Turning into Toddlers: Tips to Help Redecorate your Child's Room for their Next Chapter
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If your baby is quickly approaching the toddler phase, it’s time to start thinking about the best bedroom ideas for this new life stage. Some things will need to be changed out for safety. Others to encourage play and learning. And others still, simply because they’re adorable. With these switch-ups, your sweet little one will have a completely revamped bedroom by the time they’re able to stand, squat, talk, and grab hold of literally everything in reach.
As a parent, we know you’re short on time, so let’s get right into the details of redecorating your baby’s room!
Anticipating the Milestones
When welcoming a new addition to the family, there are the bare baby essentials that you will need: the cot, the baby monitor, the nursing chair, etc. But now, you’re entering a phase of constant change and growth in your little one’s life. It will feel like every time you blink, your toddler will have learned something new. So, it’s a good idea to think about the upcoming milestones as they relate to your child’s environment. That will help us as we start to tackle the redesign details.
One thing to keep in mind as we go through these milestones is that every child is a little different. You can anticipate that your baby will start to dabble in these activities to varying degrees from 13 months to 3 years old, but don’t be alarmed if your baby hasn’t completely mastered these milestones.
And if reading this list does give you a bit of anxiety about whether your child is meeting their milestones, BabyCenter Australia is a great resource to learn more about child development.
Milestone #1: Standing and walking
When your toddler becomes even more mobile than a crawling baby, it will be necessary to make some major changes to their room. Whereas you might have been a little bit more lenient about furniture with sharp edges or having a trash can for nappies on the floor, those things will now be well in reach of a walking toddler.
So, the first way to upgrade your baby’s room for the toddler years will be to remove anything that is potentially dangerous for them to get into. You’ll save yourself a lot of stress if the items in your baby’s reach are only the things that you want them to reach.
Milestone #2: Trying to lift, pull and push large objects
As your baby tries to navigate this new world on their two feet, you’ll notice them trying to manipulate the items around them. That will mean pushing on chairs, pulling books off the shelf, and other adorable mischief.
As you’re redecorating your toddler’s room then, it will be helpful to remove all furniture items that no longer need to be there, and make sure that what stays is secure.
When you’ve accomplished toilet training, for instance, remove the changing table as soon as possible.
You’ll want to secure all other furniture, such as shelving units, dressers, and nightstands to the walls of your toddler’s room. All loose items like lamps, and baby monitors can also be made more secure by placing them on non-slip underlays. If you don’t like the look of a non-slip underlay covering the entire surface of a side table or dresser, you can always pencil out the shape of that bedside lamp or noise machine so that you can glue the non-slip material to the bottom.
Milestone #3: Throwing and kicking
And we’re not referring here to those tantrums that children are prone to having. As your baby begins to explore the world around them, they’ll be tempted to send items crashing to the ground or throw things against the walls or kick things over. As stressful as that can be to a parent, it’s your baby’s way of learning more about how the world works, as well as what their own body is capable of. Imagine if you suddenly realised you were a superhero with superhuman strength – you might spend your time lifting cars and seeing how far you can throw a tennis ball for your dog.
As you work on teaching your toddler not to throw everything they can get their hands on, it can be helpful to design the room for minimal destruction. A good place to start would be to clear out all toys and clothing that your baby has grown out of. Your toddler may have grown tired of that rattle that they loved as a 6 month old, or they might give it a new life as a projectile object.
So, always make sure that your toddler’s room is filled with age-appropriate toys, and maybe consider removing the toys that can do serious damage when thrown.
Milestone #4: Scribbling
Imagine redecorating your baby’s room to be everything you ever dreamed of. There are pieces of beloved furniture that your parents put in your baby room. The walls have been freshly painted. You bought new curtains and laid down that gorgeous rug that you saw in a baby magazine.
Now, imagine how much damage a toddler can do if they were to get their hands on a permanent marker and you looked away for 30 seconds.
So, as you’re thinking of redecorating your baby’s room, this is a milestone that you will not want to overlook. Your toddler is going to want to draw on everything. Instead of trying to quash that desire completely, there are a few simple ways that you can design with the scribbling in mind.
You might set up an easel, for instance, where your toddler will be excited to test out their new crayons. You might put up a whiteboard on the wall where your toddler can draw with washable markers. The key, of course, is to teach your toddler the difference between the areas where they’re allowed to draw and the places where they aren’t. Your toddler will quickly learn that that big block of white paper that you taped to the wall is for scribbling. The walls around it as well as the floor and the furniture are not.
