Design

10 Fun Ideas for Kids’ Bedrooms

Sandra Ajanaku house tour

What is it that’s so comforting about children’s bedrooms? They’re always so playful and calming. From disco balls to bright wallpaper, here are 10 cool ideas for kids’ rooms from past home tours

Embrace Ikea. “I freaking love Ikea. We have Ikea beds for the kids, an Ikea dresser, an Ikea rug, this little Ikea bookcase,” says Happy Menocal. “I love this Fado lamp — it’s $20, but you plug it in and it looks so fancy. I could spend a whole day at Ikea, eating Swedish meatballs.”

Hang kids’ clothing. “It’s so easy to frame kids’ clothes — I’d recommend it to anyone,” says Happy Menocal. “I sent this little outfit to Simply Framed and asked them to mount it on white. It’s crazy how tiny baby clothes are. To be honest, my kids mostly wore spit-up-covered Carter’s onesies, but this outfit felt more frameable.”

Make things meaningful. “I put up this map mural to try to help the boys feel closer to their dad while he’s deployed overseas,” says Stacey Blake in North Carolina. “We’ve encountered a number of deployments, and I never want him to be an abstract figure in their minds. Over the years, we’ve looked at the map and seen where Dada is in the world. We incorporate him into the bedtime routine; we point to the map and say, ‘Good night, Dada.’ It’s a way to cope. It helps.”

Choose color. “For my daughter’s room, we wanted something vibrant and fun,” explains Stacey Blake. “I had lost a baby a year before she was born, so we call Cheyenne our rainbow baby. I craved a space for her that was brimming with life and happiness.”

Consider carpet. “The roof is pitched in the kids’ rooms and we knew we’d spend a lot of time on the floor,” says Lena Corwin in San Francisco. “I found a 100% unbleached wool carpet that felt like a good fit for us.”

Bring in family heirlooms. “Olana’s brass bed was passed down to her,” says Sandra Ajanaku. “Her paternal grandfather used it, her father used it, and now it’s her ‘princess bed.’ Olana generally falls asleep during the third book we read her at night.”

Get a comfortable (and comforting) chair. “I spent days in this rocking chair. I legit spent days,” says Kate Jordan. “After three months of maternity leave, I didn’t want to leave Izzy and go back to work, but at the same time I felt so isolated and lonely with a newborn in the woods in the winter. At a music class one morning, another mom was like, ‘Aren’t you loving every minute?’ and I was like, ‘Really? EVERY minute?’ My favorite part of being a mom has been this last year and a half. I can have conversations with this tiny person about all different things. Learning how her mind works is the most rewarding thing.”

Keep family traditions alive. “We still care very much about German traditions,” says Birgit Sfat. “For her first day of school, I gave Milla a Schultüte (‘school cone’), filled with treats and school supplies. She’s really proud of her German backpack. And our Christmas celebration is to decorate the tree together on Christmas Eve, which very traditionally German.”

Embrace their interests. “Eleanor’s room is all her,” says Kristen Mittler outside Dayton, Ohio. “She picked out her bed frame and everything, she even added the disco ball in the window. The string of Christmas lights is from the holidays, but she didn’t want to take them down.”

Eavesdrop at bedtime. “Now that we have two kids, they share a bedroom,” says Alison Mazurek in Vancouver. “Their conversations are hilarious. They’ll be in their room together at night, and Mae will pass Theo stuffed animals. ‘Nother stuffie, Theo?’ she’ll ask in her raspy low voice, until she’s handed him all of them.”

P.S. 11 cool ways to display family photos, and 12 more cool ideas for kids’ rooms. Plus, our own Brooklyn family apartment.

(Happy Menocal’s home photographed by Alpha Smoot and styled by Kate Jordan. Stacey Blake’s home photographed by Lea Hartman. Lena Corwin’s home photographed by herself. Sandra Ajanaku’s home photographed by Lena Corwin. Kate Jordan’s home photographed by Alpha Smoot. Birgit Sfat’s home photographed by Julia Robbs. Kristen Mittler’s home photographed by herself. Alison Mazurek’s home photographed by Britney Gill.)

  1. Sue says...

    I would love to know where the unbleached wool rugs are from. I absolutely love this room!

  2. Minati says...

    Would you know where the rug in Olana’s room is from!! I love it and it would be perfect for my daughter’s room

    • Amanda says...

      Me too!

  3. Emily L says...

    So in love! I especially love the giant map, since I’m a huge map nerd and can spend hours staring at Google Maps, just looking at where things are! I’ve never understood people who don’t have the same obsession! haha

  4. Naomi says...

    Beautiful rooms! My daughter’s room isn’t anywhere as coordinated… but she has a full wall of book shelves and its filled with books, books and more books. And that’s what she loves! We spend days reorganizing them, getting lost in reading something we forgot we had… As she gets older, toy storage slowly is giving way to more book storage. We have the PBKids Camden tall bookcase, and the Angled bookcase with a bin at the bottom which we fill with homemade blankets from her Nana… to wrap up in while reading, plus a Target bookcase, and one of the sling bookcases for tall picture books. And we’re out of space already.

