We ask a lot out of our children’s bedrooms – they must be safe, easy-to-clean, stimulating, positive, and organized. It also should be easy to grow with our kids, without requiring a massive redesign. No pressure, right? Fortunately, children’s rooms can also be less expensive than adult rooms to make into wonderful, fun, and safe environments! Not to mention you can express a lot of creativity in the colorful designs.
Palm Beach™ Polysatin™ Shutters by Hunter Douglas
Thoughtful furniture & flooring selection
Kids really don’t need or desire as much furniture as we do as adults. For the first few years of life, floor space is prime real estate for children as it’s where they play, read, draw, etc. Limiting furniture to practical necessities (a bed, toy storage, a chair, eventually a desk), you not only keep the cost down, but you also give your kids the space to play.
Neutral furniture (whites, wood, etc.) allows a canvas that can be evolved with age easily, as opposed to specific gendered colors, sports or character themes that will quickly be outgrown. Shelving and other furniture never becomes less useful – as kids grow, the items on the shelves will simply change.
Corners aren’t a wobbly toddler’s friend either. Not only are rounded corners safest for small kids, but they also psychologically represent a softer, more comfortable space. It’s a win-win! There are corner padding strips available though, if you still find yourself with harsh corners or edges that need to be temporarily covered.
Beware of glass. Large mirrors, or even framed photos can pose a danger to children. For now, skip glass-covered photos in lieu of painted designs or lightly framed (and out of reach) non-breakable items. Mirrors are great for babies, but make sure you buy one labeled safe with flexible material that can’t shatter.
Even as far as the flooring, carpet is prone to staining and excessive wear. Thick rugs provide equal amounts of padding for tiny hands and knees, and can be washed or even replaced much more easily than the entire room’s carpet. Soft textures help a room feel cozy too, so once kids are older, you can upgrade to plusher rugs as well. You’ll thank yourself the first time a sippy cup that’s been hidden in the toybox for months spills on the floor and all you have to do is get out a mop and toss a rug in the washing machine!
Sonnette™ Cellular Roller Shades by Hunter Douglas
Arrange furniture wisely
Kids will climb. It’s simply in their nature! When placing a bed, make sure it’s not going to allow a child to reach anything they shouldn’t – the window coverings, heaters, shelving, or even the light switch. This is also true of chairs and even toyboxes. This often even allows a nice, open play area near windows, providing plenty of light for play time.
When placing the bed, also consider natural light. You don’t want a toddler you put down for a nap being awake again immediately due to bright sun on their face. Likewise, in the summer, children coming into your room at 5am because the sunlight woke them up isn’t a parent’s ideal morning. If you add motorization to window coverings, you can use light to your advantage. Schedule shades to open as you want your child to wake up!
When children are little, think from their height. What do they need to be able to reach (or not reach)? Tall shelving with toys on top is going to encourage dangerous climbing. Low bins, wall hooks, and open shelving encourage children to play independently. Drawers often are used like ladders, so dressers may need to wait a few years (or have drawer locks). Closets are a great place to keep things you need on hand but don’t want accessible, since smaller kids don’t need access to their closet anyway. Put costumes on short hooks, bins of toys down low, and chairs they can climb into without difficulty or risk.
NewStyle® Hybrid Shutters by Hunter Douglas
Consider potential safety hazards
We already covered placement to avoid being able to reach items kids shouldn’t, but securing furniture is another important step. Anchor any tall or heavy furniture to the wall. Almost all bookshelves and dressers come with anchors these days, especially when the design is for kids. If they didn’t, a kit is cheap and easy to install. It attaches a strap between the furniture and wall to prevent tragic and sometimes deadly tip-over accidents.
Cover outlets. This one is pretty common! Aside from outlet plugs, some outlets themselves now come with great safety features. Other safety items to have on hand are doorknob covers and cabinet locks. Battery operated toys also need a side-eye. If the battery can be accessed without a screwdriver, keep it away from smaller children. Swallowing a battery is an immediate trip to the emergency room. Likewise, everything should stand up to a solid toss or serious chewing. If it would break or pieces come off, it’s not suitable for small kids.
Everything goes in the mouth. The majority of babies and toddlers explore their world with all their senses, including taste and mouth-feel. Crawl around and look at what could go into a child’s mouth, and remove anything that is small enough to fit through a toilet paper tube.
Cordless window coverings are truly a must. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission identified window coverings with cords as one of the top 5 hidden hazards in our homes. This entanglement or strangulation risk also applies to our pets! If you haven’t yet chosen window coverings, cordless and automated are a must. You can also request a retrofit kit to make your existing window coverings safer. Any toys or items with strings longer than 7″ also can create problems if wrapped around a neck, limb, or swallowed.