As kids grow up, they’re constantly developing new interests and preferences for everything from food to clothing — and even their bedroom wall color. They seem to outgrow everything quickly and before you know it, you’re trying to figure out what they like today that they hated yesterday and vice versa. So, how can you find a bedroom decorating scheme that satisfies these ups and downs and grows along with your child?

You’ll want to create an appropriate and timeless space, while still maintaining a room that your child loves. This can be especially important at a couple of typical transition points: as they grow out of cribs and into big boy/girl beds, and as they grow older and want to incorporate more of their own interests into their bedroom décor. Here are some helpful tips you can keep in mind.

The first room upgrade usually happens when the furniture has to change (for example, when your child moves from a crib to a bed). The choice about when to make this shift is a personal decision and depends on the child’s needs. Many children get their first big kid room upgrade at around age 2 or 3 years old, maybe because they are getting too big for the crib or the parents need the crib for the next baby. When you do move up from the baby stage, I recommend that you not spend too much on “toddler furniture,” because it’s such a fleeting moment of time.

As you think about bedroom furniture and accessories and what is easiest to change as kids grow up, think about the pieces that you can easily and inexpensively transition. Your son or daughter isn’t going to want that Peppa Pig bedding forever, but luckily bedding is an easy switch. However, a solid wood dresser will be more challenging to replace.

Invest in staple pieces, such as larger items of furniture in neutral colors that will last over time and won’t need to be replaced as kids get older. Save on the accessories that can easily be changed out as your child grows. It’s important also to think about the items in the room as timeless, so don’t shop for things that are too kid-specific. If you get too “cutesy” with your furniture choices, your kid’s taste will outgrow them much faster. Instead, allow them to incorporate their interests with inexpensive accessories like bedding, wall art and stuffed animals.

Kids’ rooms are often the messiest areas of the house, and not many kids like to keep things tidy. Simple storage is a key element when designing a child’s room. If you make it easy for the room to be cleaned up with bins and baskets, then your child will be more likely to participate when asked. On the other hand, don’t go overboard on the organization. Meticulous, organized clothing systems look great in the store, but your kids will likely be hard on any storage system you put in place. Opt for durability and ease.

It can be tricky to incorporate a child’s interests and personal design choices into a room, especially when it comes to kiddos who love characters … you don’t want it to look like Disneyland threw up in there. One tip is to think about your kids’ interests and use the color palettes associated with them. For example, if they love Thomas the Tank Engine, work in a blue and gray range for the color palette. That way, you can incorporate more inexpensive items like framed posters or bedding accessories that feature the characters and can be easily changed out as the child gets older and moves on to new interests.

Sara Malek Barney is the owner and principal designer of BANDD DESIGN. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their two daughters.

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