Home & Garden

Must-have kids bedroom ideas for little ones, ‘tweens, and teens

Neon lighting, writable surfaces, and poufs, oh my!

Kids bedroom ideas and teen room decor Credit: Getty Images / KatarzynaBialasiewicz

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Once a place for bedtime stories, playdates, and hang out sessions, kids bedrooms have morphed into multi-use spaces during 2020. Never before have these areas in the home taken on so many roles, from remote learning locations to solo entertainment spots.

When we tapped home design experts on what’s trending in kids and teen rooms for 2021, one theme outshone the rest: comfort.

Sarah Dooley, director of upholstery at Sunbrella, says, “Now more than ever, kids and teens are seeking spaces that make them feel grounded and secure, but also allow for fun and play.”

Here are a few kids' bedroom ideas that guarantee they'll spend time there—even when they have to do school work in them.

Value adaptability for younger kids

Allowing your small child to have a say on his or her room décor allows them to feel like they can control their surroundings in a world where they actually can’t (pandemic restrictions and mask mandates, we’re looking at you). This also keeps their décor adaptable to their ever-changing whims.

Denise Davies, CEO/founder of D2 Interieurs in Weston, Conn., and co-founder of Smart D2 Playrooms, explains, “We love how today’s trends aren’t permanent. The items and accessories can be easily switched out as the child grows into the room.”

Keeping the “bones” of the room neutral (aka, rugs, window treatments, paint) means the room’s vibe can grow as your child does.

Make furniture a one-and-done purchase with a convertible platform bed, like this one from Allswell that adapts from twin to full with a quick lift of a panel.

Keep statements subtle

calendar and wall decor
Credit: Erin Condren / Smart D2

Kids of all ages love stylish accessories, from Erin Condren's Perpetual desk calendar to Smart D2 Playrooms' wall decals.

Kids love to express themselves, but these days their statements are more subtle.

Kriss Swint, design lead at Royal Building Products in Columbus, Ohio, says, “Gone are the days when an entire room is done in a theme (think the Star Wars bedrooms of the ‘80s).”

Instead, when it comes to kids bedroom décor, Swint sees small color pops, personalization such as a name or initial, custom photo pillows from the likes of Vistaprint, and fun wall decals, like art trees from Smart D2 Playrooms and a rainbow unicorn from Shindigz.

Let little ones feel creative

bedding duvet
Credit: Snurk

Unique duvet covers like this one from Snurk are a great way for kids and teens to tap into their creativity in new and exciting ways.

Gerri Chmiel, residential design lead at Formica, says, “Right now, kids and teens are learning to tap into their creativity in new and exciting ways. This brings opportunities for parents to help their children curate a bedroom space that feels playful yet personal.”

Try incorporating multipurpose products like the Formica Writable Surfaces—in chalkboard or bright colors—into the space. Dry-erase surfaces transform a bedroom into a more creative, expressive environment. Chmiel’s pro tip: Choose bold tones, not just basic white.

Bed sheets are also an easy way for your little one to get involved in the design process. AmazonBasics sheets bring llamas one day and stars the next, or kiddos can dive into bed as a princess, ninja, fireman, or shark with Snurk duvet covers.

Provide a multi-purpose space for tweens and teens

Trading in their typical freedom for hunker down time, the tween/teen set has been one of the most affected age groups during COVID, certainly prompting “teen rooms” to be one of 2020’s top home searches, according to Pinterest's Head of Content and Creator Partnerships Aya Kanai.

Davies explains how this translates to home décor. “Now that kids are spending more time at home, we need to give them an area to sleep, for homework, and to hang out and lounge,” she says. “The most requested teen trend is a homework/desk area and lounge space with mood lighting.”

As far as tween and teen room ideas, when creating a lounge area, Davies suggests adding uniquely sized and textured pillows.

Dooley agrees. “Adding comfortable seating allows for new places to stretch out and be imaginative, while still remaining practical.”

Upgrade from a typical pouf to Fatboy’s stain-proof bean bag chair or a Moonpod to create cozy floor space.

Bring back neon lighting

edison mini lights
Credit: Fatboy

Lighting concepts are hot among teens and tweens, from neon signs to these mini lamps from Fatboy.

Gen Z is also keen on creating their own lightning concepts, so much so that Pinterest named neon as one of 2021’s top trends. Bright, color-drenched galaxy lights, twinkles, and LED strips give majorly moody vibes (searches for “blue LED lights bedroom” is up 155 percent this year).

Davies says, “We love using unique, fun lighting in kids rooms. You can really use your imagination,” noting Smart D2’s neon smile lights and her recent installation of a gummy bear light fixture for a tween girl’s bedroom.

“I love playing with scale and using oversized lights and pendants to create a focal point in the room,” Davies says.

Brite Lite offers kid-safe on-trend neon signs, including an acrylic dry erase calendar and a vision board that add a glow without harmful chemicals or breakable glass. Nanoleaf just launched its Shapes Triangles Minis for a splash of connectible lights.

For a softer approach to teen room décor, Fatboy’s set of three Edison the Mini lamps is a trio of tiny lights with interchangeable shades.

Tick the tech box

As their bedrooms are taken over by Zoom, tween/teens want desks that are both school and TikTok ready. This translates to stylish desk accessories, such as Erin Condren’s Perpetual desk calendar and Hexagon pencil holders, and smaller printers like the sleek HP Sprocket (bonus points for its sticky paper, perfect for covering walls and vision boards), which made our list of best portable photo printers.

Swint says, “When designing an older child's room, consider the placement of the computer and docking station, which will be one of the focal points of the room. No one wants to see wires and cords strewn about a room, so a built-in desk with proper storage for cords/plugs will allow you to design a space to camouflage the wires.”

The Kew Lab's UTS-1 wireless charger, which we haven’t tested, charges phones through furniture up to one inch thick, so no more ugly power adapters.

Let them relax

succulents and candles
Credit: Crate & Barrel / Nectar

Bedrooms are for relaxing, and soothing décor, like these Nectar coconut wax candles and faux succulents from Crate & Barrel, is in demand more than ever

Bedrooms are for relaxing, and soothing décor is in demand more than ever—for young kids, tweens, teens, and adults alike.

Older kids love oil diffusers with sloping silhouettes like these ones made by Saje and Airomé, which is the best oil diffuser we’ve tested.

Teens also love candles that burn cleanly such as Nectar coconut wax candles that feature playful aromas like Fruit Smoothie and Pinkberry Marmalade. And, Chiji Crystal Energy Candles recently launched a collection to help bring in 2021 with positive vibes through miniature crystals that promote meditation on confidence and peace.

Speaking of peace, Heather Trilling, of Trilling Landscape Design + Build in Los Angeles, believes in the calming powers of indoor plants.

She says, “Indoor plants are a soothing addition to any kid’s room. They can enjoy having a living thing to take care of. It’s a cathartic ritual. Having something to nurture and tend to is so important right now. Plus, indoor plants are a stylish and sustainable way to give your kid’s space an easy update."

Keeping in mind your amateur grower, choose plants accordingly for any kids’ bedroom. Finding the right one depends on maturity and age. Try a succulent subscription for an easy-to-care-for option.

Alfred Palomares of 1-800-Flowers.com suggests that a fake plant can also be something to consider “if the junior plant lover has little to no time to care for a plant and still wants to add greenery to their space.” The Faux Monstera Tree can fill up a lonely corner.

These felt flower garlands and artificial succulents from Crate & Barrel are perfect ways to bring the outside in.

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