    • Agnès says...

      My son is the same and I am so relieved that he will have that passion for the rest of his life. Books can be great friends, and readers are a great community. Reading has been his escape during the quarantine, here in France (single child, 6 year, nobody to play with but old tired parents!). I’m going to look for all the storage you mention!

  5. Jess says...

    I love the giant map on the wall. Also, I really love that the continent of Africa is centred.

    • Christina says...

      Isn’t Africa always centered on maps of the world? I don’t think I have ever seen a world map looking anything different than the one in the picture. It is a great map though, I would love to have one myself!

    • Agnès says...

      You would be surprised Christina! many countries edit maps for political/ideological reason and can change the scale or the center of the map. It is quite fascinating if you know the real map but it is a weapon! Check that tool, you will spend hours checking the real size of countries and continents (Africa is much bigger than shown on most maps! The map on the wall seems pretty accurate).

  6. Becky says...

    I love the map! We have an old classroom map of Australia on our living room wall.
    Also love the bedroom with so many neutrals yet so much texture. It looks stylish without overwhelming. I think it would be funny to see a kid’s version of the the home tour series. It would be a humorous perspective.

    • Emily L says...

      Yes!! This! I really love the outfit posts by Toby and it would be great to have a kid lead the home tour!

  7. Ashley says...

    Beautiful rooms, I especially love that confetti wallpaper, though definitely not calming, it is certainly fun and interesting. The frame baby clothes however is creepy to me for some reason. Maybe it reminds me of museum artifacts and the kids’ belongings were always a bit sad and eerie.

    Also, this is such a US/Western/wealth privilege for kids to have their own bedroom! Like to the point of WOAH, kids with their OWN SPACE looking like this??! In many countries kids don’t even have their own bed and the whole family sleeps together – which can be cozy and bonding.

    • Julie says...

      Privilege…yes. US/Western? Not solely. Also, having the time, space and means to read through and comment on Cup of Jo is a privilege… you could say pretty much every post on COJ blog is born out of privilege.

      I must say though, I do love bed sharing with my children! But, I recognize that I get to do so out of choice.

  8. Agnès says...

    The wall map is amazing! The other day, as we were all working on cleaning the house, deep clean, my 6 year old surprised us with “works” in his bedroom; it was cute and hilarious: he drew himself on the wall just next to his bed, then next to his bookshelves, on the wall: “La bibliotec de Camilo” and above his desk, “le buro de Camilo” all with arrows and mispellings. Love it.

  9. Maggie Spada says...

    I was scrolling too fast and didn’t realize you were featuring multiple families and couldn’t believe how many kids these people had! 🤣

    Adorable ideas and families.

  10. Thea says...

    It’s interesting to me that one of my must haves for a bedroom, A bedside table and lamp, is missing from all but one of these cute rooms.
    The light from a lamp is calmer and more cocooning than overhead lighting. Also, my kids all wore glasses and needed a place to put them at bedtime.

    • Anna says...

      What a great point! I hate when you go to someone’s house and they just have the overhead light. It’s so bleak.

  11. Kari says...

    Love the inspiration! My mom ist very creative and every few months she would paint a beautiful new picture on our windows. They were going out on to a street and not very sunny so she changed what we could see in this way. Pictures of Pinocchio, pirates and blooming meadows (depending on our current interests) would pop up 2-3 times a year as a fantastic surprise. I loved this. 40 years later I still remember the images.
    A few years ago I met a woman at a party and we realized that her aunt had lived in the same street as we had as kids. She mentioned that she and her mother had a ritual of taking a walk near her aunts house every few months to checkout if any new paintings had appeared on our windows. Even for these complete strangers the paintings had been a source of happiness. I am so thankful for my moms creativity and love and plan to have the glas colours ready if I‘ll be so lucky as to become a mom.

    • Anne says...

      That is an awesome story! I love it!

    • Jess says...

      What an absolutely lovely idea!!! You are lucky to have such a creative mother – what beautiful memories!

    • Julie says...

      That is so sweet!

    • Agnès says...

      that’s lovely!

  12. Rachel says...

    When I got married my bouquet was made of paper flowers. Peonies! It just seemed silly to spend lots of money on something beautiful you’d have to throw away. The flowers now sit in a vase in my daughter’s room and are a cheerful bit of decor and really happy memory.

  13. Amy says...

    Getting a disco ball right now!

    • Emily says...

      Glad to see I’m not the only one who wanted one immediately! Eleanor is such a trendsetter!

    • Tricia says...

      A late night wine-fueled purchase, early on in quarantine, was a giant copper-colored disco ball. I rolled it out onto the floor while the sunlight was streaming through the front window as my daughter was trying to gear up for her online school days. Will definitely be Using it for her first day of distance learning school next week.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s wonderful, Tricia!

