After struggling to easily find the right items to furnish her own home, Kuldea Co-Founder, Deirdre Mc Gettrick, was inspired to create an online platform to make home shopping as straightforward, efficient and fulfilling as possible. In this article, she shares her top tips for converting the nursery in a children’s bedroom.
Children grow up fast, and one minute you are watching in awe at a tiny new-born baby soundly asleep in their cot and the next you have a walking talking toddler who will do anything not to go to bed.
As your children grow up, they also outgrow their bedroom. The pretty pastel shades you carefully painted on the walls in preparation for your family’s new addition no longer feel quite right, the cot needs replacing with a toddler bed and the changing table and rocking chair take up space that could be used for something else.
Read my top tips to find out how to convert your nursery into a child’s bedroom and what you might need to consider before making any decisions about furniture and design.
Top tip 1) Ensure the room is child-safe
When it comes to having children, all parents know that safety has to be the number one priority with everything you do, and a bedroom is no exception. When you designed the nursery, safety was considered for a new-born baby who lies still and sleeps most of the time, not for a toddler or child.
Have a look around the room and try to see it through your child’s eyes. What can they reach? What can they climb on? Is there anything that can be pulled over?
Ensure that all furniture such as book shelves or chest of drawers are secured to the wall or floor to stop them toppling over. If furniture has sharp corners or edges either replace it or buy edge and corner guards to stop tiny heads being injured if your child falls. Make sure that anything within reach is not unsafe for your child, such as glass photo frames which could shatter or small ornaments which could be put in mouths.
Window blinds pose a particular hazard because of the risk of a child becoming entangled in the cords, so ensure that these are either cut off or use cord shorteners, safety tassels or wind-ups to keep them well out of reach of curious hands.
If your child is transitioning from a cot to a bed or toddler bed, use guardrails initially to prevent falls, particularly if an older child is making the move to a top bunk bed to free up space for a toddler, but remember the top bunk shouldn’t be used by children under the age of six.
Toy chests can pose as a hazard if the lid slams down on arm or hand. Consider removing the lid or installing a spring-loaded lid support. Toy chests should also have air holes in case a child gets trapped inside, which could easily happen during a game of hide and seek.
All electrical sockets should be covered to stop children from poking their fingers or objects into the holes. Plastic covers which are inserted into the socket are easily available to purchase.
Top tip 2) Consider the type of bed you want
If you’re changing from a cot to a toddler bed then now is the opportunity to think about your immediate and future needs.
If space is an issue, then you could opt for a bed with hidden storage underneath to keep toys, clothes or other items tidied away. If you are planning on growing your family in the future then a bunk bed might come in handy. Or if you don’t have a spare room and need to use your child’s bedroom on occasion to accommodate guests, read our top tips on converting a child’s room into a guestroom. It might be an option to include a sofa-bed which could be used for visitors, or sleepovers when your child is older. For extra help on how to accommodate guests read our top tips on how to prepare your home for holiday season visitors.
If bedtime has become a battle now your child is older, then the transition from a nursery could help you out. Involve your child in the decision making (within reason) to encourage them to make their bedroom a place they want to go to sleep. There are some really creative and imaginative beds available which could tempt your little one to bed in the evening.
Top tip 3) Create an inspiring place that isn’t age specific
Children are all individuals and have their own unique personalities and interests. But what your toddler likes may quickly change, so consider how to represent their individuality in ways which can easily be adapted. Using a neutral colour on the walls and adding colour with pictures and soft furnishings will enable you to change their bedroom as they grow without having to start from scratch.
If you are planning on growing your family, or if the room already has to accommodate two children, then you want to consider both their needs and ages when it comes to décor. Your child might end up moving into another room as your family grows, or share it in the future, so it’s best not to opt for really girly or boyish décor which is difficult and time-consuming to change.
When it comes to decorating let your (and their) imagination run wild! Create an inspiring and colourful space where your child will want to spend time. Bedrooms are often used for play as well as sleep, so it’s important for it to be somewhere they feel inspired, relaxed and comfortable. There are some amazing wall prints out there to inspire their imagination and brighten up their day.
You could also add in some subtle learning tools such as colourful number charts or a framed map of the world to brighten up the walls.
Top tip 4) Buy practical furniture
With the décor you can reflect your little person’s personality, but when it comes to choosing furniture for their bedroom you really want it to be practical, particularly if you don’t have much space.
You may find you have extra space after getting rid of a changing table or rocking chair, so consider if you need to replace it with something else and what that might be. Children often use their bedrooms for play, so it’s a good idea to ensure there is enough space for them to do this without being cramped.
However, toys can clutter a bedroom making it messy and untidy, which is not conducive to sleep. Ideally, you want all toys to be stored out of sight at night to stop any distractions when it’s time to get them ready for bed.
There are many smart storage items available when it comes to kids’ furniture, and bedroom furniture with hidden compartments, which is useful for small bedrooms, such as benches with lift-up seats, desks with secret nooks, and play tables with integrated compartments, all offering a way of using every scrap of space as efficiently as possible.
You can also choose storage to add a colourful and fun element to your child’s bedroom, such as baskets, boxes, hooks, pocket tidies, hammocks and wall organisers. Display your child’s books somewhere they can see them to encourage them to read. There are some brilliant floor-standing book shelves which will allow your child to look at their books without having to ask you to reach them down from a shelf.
Top tip 5) Comfort is key
When you are converting a nursery into child’s bedroom you want to make sure they still feel comfortable and relaxed. Change can be scary for young people, and they might feel sentimental or apprehensive about leaving their nursery behind, which is all they have ever known. Try to involve them in some decisions to allow them to take ownership of the space, and create excitement rather than fear. It’s a big step for them, and making their room comfortable will help make the transition go much more smoothly.
Soft furnishings allow you to make their bedroom cosy and warm, creating a space which is inviting for both play and sleep. Representing your child’s personality and interests using fabrics in different designs and colours will enable you to easily change these as they grow, such as rugs, curtains, cushions and bed linen.
Think about providing somewhere for your child to relax other than the bed if they want down-time to read or listen to music, such as a child’s armchair or a bean bag. A play tent or tepee are also great additions if you have the space, and can help create a fun space for your child to play.