You can also buy furniture that you can clean easily and don’t have to worry about in the case of accidents.
Milestone #5: Fine motor skills
In addition to being able to hold crayons and pencils and other small items, your toddler will be developing their fine motor skills in other ways, too. We often think of the peg boards and other toys that encourage toddlers to learn how things fit together and how they can use hand eye coordination to get that square peg into the square hole.
If you look at your baby’s room right now, are there toys and activities where you can encourage your toddler to develop their fine motor skills? Amazing! Now, are there items in the room – such as knobs, switches, and electrical outlets – that need to be addressed? Because as soon as your toddler learns how fun it is to put a peg in the hole, they may turn towards the lamp that’s plugged into the switchboard or the knob that allows them to open the drawer.
You might have already gone through and installed shuttered sockets and other safety measures, but as you move furniture around and make updates to your baby’s room, take a few minutes to check again.
For appliances that are plugged in, you might consider creative solutions to keep them out of reach for your toddler. Many parents complain that their toddler loves to unplug the lamp cord, so you might place a piece of furniture strategically in the way so that it’s out of sight for your toddler. Another option would be to invest in some switchboard cover boxes, which make it impossible for your toddler to yank cords out of the wall.
Another consideration here are knobs. A loose knob on a drawer can easily become something that your toddler learns is fun to twist and take out. To them, a knob is no different – and in fact, perhaps even more fun – than their fine motor skill games. So, make sure that all knobs and handles are secured to prevent any choking hazards
Something to keep in mind is that while playing with switchboards, switches, knobs and handles is dangerous, it’s also a predictable part of their fine motor skill development. You can think about how to prevent your child from playing with something dangerous, but you should also think about how you can say yes to the play that you want to encourage. Giving them plenty of age-appropriate toys, puzzles and games will help them
Milestone #6: Wanting to do things on their own
As much as we might want to help our toddlers do basic things to save time and energy, this is the stage when they’re going to want to do things on their own. That might mean putting clothes on, cleaning up their toys, brushing their own hair, you name it. And while it may take a little extra time for them to do these tasks, it’s important to help them try. That way, they’ll feel more confident getting themselves dressed in the morning, cleaning up their room, and taking care of themselves in the future.
It can be a lot of fun to try to redecorate with this milestone in mind. For instance, maybe your toddler is obsessed with picking out their own clothes for the day, but you feel that you’re spending all of your time waiting for them to shuffle through their many shirts and making a mess of those nicely folded clothes. Plus, you don’t want them to get into the habit of trying to open the dresser drawers on their own anytime they want to get dressed.
What you can do instead is introduce a play dresser that can hold one or two outfits. In the morning, place a few shirts and pants in their play dresser and allow your little one to choose their outfit for the day. Not only is it a safe option for your toddler, but it will save time and keep your baby’s room much cleaner.
There are plenty of other ways that you can integrate autonomy and decision-making into your baby’s room redecoration. Let’s consider playtime, for example. This can be a time of stress for you if you have a toddler who wants to play with everything at once or has a hard time putting things away. Maybe you open their closet full of toys and your toddler automatically gravitates towards the messy activities or games with a million pieces.
There are two ways that this generally goes. On the one hand, your toddler has too many options and you end up having to say no repeatedly until they suggest an activity that you want them to do. Or, your toddler loses the opportunity to choose altogether and you select the activity for them.
Here’s a better solution. Keep the majority of their toys and activities out of sight and out of reach. Then, put two or three buckets aside and fill them each with a few different activities. Maybe one bucket has some musical instruments. Maybe the other has building blocks. Finally the last one may have colouring materials. These buckets are going to be placed on a low shelf in your toddler’s play area. When it’s time to play, allow your toddler to choose one of the buckets.
With this simple decorating tip, you can ensure that your toddler has autonomy over their play sessions without sacrificing order or wasting time. By limiting their access to what’s in a single bucket, cleanup time is also going to be so much easier. After all, another great way to practice autonomy with your toddler is involving them in clean-up. But, if they were able to pull out too many play items, they’ll quickly get overwhelmed, upsetting them and leaving you to clean the room for them.
Milestone #7: Toilet Training
Toilet training generally takes place between 24 and 36 months, although some children can start as early as 18 months. There are a few ways that you can anticipate this milestone in the upgrades you make to your baby’s room.
