Good things in small packages
– a guide for the small children’s room
A small children’s room can easily be a big challenge which takes planning to solve. But if you use the right solutions, it is far from impossible. We have gathered a bunch of thoughts, you can consider if you have ahead of you the challenge of decorating and furnishing a great children’s room on a limited amount of square meters.
Your child does not come in a standard size
No matter the size, the children’s room should be furnished so it fits your child. A desk is no good if your child would rather play on the tablet or run around the house dressed as a princess. Nobody knows your child like you, and your child of course, and you both know which toy is the favorite and how the time is best spent.
Especially in small children’s rooms, you can’t just use whichever piece of furniture you want if there is even a chance it won’t be used. You have to be economical about the space and settle for only the things that bring joy to your child.
Keeping things in order
Storage for toys and other items is another thing you cannot take for granted in a children’s room. Clutter can be overwhelming, especially in a small room, because it takes up whatever leftover space there might be. This is why spending time planning and considering storage solutions is time well spend.
“Does he play with trains and a race track? Then I would never invest in wall closets and boxes for small things. Then I would choose big, fat floor boxes with wheels that can be moved and contain all the huge parts for the race and train tracks”
– Sine Grenna, mother of 2, interior designer
The space underneath the bed is valuable and can help you find those extra square meters you need. Underneath a half high or high bed you can place a dresser or a stack of boxes filled with toys. For lower beds you can use big drawers or bed rollers. Tall bookcases or shelves can utilize the height of the room. Making use of the height of the room, when hunting for storage space, is particularly useful because it can free up space on the floor.
To get the most out of your storage solutions it can be a good idea to sort items in smaller storage units, such as boxes and similar. By color coding boxes you can also make it easier to maintain a good overview while making it easier for your child to find the right box of toys. Finally can smaller boxes help you get rid of clutter because your child will know where everything belongs.
Is large furniture for spacious rooms only?
Do you have to avoid large furniture in small rooms or is it actually possible to utilize their size? This age old discussion has no clear winner, as there are advantages and disadvantages to both sides.
Large furniture might seem more dominating in a small space. It can take up a lot of the already sparse floor space. However, large furniture can have serve as multipurpose furniture and add loads of storage space to the room. By decorating the furniture they can become part of play time, for instance by creating a dress up- area in the lower part of a wardrobe while storing larger or rarely used items at the top. Large furniture can also help you create ‘rooms in the room’ where you can create small caves or cozy reading nooks for your child to explore.
”Don’t be too scared of large furniture in small rooms. IT is actually possible to create rooms within the rooms if you place the furniture a little differently”
– Sine Grenaa, mother of 2, interior designer
Small furniture can be a great solution too, because they take up less (floor) space and help you optimize what really matters: Room for fun and adventures. One of the large and near impossible furniture to leave out is the bed. Looking into solutions that help you optimize floor space is therefore worth your while.
Most children beds are available in different sizes and heights. A bed with a smaller mattress size will take up less floor space, while a higher bed will help you utilize the space underneath. A bunk bed provides two beds on the same space as one and the lower bunk can be used as play area and guest bed. The higher beds are often available with a smaller mattress size as well, giving you both benefits at once.
Before you decide on small or large furniture it is important to consider what kind of activities your child enjoys. If you have a bookworm, perhaps consider the large furniture and create small, cozy nooks. If your child loves to play with building blocks or train tracks, perhaps it’s a good idea to focus on getting as much floor space as possible.
The overlooked space
In especially small rooms, it is easier to find additional space in the topmost part of the room than in the lower one. You should include this space in the furnishing to use the entirety of the room which is important when space is an issue. Shelves and hanging bookcases are ideal for storage in height and the top of a tall closet can be used for storing things you don’t use that often.
“The key to creating room and space is getting floor space. So get everything up, up on the walls. Get some shelves on those walls and get the mess off the floor”
– Annemette Voss, mother of 3, architect
At the same time, halfhigh, midhigh and high beds are great solutions for using the overlooked space. They stand tall and create room beneath themselves which can easily be made into hideouts, storage space, floor space or where you can put a desk if your child needs that.
Quality over quantity
If you furnish with multifunctional furniture, you get more functions in less space. There is a number of ways to do it which can be either built-in function or a ’normal’ piece of furniture made into a multifunctional piece of furniture. For instance it can be a bed which is also a sofa and a playground, or a bed which also has storage space.
If you decide to build something yourselves, it can save space and create more functions in less space as well. It can be a staircase to the bed made from book cases, a bed placed on top of two dressers or something else entirely. Let your imagination run wild!
However we will strongly encourage you to consider the safety of your child when both building furniture and in general.
What color – and where?
Most children love color. Since the room will be used by your child, you can consider painting your walls in your child’s favorite color? There are arguments both before and against painting the walls. Some argue that painting the walls will make the room feel smaller or darker and that it might clash with the colorful toys. Others believe that walls with color create a happy and fun room. An alternative to painting the room is using wall stickers and colorful posters or pictures – or only painting a single wall.
Another alternative to painting the walls can be furnishing with colorful furniture. However, it is easier to change the color of a wall than it is to change the color of furniture. Therefore it might be an idea to paint the walls – or ceiling – while keeping the furniture in neutral colors. A bright red bed might be a hit right now, but what about in five years? However, if the big dream is to get a colored bed, decorate with accessories in matching or muted color. Alternatively, by choosing neutral colors for furniture and walls you can use multiple colors for accessories and decoration.
Choose the solution or combination best fit for you, but make sure to maintain a balance between calmness and color.
Slanted walls – a gift?
Slanted walls can often feel like an unwelcome challenge. Perhaps especially in a small room, because it makes it difficult to fully utilize the space. Slanted walls can, however, prove to be a possibility in disguise, because slanted walls help you create a cozy atmosphere in the room.
One of the most popular solutions when dealing with a slanted wall is to place the bed underneath it, because your child will be lying down anyway. This is a great solution in narrow rooms where the bed will take up most of the width of the room. Utilize the space between the bed and the slanted wall for storage – i.e. a built in closet – or a reading nook.
Another solution is to place large furniture under the slanted walls. Besides creating an illusion of straight walls it also creates a “secret” space behind the furniture. By decorating with fairy lights, blankets and pillows you will create a magical and fun room for your child.
Built-in storage for clothes and toys is also a great solution. Storage usually take up most of the space in a room with slanted walls because the tall furniture often has to be placed against a straight wall. The advantage of built-in storage solutions is that you can utilize the odd and difficult to use space underneath the slanted walls and leave room for shelves, decoration and floor space.
Top 5 advice for decorating a small room
- Use multifunctional pieces of furniture. They save a lot of space because you get more functions out of them.
- Spend time finding the right storage solutions. Mess in a small room can make it seem even smaller.
- Use the height of the room for storage or tall beds to create more floor space to play on.
- Paint the walls of the room in bright colors that can open up a small room.
- Furnish and decorate the room so it fits YOUR child and get rid of everything your child won’t use.