Easy ways to switch a nursery to a kid’s room

Sep 14, 2010 at 11:30 a.m. ET

Making the switch from a nursery to a kid’s room is a fun rite of passage for both parent and child. From here on in, you have your child’s input and creativity to help make any updates truly interesting and original.

Toddler in bedroom

If your little one isn't so little anymore, it's time to turn that nursery into a toddler room that can grow with your child. Here are some easy kids' room ideas to implement so that you can eliminate the babyish touches while honoring your child's tastes and personality.

Decorating begins with discussion

Parents, take a cue from California-based interior designer Natalie Umbert who always interviews kids separately to get their ideas about how they'd like their room to look. "They have to live there, so it's great to know what they would want if they could have anything," she says. Talk to your opinionated tykes to determine what colors, interests, or activities they'd like to have represented or incorporated into their room. "The key is not to go overboard or too thematic," says Umbert. "This should be a space they can grow into that shouldn't have to be drastically changed too often."

Paint and bedding for kids' rooms

Kim N., mom of three, says, "I made sure to think about the future when painting the nursery. The kid colors or brighter colors can still be used in a nursery and kid's room with the right combo of bedding and accessories." But even if your child's favorite color ends up being very different from what you originally chose for their nursery, "It's really easy to update the room with a new coat of paint and linens," says Umbert.

Kids Vinyl wall decalWall art for kids' rooms

Consider thinking in the abstract for wall art rather than trying to blend with a theme or style. Tracy K., mom of two, recommends searching Etsy to spruce up the walls of kids' rooms. "They have an amazing selection of very inexpensive vinyl wall décor that you can personalize," she says.

Selecting kids' furniture

If you're working on a nursery now but are already thinking about the toddler room to come, consider purchasing a crib that converts easily into a toddler bed or full-sized bed, says Umbert. "It can save you money in the long run and eliminate the need for redesign as your children grow."

Likewise, if you're investing in a changing table, try to choose a larger one with a dual purpose so it can grow with your child. "Small may be less expensive and fit more easily in nurseries of all sizes, but a larger table that has a full dresser under it is a great option and can act as a statement piece," says Umbert. "There are even styles that have a removable table that can be eliminated when you no longer need it."

Umbert also suggests replacing the nursery rocking chair with a play table and chairs or an art center. Just don't feel the need to go overboard on furniture and fill up the room. Kim N. says, "Less is more. I wanted to make sure that we left enough room for them to hang out, read, and do homework once they were in school."

A kid's room: Its own unique entity

One very important thing to keep in mind is that your child's room doesn't need to fit into the general design scheme of your home, if you have one, says Umbert. "Let your imagination—and your child's—run free. This room should be a wonderland for your child. Experiment with bright colors in paint, linens, and accessories—you don't need to play it safe with pastels in a baby's room and shouldn't feel limited to using traditional girl-boy colors."

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