Small children’s rooms can be a challenge when it comes to decorating, but, with a little bit of inspiration, it can be easy – and inexpensive – to turn them into fun, attractive and organised spaces.
Whether you are looking for girls’ bedroom ideas or boys’ bedroom ideas, start with the must-haves and work from there – essentially bed and storage. A traditional single bed will just about squeeze – wall to wall – into a 6ft-square room, but leaves room for little else. In this situation, and depending on the age of your child, it may be worth considering a toddler bed – mattresses are 140 x 70cm – to free up a little extra floor space and just make the room feel a bit bigger.
Look for beds with built-in storage that can be accessed without having to pull out drawers or under-bed storage systems. Many divan bases feature sliding panels for easy accessibility that allow you to have a bedside table next to the bed. Alternatively, go for a bedstead, but one that is high enough to stash small storage boxes underneath.
Mid and high-sleeper beds make maximum use of floor space by raising the mattress level and incorporating, drawers, shelves, chairs, desks and even additional beds underneath. Sleeper beds can be great choices for accommodating sleepovers, while traditional bunk beds are the perfect space-saver if you have a small room shared permanently by two children.
Small children’s rooms will always benefit from built-in storage because it will make the most of every inch. But if you prefer freestanding furniture, look for dual-purpose pieces, such as a wardrobe that also features drawers. Children’s clothes don’t require full-length hanging space anyway so a half-wardrobe, half-drawer option can be a real winner in a small room. Always measure carefully when ordering furniture and hunt down a piece that matches your measurements as closely as possible.
In a compact space, make the most of walls for storage. Wall-hung shelves or units will not take up floor space. Open shelves will keep everything within easy reach and will make tidying a quick and easy task. But if you prefer a more streamlined look, incorporate wall cabinets so you can store toys and other bedroom paraphernalia behind closed doors. Look for shelves that feature hooks or peg rails for a little additional hanging space.
Awkwardly shaped rooms can be tricky to decorate. Make use of alcoves by choosing furniture or storage that can slot neatly into the space – think about going bespoke if you are struggling to find something that fits. Utilise those areas under low ceilings in an eaves-space bedroom by earmarking them for storage. Bedside tables, fitted drawer or even hanging space can be incorporated under the eaves with a bit of careful planning, leaving any full-height space for the bed.
If you lack the space to squeeze even a tiny desk into a corner, consider a hinged tabletop that can be raised for homework and lowered again flush with the wall when not in use.
Small children’s rooms can benefit from a carefully balanced colour scheme. It pays to keep a compact space white, but this doesn’t mean colour and pattern can’t be used to add fun and character. Window treatments and bedding are the perfect vehicles for colourful scenes and patterns and will bring bed and blinds or curtains into sharp relief in a white room. Add scatter cushions and rugs to increase the impact. Or knock colour back to a few key accessories, such as table lamps or wall art for a more controlled scheme.
Any space between a bed and wardrobe can make a neat little alcove. Don’t let it go to waste – use it for shelving. Here a mini shelf unit does double duty as a bedside table, while a wall-hung unit above adds more storage without sacrificing floor space. Look for a vintage-style design in a contrasting colour to add interest to a plain white scheme.
After more children’s room inspiration? Take a look at our playroom ideas
Squeeze a tiny desk into a corner and it can also double up as a dressing table in a girl’s room. Fit shelving and a pinboard above to help keep the work surface clear of clutter – essential when the desk is so small. Choose a chair that will sit flush with the front of the desk when pushed under or, better still, a stool that can be rolled out of the way completely. Here, pink and white across walls, furniture, shelving and accessories creates a pretty and welcoming feel.
Combine storage with display by using crates as wall-hung, box-style shelves. Each of these boxes has been painted to match a chest of drawers, creating an eye-catching practical feature space against a white backdrop. Each box has been lined with a decorative paper and then filled with favourite toys and accessories. The tops of the crates create additional display shelves too.
Buying children’s rather than adult-size furniture is one way of saving space – this bed, for example, can be bought in narrower and shorter sizes. However, you will need to weigh this up against the added expense of having to buy again once your child outgrows everything. Use paint colour to add interest to a plain wall. This mountain scape in warm orange is a lovely addition and makes a feature of the open shelf and the bed below.
Bunk beds allow you to have two beds that take up the floor space of one. Advice varies, so always check with the manufacturer about age restrictions on the top bunk. Look for a design that isn’t too low on the bottom bunk – ideally, you want to be able to use the space under the bed for storage. Choose lots of smaller crates rather than large ones as they will be easier to access in a small bedroom – and mix and match designs so your children can easily spot which are theirs.
Similar bunk bed
Great Little Trading Co
It pays to keep a small space simple. This teen’s room has a retro feel thanks to its hits of 1950s-inspired colour and pattern. An open shelf in white is a subtle addition that doesn’t break up the expanse of white wall, while white bedding and a vintage-style bedside table both add to the calming ambience. Retro print fabrics and accessories are all carefully chosen for maximum impact.
Mix and match patterns for a fun, vintage feel in a child’s room. Choose well and the combination can enhance even the smallest of rooms, adding personality and a sense of space. Avoid pattern-overload by going for designs with white backgrounds and a strictly controlled colour palette. Here, the vast majority of surfaces feature blue and white patterns and all are united by a hit of nostalgia in their designs. The wire shelf is a brilliant piece that also incorporates hanging space.
Castles for Rascals
Use fabrics to introduce colour to a small child’s room. Bed linen, cushions and blind all bring terrifically cheerful designs in blue, red and orange to this neutral space. A string of multicoloured ball fairy lights continues the colour scheme around the pale pink poster above the bed. The blue ground of the blind and bird cushion has been picked out for the bedside stool, which is a nice fit under the window.
Similar blind fabric
Fitted or bespoke furniture is the perfect solution for small spaces so – if your budget can stretch to it – go for it. This compact corner has been totally transformed with a cabin-style bunk bed that features its own staircase in place of a ladder. Wall-to-wall shelving accompanies alternate steps up to the top bunk – a lovely design that the kids will just love.
Similar bespoke beds
Attic bedrooms with their sloping ceilings can be tricky, awkward beasts to decorate. Often only a small percentage of the space can provide full head height so they need to be very carefully planned. Keep the area under the apex of the roof space for the bed and the narrowing eaves for storage. In this smart, whitewashed room, a bedside table occupies the perimeter space and makes an ideal spot for a table lamp. Lime green accents on patterned bed linen create the simplest of schemes.