Make it a space they’ll want to clear up (Alamy/PA)
Make it a space they’ll want to clear up (Alamy/PA)

10 things parents should do to keep kids’ bedrooms tidy and stylish

Play, design and parenting experts give Lisa Salmon tips on decorating and organising children’s rooms, to make them easier to keep clean.

Lisa Salmon
Tuesday 28 September 2021 08:55

A child’s room is rarely a tidy one, and if anything, it only gets worse as they get older.

Certainly, new research by Habitat (habitat.co.uk) has found almost half (41%) of parents say tidying their kid’s room is their biggest bugbear – yet one in 10 continue to do it, simply because it looks good on social media and for guests.

Despite the fact that many children’s bedrooms look like a bombsite most of the time, Habitat found that, on average, parents spend £729 per family on their children’s bedrooms every year – more than they spend on their own master suites (£704), spare room (£512) and the dining room (£649).

Habitat Kids spokesperson Emma Worrollo, a play expert from The Playful Den (theplayfulden.com), which runs a community, blog and courses to help encourage parents and children to be more playful, puts parental investment in children’s rooms down to an increased understanding of the link between play and wellbeing, as well as them wanting to keep kids inspired for longer, after 18 months of being forced to stay at home during the pandemic.

And The Mummy Concierge Tiffany Norris (themummyconcierge.com), who aims to help mothers figure out the best – and most stylish – way through pregnancy and motherhood. says: “Furnishing your child’s bedroom can be incredibly fun, but also daunting. There’s so much to think about – from colour schemes and safety to themes – and these need to appeal to you as an adult, as well as to your child.”

Here, Worrollo and Norris give their tips for creating a stylish bedroom that’s easier for parents and kids to keep tidy…

1. Safety is paramount

Norris stresses that safety should come before anything else in a child’s bedroom. “Always consider safety when it comes to your child’s bedroom – make sure chests of drawers are attached to walls,” she stresses.

2. Observe their play and design with it

Go with the play-flow to both help with organisation and improve creative play, advises Worrollo. “Take a step back and really tune into how your child likes to play. If they’re old enough, ask them about their space and what they love to do in it,” she suggests. For example, if they like lining things up, you could put up some small shelves – at their height – for them to line their toys up on, and tidy for you.  If your child is more active, make use of shelving again. “Get things up and off the floor, and trade toys for floor cushions, to give them more room to be active,” she says.

3. Look from a child’s point of view

If you want to encourage your child to help tidy up, it needs to make sense to them, explains Worrollo. “Get onto their level and work out a basic organisation system that’s within their reach and easy for them to comprehend,” she advises. “Talk about tidying in a playful way, using terms like ‘toy homes’ or ‘toy dens’, rather than making it sound like a chore.”

4. Consider adhesive wallpaper

At the circus: A Tripp Trapp chair besides colourful wallpaper (Tripp Trapp/PA)

When it comes to décor, Norris recommends parents use a ‘stick and peel’ wallpaper to make life easier for themselves, and keep kids happy as their tastes change as they grow. “It’s easy to apply, and means when your child gets bored of one design a few years on, it’s easy – and inexpensive – to change,” she says.

5. Make use of walls 

“Walls are your friend,” says Worrollo, who suggests putting up accessible bookshelves, hooks and whatever else works to spread out the organisation options. “Too much bulky storage concentrated around the floor is going to overwhelm the room quickly,” she warns.

6. Try a whiteboard wall

To reduce the use of bits of paper that usually end up on the bedroom floor, you could turn one of the walls into a blackboard or whiteboard, so your child can write things on it, such as homework reminders, sums, spellings or times-tables, and books they’d like to read, advises Norris.

7. Decorate the bedroom ceiling

If you and your child have contrasting opinions about how you want the room to look – they want a space theme whereas you want something more subtle – compromise by decorating the ceiling, suggests Norris. “You could add stars and moons on the ceiling, so when your little one lies in bed they can see it, whereas the rest of their room could be a lovely shade of pantone blue,” she says.

8. Create a work space

We all like our own space, especially older children and teens, so make sure you have an area in their room for a desk, where they can keep all their school bits tidy (in theory) and a lamp. “Let them help you choose the style of their work space, so they enjoy sitting there,” advises Norris.

 9. Make display zones

If a child builds a model or makes a piece of art – which Worrollo describes as “a little piece of their play soul” – think about reserving some areas of their room for display purposes, she suggests.  This could be a rail with clips that art can be hung from and, if you have space, a display cabinet or shelf for models can feel really special, she says. “While it might not be possible to keep all of these things forever, it’ll mean a lot to your child that you see value in their creations – and you’ll have somewhere to put things when tidying.”

10. Small things equal small storage

For older children who collect and play with toys that have micro pieces, use portable containers that have a variety of compartments. “Sorting and organising is a play pattern in itself,” says Worrollo,”so with the right tools, your kids might fall in love with taking care of their collections.”

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