Stylish Rooms for Kids

Design a room that will stand the test of time.

By Meredith Ellis

Many of my design clients ask me for help with their children’s rooms, as I too have little ones, and sometimes that is how we have met. Decorating a nursery or a young child’s room is definitely one of the most fun things you can do, but it’s also stressful. No one wants to completely redecorate a room every few years as the child grows up. Selecting items that will appeal to a baby, a first-grader and a tween can be tricky, to say the least. Children go through a lot of phases, and what they like today they may hate tomorrow.

When I approach a room for a child, whether it’s a nursery, a playroom or a bedroom, I pick things that work for them but that wouldn’t necessarily be found in the children’s section. I shop where I shop for anyone: online and at antique stores. If it’s a really young child I’m designing for, I like adding childlike pieces in the form of books or stuffed animals. The bones of the room should serve as the backdrop for your collection. For my own children, I wanted rooms that were multifunctional. My goal was to make them fun but also somewhat sophisticated.

A Few of My Favorite Go-To Items for Children’s Rooms

Baskets, like these from Restoration Hardware. These are great for quick cleanups! I have some in every room of my house. $79 - $199

Moroccan leather poufs. These are great for lounging, sitting to read stories or pulled up to a little table. $495

Tepees. Kids love these, and they make a room instantly more fun. They can also be quickly taken down and put away when not needed. $249

Sophisticated artwork. I love elephants, giraffes and bunnies as much as the next person, but something that works as well when you are 2 as when you are 20 is worth the investment. $650


Shop outside the obvious children shops. Those places are great for staples like cribs or gliders. There are great online resources, but also visit flea markets, antique shows or shops and local garage sales. Sometimes a new coat of paint and pretty hardware can make repurposing a vintage piece spectacular.

It’s OK to love baby blue and pink, but think about using them as accent colors that can be switched out when the child outgrows that stage. My daughter’s room is navy. It’s sharp and unexpected for a girl. I just made sure to throw in touches of pretty aqua and pink so it feels girly when it needs to.

Art: Avoid the urge to purchase that sweet pink elephant or baby- blue teddy bear print with block letters. It will end up in a garage-sale pile before you know it. If you want animals, choose ones that have a more adult feel to them. Pictures of baby animals in nature and wildlife appeal to all ages.

Organization, organization, organization. Nothing screams children’s room like mess. I try to provide as many opportunities for keeping things straight and put together. Baskets or canvas bins are great for storing toys quickly. A bulletin board is the perfect place to display photos and your child’s art. High or low bookshelves are the perfect place to stack games, books and stuffed animals. All of these items showcase what’s special about the little people who live there, but when they grow up, they can house more age-appropriate items.

Meredith Ellis is an Austin-based interior designer who prides herself on creating beautiful, classic yet incredibly liveable interiors that reflect clients’ personality and spirit.