  14. Cooper says...

    My daughter’s aunt and uncle got her one of those cool solar-powered rainbow makers from the MoMA store for her first birthday in December. We hung it in her bedroom window right away but it just hung there and didn’t move for several months. However, once summer hit, the sun started striking her window at just the right angle to bring the thing to life every evening around 6 p.m. So now we have “rainbow hour” every night before bedtime when the sun-powered prisms start to rotate and beam dancing rainbows all over her bedroom walls – it’s such a magical way to end the day!

  15. claire says...

    I would love inspo for sharing a bedroom with a child. My 4 year old and I are living in a 1br – trying to figure out how to elegantly combine and yet define our spaces. I have a tent/princess drapey thing over her toddler bed which lends some privacy…

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      For sure! We’re on it. In the meantime, do you have a noise machine? Those are so great for privacy in the same room.

  16. Robin says...

    Yes! Especially for a range of ages. And other strategies for wins – so far my best idea by far is mid afternoon popsicle o’clock for the whole household. We’re all happier as a result ;).

  17. Rachael says...

    So fun to see what other people are doing! We’ve been working on our kids’ bedrooms the last month trying to really make them comforting and exciting places that reflect their interests. We have six kids—our two teenage daughters each have their own room and kind of do their own thing with it (think twinkle lights and walls plastered with photos of their friends), but our four younger boys are really into doing “themes.” So our two littlest boys (7 and 4) have an adventure-themed room that reflects their love of camping (a mountain mural, teepee, wooden adventure/animal signs) and our 9 and 11 yr-old share a room with a giant built-in desk that has tons of LEGO storage. They designed all the art in their room, we framed some of their favorite pieces, and then they painted big letters that say CREATE and hung them over their LEGO desk. They also picked out dark navy paint for an accent wall over their desk and bright yellow chairs and it just makes me so happy whenever I go into their rooms because they are SO proud of their “beautiful rooms” and try to keep them tidy which was NOT the case before we really spent time together thinking about how they wanted to use their rooms and designing accordingly.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      you sound like the nicest parents!

  18. Jess says...

    I would love to see some home schooling setups too!

    • mollcoll says...

      Yes – same here! Our 3 kids will be doing distanced learning for some portion of the academic year, and I think we’ll have to use their bedrooms for their school zooms/work stations.

  19. Steph says...

    Haha, calming? Not in my house. We have thousands of lego pieces for parents to step on, nature treasures slowly decomposing in the corner, and drawings helter-skelter taped on the wall. It’s a mess. I follow some of these people on Instagram and know their kids make messes too. Would have been lovely to see both versions – the styled, and the kid mess ones!

    • Katie says...

      This is my house. I have a cloth napkin on the dining table right now with a dead butterfly, dead moth, a cicada exoskeleton, about 9 wilting leaves, and 5 different feathers. There is an old peanut butter container with a few rotten mullberries (because he wants to see what happens) in it, a whole shelf in the living room with rocks both precious, and road bed gravel. We have a tortoise shell, some to go containers filled with dead interesting bugs, shed antlers, an entire arsenal of sticks on the porch, some are cool beaver sticks, others are just…sticks…This list goes on. The lego table is very well used, but also very dusty because the thought of destroying any creations brings on tears. I did frame some pictures; that helped. Generally, the house is clean, but it’s hard for me to put a space limit on genuine interests. I wonder if instagram homes ever get to look like this. Oh well. It will all be gone one day, so it’s fine for now.

    • Agnès says...

      There are beautiful messes and katie, I want to meet your kid(s)! Please don’t put a space limit. We’ce totally decided to “sacrifice” having a dining-room and a living-room and we’ve turned these 2 rooms into art studio-playroom (for adults and children); we have meals in the kitchen, always, and “living-room time” in these areas; it’s fun. Those are my priorities! (I love that the kitchen is always neat and tidy though)

  20. MinCanada says...

    this is so fun! i just hit “buy” on a disco ball for my home office, inspired by Eleanor’s room. more fun, sparkly, colorful, playful design is needed everywhere these days!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Love that!

  21. Rachael Cole says...

    Would be great to do a follow up post on setting up a remote learning station(s) for kids in their bedroom and/or other spot in the house. It would be great to see how different parents are handling.

    • Erin says...

      Yes, please! I like this idea!

    • Lana says...

      We are doing this and I’m actually writing an article about for the local paper I work for. Originally, I had this idea to make everything neutral and “Waldorfy” but my husband was like, “It’s a “learning center!” They are missing out so much on kid stuff already, let’s make it really bright and fun!” I’m awful at putting things together, so I’d love to see what other people are doing.

    • Lisa says...

      This is such a fantastic idea!

    • karen says...

      I just finished the remote school room project this week! It was fun and I think it will improve home-school life. We put our two kids in the same bedroom for sleep, then adapted the other bedroom to school room, which also holds their dressers.

    • Yes I love this idea. I’m currently working on our remote school station now and would love to see some new ideas.