One thing that you can do is upgrade from a cot to a toddler bed. This will allow your toddler to easily get in and out of bed during the night while they’re toilet training. We’ll talk about this more in depth when we cover furniture upgrades!
Think, also, about the layout of the room. Is there a direct path from your toddler’s play area to the toilet? When you’re in the middle of toilet training, you can make things easier for yourself and your baby by moving the play area closer to the door or at least moving any obstructions out of the way.
Milestones are a great way to give direction to your redecoration
As you can see, planning your decorating around your baby’s growth is a great way to make sure that your toddler’s room is engaging and safe. Your toddler will love living in an environment that encourages their exploration and curiosity, and you’ll love the peace of mind that your simple upgrades give you.
Remember that every child is different and they may spend more time on one milestone than another. These 7 milestones are ones that we think are perfect when it comes to redecorating, but you can tailor your plans to where your toddler is in their development.
Interior Design Tips
Now that you have a few ideas on which furniture to replace and how to set up the room, it’s time for the creative part: decor. Will you go with a theme? Do you have a colour palette in mind? Have you been scrolling through Pinterest for inspiration?
Or, are you a little bit lost when it comes to finding the right look for your toddler’s room? Don’t stress it, we’re here to help. In a bit, we’re going to share some of the top redecorating theme trends of the year so that you can start to get inspired. But before that, it can be helpful to ask yourself a few questions to narrow down your search. Take a look and decide for yourself what you’re looking for in your toddler’s room:
Minimalist or Cozy?
Minimalism is becoming a huge trend, not just for toddler rooms, but for the whole house. Some of the benefits of practicing minimalism in your toddler’s room is that you’ll naturally spend less time picking up clutter and more time enjoying quality time with your little one. Having fewer clothes can save you the headache of choosing outfits everyday. And, you’ll soon find that your toddler is just as happy playing with that same beloved set of toys no matter if there are 10 pieces or 100 pieces. Many parents see this is the perfect opportunity to start teaching their child how to live a more simplified life.
Of course, minimalism isn’t for everyone, and it also doesn’t have to be extreme. We understand exactly what it’s like when family members show up to every dinner and holiday with more toys, more clothes, more decorations for the baby. Those family gifts are wonderful and should be cherished.
You may also just like the look of a fuller room for your toddler in general. It’s exciting to walk into a toddler’s room and see a variety of fun toys to play with, engaging wall art, a closet full of all of those awesome baby outfits for every occasion.
One of the benefits of leaning away from minimalism is that your toddler’s room will look well-loved and lived in. It will be cozy. And as long as keep things organised and clutter-free, a cozy room can be great for a toddler.
Bright and loud? Or soft and subdued?
This year, many parents are going beyond the tired tradition of “blue for boys” and “pink for girls.” Instead, you can think about your toddler’s room based on the emotions that you want to evoke when you step inside. Do you have a toddler who would like a room that is loud and vibrant? Or is your toddler more easy-going and sweet as can be? When you let go of the gender norms, you can create a space that is much more representative of your baby’s unique personality.
Let’s talk bright and loud first. The idea with this style is that you want certain items in the room to pop and stand out. When your toddler – and really anyone else – walks into the room, their minds are going to shout, “Wow! Look at that!” But how can you create that reaction and not something more along the lines of, “Oof, this is overwhelming and overstimulating.”
A simple design trick would be to use contrast. White or light gray walls are the perfect backdrop for colourful wall art and posters. And you can add even more colour with a string of pom-poms or bright lantern lights.
If you’re looking for something really unconventional, you can start with a black backdrop. Black is probably not the colour that comes to mind when you think of a toddler room, but it can be the perfect canvas for a room with bold, even neon colours.
When you’re going for a bold, loud toddler room, try experimenting with solid colours and just a few patterns. That way, you can achieve the pop you want without the room becoming chaotic and busy.
Now, let’s talk soft and subdued. Maybe you want a toddler room that is relaxing and comforting, warm and cuddly. To achieve this look, you might start with a subtle, chic wallpaper, maybe with thick stripes, polka dots, or a floral pattern. Make sure that the wallpaper you choose uses light or faded colours for a look of coziness and softness.
Next, it’s going to be all about textures. Fuzzy blankets, airy bed canopies, soft market lights, a comfortable reading chair. Wall art might feature woodland animals, the front covers of their favourite books, watercolour prints of the things they love – dinosaurs, puppies, princesses, whatever it may be.
