You’re moving to a new apartment with a kid (or kids!) in tow. Where to start? We’ve laid out some tips for choosing the right space for your child, keeping it safe, picking the right furniture for it, decorating it, and organizing it. Good luck!
Safety and Function
Do you have enough space in your new place for your kid or kids to each get their own room? Great! If not, you can still create a special “me space” for them using folding screens or by hanging a curtain in the middle of a larger room. The most important consideration when choosing a room for your child is that they’ll safely be able to get out of it in the event of an emergency. Is there a fire escape by the window that your child can manage? Scope it out and talk about how to get out on the first day in your new home. You never know when they’ll need that information.
Be sure all bedrooms, especially kids’ rooms, have a working smoke detector in them. Check their batteries regularly. Additionally, you’ll want to avoid doors that can lock from the inside, or at least be sure that they’re easy enough to unlock from the outside if need be. Always put non-skid rug pads in kids’ rooms, and be sure to secure any tall furniture that might be in them. To avoid burns and reduce the risk of fire, choose LED-type nightlights and bulbs, which don’t get hot like older incandescent light bulbs.
When choosing the right room for your kids, try to give them a space that gets plenty of sunlight. Kids thrive in natural light and a nice big (but secured) window can make their room much more inviting.
Furniture and Layout
Other than a safe and reasonably comfortable space to sleep, your child usually won’t need much in the way of specialized furniture. Picking the perfect bed can be an adventure in and of itself: bunk beds, canopy beds, fun-shaped beds that look like cars or boats, daybeds, and the standard twin mattress and box-spring combo are all good options to consider.
Young kids don’t really need anything else, but other pieces can certainly help make their rooms prettier, more organized, and personalized. I try to focus on items that are functional for the child’s current size and ability and that can grow with them over time. For instance, I have a dresser that we’ve added a topper to as a changing table for my baby girl, but I know that it will work as a plain old dresser for her when she’s older, too. The drawers are fairly small and low, so she’ll be able to use it herself from an early age. Additionally, our crib can transform into a toddler bed. Some stores even make craft/activity tables with adjustable legs — great for growing kids.
When selecting furniture for your kids, focus on natural materials that will be safe for them, particular if they’re still exploring everything with their mouths.
Kids’ rooms are mostly for sleep and play (or hobbies, for older children). With this in mind, arrange the furniture in their room in a way that leaves enough space for a play area. Alternatively, you might set up a space for your child’s hobby, such as a craft table or reading nook.
You may not be able to paint the walls, but you can still have a coordinated theme when it comes to decorating your child’s room. If they’re old enough, you can even let them help! Picking out curtains or art can be a real treat for a kid and will definitely increase the chances of them liking their space.
Choose a color scheme and stick to it when selecting curtains, rugs, lamps, shelves, and other furniture pieces. Steer clear of too many knick-knacks, focusing instead on what’s important to your kid and integrating his or her interests into the decor. Put some glow-in-the-dark star stickers up on the ceiling for the budding astronomer, a zebra-print rug on the floor for the safari enthusiast, and plenty of small trophy shelves on the walls for the star athlete.
My favorite way to spice up walls without using paint is by using removable wall decals. You can buy these online or in most home good stores, and their designs range from full-wall geometric patterns to small collections of stickers that you can arrange into nature scenes. Some feature words, and you can even get adorable baby-animal prints for the nursery, too. When your child outgrows the theme or you decide to move, just peel them gently off the wall. After that, you’ll be all set!
Toys, Clothes, and Other Things
Most parents would agree with “a clean room is a happy room,” but kids tend to disagree. Making organization as easy as possible for them and consistently enforcing clean-up expectations will make tidiness more likely.
Kids have short memories, so don’t expect them to always remember where everything belongs. Make it easy for them by clearly labeling every bin and drawer. It can be fun to paint a kid’s dresser with chalkboard paint and draw labels on the drawers in the form of both words and pictures: shirts, pants/shorts, undies, PJs, etc.
For the closet and shelves, invest in clear plastic bins, and put word and picture labels on them for all your kid’s toys and accessories. One bin for blocks, one for dolls, one for winter hats and mittens. Get young kids involved in a fun and engaging way by having them draw the picture labels themselves.
Do you have any tips for picking out and designing a great kids’ room?