave the house.
Hidden storage is a wonderful invention, and double-duty items are such a good investment. Your child has a place to put all of their toys when they’re done playing, and something like this storage bench also provides a perfect spot for reading stories. For newborns, it’s the perfect storage for extra nappies and sheets. And one day, if it’s stood the test of time, your older child can store sports gear or clothing items in it.
Buy a bed that feels a little mature. Children are always insisting that they’re very wise and grown up, so purchase something that helps them feel that way. As they get bigger, you can remove the base and keep the headboard, and it’s always nicer to look at a quality piece rather than a cheaply constructed item painted in a bright colour.
Playrooms & Bathrooms
Playhouses and tents are magical items for one reason: you can’t see all the clutter from the toys. A tent will not only hide all of that clutter, but children also like to feel like they have a bit of privacy. It’s also something that can be taken down and stored when it isn’t in use. These particular ones don’t have a floor liner, so getting hidden food and mess is as easy as tipping the tent on it’s side.
Comfy seating is a must for both you and your child. Whether you’re playing together, reading a story, or chilling out and watching tv, you need somewhere that’s soft and squishy to relax. These faux fur ones add so much interest without being overwhelming the rest of the space. The covers on these are also removable and machine-washable, so you don’t have to worry about spills or stains.
As I recommended earlier, if you’re buying large items, make sure that they’re good quality and can be used by the rest of the family. This huge media storage unit might be a bit much for a single child, but it can be used as toy storage when they’re young, and as a TV unit/bookcase system when they grow up. Don’t forget to style your shelves, and let the kids use the cupboards to keep their toys so there isn’t a mess all over the floor.
Let’s face it, we all wanted our name in lights when we were kids. Marquee letters are a great way to personalise a room without going too kitschy or shabby. Put a first initial over each child’s bed, or spell out a whole name. The lit first initial will be something that will keep in style for a long time, and you can always sell off additional letters when you don’t need them.
Play tables, especially tea tables, are one of my favourite furniture pieces for children. There’s something so sweet about them, especially when they look (or are) antique and have beautiful detail work. Your child can use it for playing, for colouring, or for homework. You can also add a glass pane over the top (with the edges rounded of course) to protect it from scratches and pen marks. Your children will then be able to draw on the glass with whiteboard markers, and you can wipe it clean with a bit of glass cleaner.
If you cave in and buy your child themed towels, don’t forget to pair them with nicer neutrals. Quality towelling is important for sensitive young skin, and there’s probably a good neutral out there that will match more colourful items. You should also have dedicated towels for your child; they’ll feel special that they get towels that are just for them, and you can wash them separately with a natural cleaner to avoid harsher chemicals.
A hamper is an essential item for children’s rooms. Children go through so much clothing, and it’s not something you want lying about on their floor. A structured hamper not only looks so much nicer than a dirty laundry pile, but it also helps to get them into the routine of putting their clothing in the right place.
If your child has their own bathroom, add a pretty shower curtain in a soft accent colour. Lilac and petal are the two options for this particular curtain, but you could also try a buttery yellow, soft sky blue, or pale mint if you’re looking for a more gender neutral colour.
The saddest part about timeless children’s spaces is that children do get older. It’s well worth sticking to neutral, quality items that can grow with your child, and last through any potential destructiveness. Convertible pieces are a good option, as well as items that feel like something you would have in a general living space.
And remember, half of the timelessness comes from the memories you make in the space. Sometimes scratches and dents can bring nostalgia, and it’s always worth saving good quality linens to hand down. Choose pieces that work well now, for what you and your child need, but can also be turned into family heirlooms. The rule of timelessness is to select items that you really love, putting your heart and your head into each decision.