Quick and Cheap Room Ideas for Kids' Bedrooms

by Kathy Wilson

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Decorating a child's room can be a challenge, but the first step is finding a theme to give you guidelines. Setting a theme for any room you decorate can save you a lot of money in the long run. It gives you focus, and that prevents you from buying items for the room that never "quite work." Here are some great theme ideas by age!


Babies like bright colors and faces, so aim for a theme where you can have both. Bright colors on the walls and bedding can be transformed into a room for an older child as time passes. Choose a theme that can be used temporarily, such as favorite animals, block letters and numbers, or simply bright shapes or designs. Favorite storybook themes are great, but steer away from buying themed fabric, bedding and window treatments, or you will just be buying all new in a couple of years. Stay with solids to save money, and add the storybook theme in the accessories. At this point, the decorating in the nursery is as much for you as it is for them. Just make sure to stimulate those minds with color.

Elementary Age

As your kids get older, they will want more say in the decorating of their rooms, as they should. Pay attention to what they are interested in, and try to create a room that reflects what they enjoy, not what you envision. You will probably get four or five years out of this room, so feel free to get a little more creative in representing their interest. Here are some theme ideas you may not have thought of. Try cityscape for that budding engineer or country house for that down home kid. Sports can be more than football. How about skating, gymnastics, or tae kwon do?


Here is where kids really want to express themselves, so your theme may include more grown up notes, but with a childish regard for color and flair. It's ok to say no to black walls, but encourage them with bright colors and shapes, and think about letting them help design and even execute the plan. Make sure they display personal things in the room that reflect who they are becoming such as trophies, pictures from camp, and awards from school. Paint rainbows on the wall, huge checkerboards on wooden floors, or let them have each wall a different color. Provide large floor pillows for a place to read or do their homework, and by all means, paint the ceiling! After all, we know how much time that they will spend looking at it. Make sure they have plenty of storage (the dollar shop is great for organizers!) and then give them the credit for the creative state of their finished rooms. Remember, at this age, they love drama, so let them express it!


Here's where you simply take the preteen room and grow it up. Maybe paint one or two walls a more subdued shade of what colors they have been using, and it might be time to update the bedding as well. Help them concentrate on serious endeavors by supplying a serious place to do their studies with good lighting, but let them have a comfy bed or chair to snuggle up with the stiffed animals on those "teenage" days. If they want to bring more of a grown up flavor into their rooms, let them give their room a style, such as "Country Chic" or "Metro Style," and add a few accessories, pillows or artwork to reflect that style. No need for a total makeover, especially since it will only be a few more years before they don't spend any time here anymore.

Kathy Wilson is an author, columnist, and editor of The Budget Decorator and Decorating Your Small Space. For thousands of budget home decorating ideas, visit her now at TheBudgetDecorator.com. Be sure to sign up for her free newsletter while you are there!

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