We love themes for toddler rooms. Because now that your toddler is getting old enough to start having strong opinions about their favourite games, favourite animals, and favourite television heros, you have the chance to transform their room into a true wonderland.
Take some time to figure out what your toddler is most attracted to in their daily play. Do they love horses? Construction equipment? The ocean? Their box of crayons? Whatever it is that really excites them, there’s a way that you can turn it into a theme.
Here are a few themes that you can use to make your toddler’s room into the best room in the house:
Outer Space. Constellations on the ceiling. A comforter with rocket ships. A solar system mobile. A play area to chart their outer space missions and repair their imaginary spaceships. This theme is timeless, and the new generations of little ones are loving it!
Mountain cabin. If you’re a family that loves to spend your free weekends outdoors, a mountain cabin theme is perfect for your toddler. Draw inspiration from that family trip to the Blue Mountains or browse beautiful cabins around Australia for ideas.
Under the sea. This is an easy-to-pull-off theme because there are so many fun directions that you can take. Does your little one love whales and dolphins? Are they fascinated by sharks? Or are they more about making sand castles and splashing around in the waves? Whatever their interest, you can fill their room to the brim with ocean-themed decor.
Castles, dragons, and unicorns. The thing we love about this theme is that it gives you the perfect opportunity to create an enclosed play area in your toddler’s room. It might just look like a little play nook decorated like a castle, but to your toddler, it’s the jumping board for quests and adventures.
African animals. We’ve all seen the reboot of our favourite lion movie, right? And an African savannah theme is already becoming a more popular theme for toddler rooms! Rhinos, elephants, giraffes, and, of course, lions will make this theme adorable and engaging for your little one.
Garden. What toddler doesn’t love spending time in a garden? There are so many colours and smells and sounds. And it is so fun to play in the dirt. You can create a garden theme in your toddler’s room so that they always feel surrounded by life and the natural world.
Planes and other forms of transportation. To a toddler, there is something so magical about planes, cars, trains, and other machines that transport them to new places. We take these things for granted, but toddlers love them! And, they make great themes for a toddler’s bedroom.
Construction. It seems like all little ones go through a phase of fascination with construction sites. You have to admit, there’s so much to see! People wearing bright colours and hardhats. Machines that pick up dirt and other ones with a giant roller on the front. This theme thoroughly engages your toddler’s senses and encourages them to start building, too.
Superheroes. With a new superhero movie out pretty much every year, it’s not surprising that this theme is becoming popular for kid’s bedrooms. What we love about this theme is the use of bright, bold colours that will energize your toddler and inspire them to go out and save the world. Plus, there is nothing cuter than a toddler in a cape, so make sure to incorporate a coat rack just for those satin costumes.
If you don’t like the idea of having a theme for your toddler’s room, another option is to go with a colour palette. This will ensure that the room looks intentional and thoughtful instead of pieced together without a plan. But that’s not the only benefit.
From three months on, your baby will quickly develop their visual ability to see and interpret colours. We also start to teach them about important cultural connections involving colours – for instance, red means stop, green means go, etc.
It makes sense, then, that your toddler is going to love a room that is full of colour. Colours are new stimuli to explore.
We love to talk colour palettes when it comes to toddler rooms. Because, not only is it fun to play around with different colour combos and patterns, but it’s also possible to completely change the energy of the room with the perfect shades.
While that may sound like pseudoscience, there’s real evidence here! Colours trigger emotional responses in all of us, and we can actually change our moods simply by walking into different colour rooms.
So, how can you hack the colour wheel to create a desirable environment for your toddler? Here are a few ideas:
For energy, rely on oranges, reds, yellows
To create a calming atmosphere, introduce soft greens, lavender, and blue
To boost creativity and confidence, go for bright purples and violets
If you want something refreshing and cool, opt for vibrant greens and white
Think, also, about using colour in different ways in your toddler’s room. For instance, you may never consider painting huge polka dots on the ceiling of your living room, but your toddler may love having something to look at when they wake up from their afternoon nap.
Putting the interior design tips together
In this section, we went over some important decisions that will help give your interior design process a clear direction. At this point, you should know whether you want option one – loud, bright, colourful, and bold – or option two – soft, cozy, comfortable, and relaxing. Both are great choices and, remember, they are not gender specific.
