How to decorate children's rooms

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Creating a desirable den doesn't have to be a struggle, says Kate Watson-Smyth

Decorating your children's bedroom has traditionally been a tricky area – they want cartoon wallpaper and garish colours, you want something they will like for more than six months and colours that won't completely clash with the rest of the house.

Despite that, and the shaky economy, it seems that we are spending more than ever creating the perfect haven for little Johnny and his sister.

Laura Ashley has just announced an increase in its kids' range following an increase in customer spending of more than 10 per cent for the past two years.

So how do you tread the fine line between making a lovely bedroom that reflects their personality and one that they won't tire of by the end of the week?

The key lies in not overdoing it. If they like skateboards, then why not use them as shelves rather than papering a whole wall in manga images of them. In fact, steering clear of wallpaper is a good idea generally, as it's expensive to buy, expensive to hang and when they've gone off it – well, you get the idea. Instead, take a look at the enormous range of wall stickers available. They are easy to fix, can be removed without taking the paint off, and come in just about any theme you, or your offspring, can imagine.

Vertbaudet ( has a huge range of stickers, ranging from robots and butterflies to sharks, trees and even a blackboard in the shape of a crane, with prices starting at £16. also has a large range of beautiful designs, including Super Mario and Space Invaders, with lots of whimsical ideas as well – check out the sheep to count for the insomniacs.

Let them choose their own stickers to involve them in the process, which should allow you to concentrate on the rest. Which, in children's rooms, invariably means storage. Without decent and easy-to-reach storage, you have no hope of ever restoring order in there.

Tania Urban, a mother of four and the designer of contemporary children's bedding company Ella & Otto (, offers the following advice: "One improvement that has made a huge difference is giving each child their own hook and storage box. This stops all the smaller accessories such as hats, football gloves and homework spreading all over the house."

Toy storage is also crucial, as Tania points out: "Most people I know don't have playrooms any more, so not only do they need storage in their bedrooms but also in the so-called adult rooms too. You will always need more storage than you think.

"In a smaller room, a semi-bunk – a bed built on a cupboard – is a good idea. If they don't want to be high, then get a huge drawer built to go under a normal bed."

Once you have built the storage, make sure you have plenty of baskets, canvas bags and plastic tubs so you can tidy quickly and easily, and perhaps persuade them to as well.

Gillian Farr, the head of design at Laura Ashley, says girls are benefiting most from the increased spending. "We're seeing mothers shopping with their daughters and they are spending more on rugs, lighting and decorating accessories. In response we have built up our decorating category so there are more co-ordinating products."

Marks & Spencer's Kids at Home range goes from nursery through to teens and includes bedding, furniture, lighting and accessories. It has also spotted the potential of wall stickers, and there's a choice of around 70 different bedding sets. Its delivery people will also assemble any furniture you have ordered.

When it comes to the furniture, plain, sturdy and simple designs are best. You may both love that four-poster princess's castle bed, but she will probably hate it in a year. Get a plain bed and let her have a princess duvet cover. Vertbaudet has a great selection of designs, while Tania's are reversible, which helps ring the changes.

Desks are a good idea for all ages – little ones can sit at them to draw, before the older ones can do their homework on them.

The brave parent could consider painting all or part of a wall in blackboard paint – this will appeal to teenagers, who all seem to go through a phase of wanting a black room, and means they can draw and write on the walls with impunity. If you have the space, a couple of large floor cushions add to the bedsit feel, and while floorboards are probably the most practical solution, a few rugs will add some warmth and colour.

So if you keep the basics simple – furniture, walls and floor – you can allow them to have some autonomy in choosing the accessories, which, with luck, will keep you both happy and shouldn't break the bank when they want a change.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power