Designing Rooms for Kids

Rooms for kids should be designed to be fun, flexible and functional spaces that inspire

The three films that currently comprise the Toy Story cinematic universe strike a universal chord with parents and children with good reason. As children grow, their interests change. The toys that were once their best friends often get neglected and then eventually forgotten as they grow up. It is the same for a child’s room. What suited a baby needs to be tweaked for an active toddler, and changed again for when they begin school, become pre-teens and finally enter their teen years. While some furnishings can be flexible enough to adapt for all ages, consider what works for each child’s individuality that allows them plenty of room to learn, play and grow.


"It is important to give kids a room with the space to reflect their individuality."


“It is important to give kids a room with the space to reflect their individuality,” says interior designer Karen Hay, a native of Scotland with two boys: 14 year old Reuben and 11 year old Zachary. Hay also recently revamped the room of her 14 year old god-daughter Sophie, who resides in Singapore. Hay and her architect husband Richard have a three storey village house in Clearwater Bay, and the second storey is devoted to their boys. Each has his own room and they share a bathroom, with a study that the entire family uses.

“Until they were eight and 11, the boys shared a room,” notes Hay. “When they were younger, between the ages of five to 10, they had a bed above a desk that also had a cabinet and bookshelves. For this type of bed, it is important for the child to be able to get up and down easily by themselves. When Reuben became a teenager, the dynamics between them changed. Having their own rooms give them more privacy. The boys like having friends over for sleepovers now; Zachary has a trundle bed that rolls underneath, while Reuben has a sofa bed to accommodate his friends.”

As their needs change, storage for children tends to shrink along with their toys. Chunky cars and dolls get replaced by hand held devices. “Their storage now consists of open shelves,” says Hay. “Boys in particular don’t need much hanging space, since they wear jeans, t-shirts and mostly foldable items. I find that dressers with plenty of drawers and open shelves are enough for their needs. It is also a good idea to have stackable boxes so that they can keep toys tucked away. Kids love dens and places where they can hide away; allowing the space for an indoor tent is a fun way for them to play. Boys like to build things and they play on the floor a lot. Having an area rug in the room lets them get comfortable while playing and keeps them warm.”

As for wall space to display their favourite things, Hay believes that “boys tend to be more into tech and like hang football banners rather than pictures of their mates. Girls want to have space on walls for photos of their friends, souvenirs, montages and collages. Pin boards or wire mesh with pegs lets them change things around as their passions change.”

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