Another decision here is between having a theme or having a colour palette. Themes can transform your toddler’s room into the play area of their dreams, and it can help you to drive your interior design process. But, it’s not the best choice for everyone. After all, toddlers can outgrow their love for a theme fairly quickly as they start to explore other exciting things. You might also feel a little boxed in by a theme. A colour palette, on the other hand, might be a bit more flexible and updateable over time.
If you’re still feeling a little bit lost about what kind of interior design style you want, you might take a look at the top interior and exterior design trends of 2019.
Okay, you’ve got your direction, you’ve picked out a theme, you’ve consulted with your toddler about what their favourite colours are for the palette. Now, it’s time to make it all come to life, and a great place to start is with the furniture.
As your toddler gets older, goes through toilet training, learns how to climb over the side of their cot (to their delight and your horror), it will be time to upgrade their kids bedroom furniture.
First, let’s talk about cots and toddler beds. One of the things that parents often struggle with is buying a bed that isn’t such a drastic change from the cot. A toddler bed with no sides is all of a sudden quite different for your little one as they were accustomed to a bed with four walls. Ikea beds are great because they can be customised as your toddler grows older. So, when you’re transitioning your little one from cot to toddler bed, all you have to do is lower the mattress and remove one of the long sides.
Some other kids bedroom furniture upgrades you might want to do would be to remove the changing cot after toilet training. That’s quite a bit of floorspace that can be used as a storage place for toys, a space for a bookshelf, or, our personal favourite, an interactive play area.
As we mentioned in our discussion on milestones, toddlers love doing things themselves. And with this new space, you can install a play area such as a play-kitchen, a faux workstation, or even a small indoor climbing area (always supervised, of course!) They’ll love having a new area in their room to try doing adult things like “cooking,” “building something,” or climbing their Mt. Everest.
Some other kids bedroom furniture upgrades could include swapping out the nursing chair for a toddler-sized reading chair. Bookshelves and other shelving units are great for new toddler-appropriate toys and books, especially because they can have some ownership over organisation and keeping things clean.
Keep in mind all of the safety considerations that will come up with your toddler’s milestones, and you’ll be set!
Tips for staying organised during bedroom upgrades
We get it – the exciting part of upgrading your baby’s bedroom is the planning process. Picking out designs, buying new furniture, painting the walls. But things can get overwhelming quickly when boxes of new supplies start piling up, and you haven’t had a chance to sell the old stuff or decide which items you want to keep.
To make matters worse, your baby isn’t going to stop growing while you wait for someone to offer you a good price on their changing table. And while you were hoping to put some real thought into which items to keep for the scrapbook and which books should stay in the family, there’s just not a whole lot of free time.
That’s why for many parents, booking a storage unit is a great option. It will allow you to get the extra clutter out of the house without having to get rid of it for good. Even if you’re just waiting for the right buyer so that you don’t have to sell those expensive items at such a huge loss, getting them into storage will take a huge weight off your shoulders.
Take a look at some of the average prices in these popular areas around the country to get an idea of what storage will cost in your area.
Even if you were to book a storage unit for just the few months during the redecorating process, you’ll love the freedom of not having to shuffle around all of those items that are being phased out of the baby’s room.
You’re ready to start redecorating!
We’ve covered a lot of information in this article, and you’re probably full of upgraded bedroom ideas for the next few months and years. This is a wonderful, fun, and necessary process that will ensure that your toddler is happy, safe, and growing during this next phase.
Before we let you go off to start the redecorating process, here’s a summary of all of the advice that we shared here so that you can have it on-hand during your planning process:
Tip #1: Anticipate the milestones! Plan for each of the following phases of the toddler years:
Standing and walking
Lifting, pulling and pushing large objects
Throwing and kicking items
Fine motor skill development – yank cords, pushing buttons, etc
Tip #2: Find your inner interior designer by asking yourself the following questions:
Do I prefer minimalism or coziness?
Do I want my toddler’s room to be loud and active, or soft and calm?
What kind of theme do I want?
What colour palette is best?
Tip #3: Upgrade the furniture
Keep an eye out for customisable Ikea beds
Swap out the nursing chair for a toddler reading chair
Tip #4: Stay organised
With these tips, you can start planning a toddler bedroom decorating that is going to make the most sense for their development and your peace of mind.
Are you currently in the middle of a baby-to-toddler upgrade? We want to hear your bedroom ideas, your challenges and your wins! Let us know how the redecoration is going!