Decorating Kids’ Rooms: Why Bother?

I don’t understand this fixation with decorating kids’ rooms. Maybe it’s because I’d rather spend money on books. Maybe it’s because I think trends are an environmental hazard. Maybe it’s because a coat of yellowish paint was good enough for my room when I was growing up.

Most likely it’s because I’m lazy.

The decorating style of William and Vivian’s room is global simplicity. That’s a euphemism for a few pieces of cheap art we picked up overseas, got framed, and hung on their beige walls. Beige is the colour on every wall in our house. It’s not champagne; it’s beige.

Sometimes “global simplicity” is a developing country. You know, a place in need of financial assistance and better organization.

Junior cartographers or delinquent kids?

When Vivian and William were 2, they took out the night light and used the prongs to remove paint. Not sure where their parents were while that was going on. It’s graffiti in a country that doesn’t have the means to beautify it.

Sometimes “global simplicity” resembles a detention centre.

No, we don't detain the kids in the closet...

Once again, when our twins were two, they developed another anti-nap-time habit. They’d open the closet door, climb the shelves, pull everything out, and hang from the rafters. So, we took the lock off our back gate (because that’s safe), and attached it high on the closet door. That lasted a day. Until Thing One and Thing Two figured out if they wrenched on the closet doors hard enough, they could warp the lock, permanently. Twins 2, Parents 0.

Sometimes “global simplicity” resembles a war zone.

How I wish I had to stage this photo

Walk in their room at your own risk. Watch where you step: lego pieces, baby dinosaurs and random debris can cause extreme foot pain.

Despite the disaster and lack of style, I wouldn’t hire a decorator if I had the money.

I’d hire a cleaner.


How about you: what type of room did you grow up in? do you decorate kids’ rooms? would you rather hire a cleaner or a decorator?


  1. Natalie says

    My mom wallpapered the room in floral. The bedding was floral, and everything was girly. Everything but me. She decorated for herself, not us.

    My five-year-old’s room is battleship gray, and everything in it is a hand-me-down. My baby’s room is yellow, and everything in it also is a hand-me-down. They both have all the necessary stuff, and I don’t see the point of spending a lot of money on things they are going to damage and/or deface.

    I would definitely opt for the cleaner. I’d like them to do my bathrooms, too.

  2. says

    I gave the baby my old dresser etc because I wanted new stuff for myself.

    Taking selfish and lazy parenting to a new level, right here, right now.

  3. says

    Our girls’ rooms are beige, like the rest of our house. I mean “sand fossil” according to the good people at Benjamin Moore. Before our oldest was born, we had a fleeting thought about “decorating the baby’s room” because I’d heard that what you’re supposed to do. Then five seconds later we figured, why bother. Lets wait until they actually care.

    Growing up I insisted my dad get wallpaper for my bedroom that had a pattern of brightly coloured houses, clouds, sunshines, rainbows, and such. That way I could stand on my bed, point at the wall with a stick, and pretend I was the weatherman. That was a whole phase for me. Being the weatherman. Like on TV.

    Cleaner, definitely.

  4. Vicki says

    For me: Hand-me down furniture. Dresser covered in stickers. Cool adjustable shelves/desk unit built by my dad. Aged yellow wall paper with giant yellow and white flowers – circa 1950. I peeled the paper off in giant strips – just to see how much I could get off in one pull. Result: a lot. I once hung a piece of cord from one side of the room to the other and hung all of my stuffed animals from it – attached by strings around their necks. I was inspired by the games booths at the fair. It looked like a mass lynching of stuffed toys. My fledgling career as an interior designer stopped here.

  5. Sarah Kramer says

    For me: Floral wallpaper and bunk beds with stickers. I used to stick up pop posters of Nik Kershaw and Adam Ant behind the door so Mum wouldn’t see them.

    As eternal nomads, our kids are subjected to various shades of “magnolia”/”latte” in every room they have. They have grey sunblock material nailed to the window frame (which Mark then has to putty and paint before we leave to get our rent deposit back). We did once have lovely curtains made when our first was born, but they’ve been in a box since we left BKK and are about to be listed on eBay (look for Jim Thompson linen nursery curtains!!?) I am kind of envious of my friend ‘s kids who have matching window shades, sheets and light shades. There’s even a contrasting frieze (is that what that bit of paper going around the room is called??)

  6. says

    I would way hire a cleaner.

    But that’s only because my husband can paint.

    When I shared a room with my sister, we had wallpaper; once I got my own room, I was in the land of paneled basement, and “decorating” consisted of whatever I wanted to tear out of magazines and hang on my walls. Also a shelf or two of unicorn statues. (Girl’s gotta have a hobby.)

    My girls share a room of bright pink walls, with the third wall (one wall is a double closet) pink with a purple pattern (we used plastic bags; it turned out really cool!). My MIL framed some simple art for us.

    Easy, peasy, cheap. And that last image looks a lot like my girls’ room after quiet time. It’s mostly stuffed animals and books on the floor. So then we spend another 15 minutes in their rooms cleaning up!

  7. says

    Bwahahaha. I’m with you on the decorator vs. cleaner dilemma. (Also, all the decorating shows that show off “green” renos/decorations baffle me. It is NOT eco-friendly to completely re-do a room with new paint/flooring/furniture. For goodness sake.)

  8. Terresa says

    I don’t think I ever got to pick wallpaper or paint for my room as a kid, unless you count all the pictures out of “Teen Heartthrob” or whatever those silly magazines are called, that I taped up all over the place. It was an odd mix of Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise, Axel Rose and Poison. All my furniture was hand me down, mismatched stuff.

    My kids had pretty much the same deal until we recently moved into a new house which needed new paint in every room so they have now gotten to choose their own paint color and new beds, but no matching comforter, lamp, etc.

  9. says

    Our boys rarely play in their bedroom. With three “living” rooms in our house and a spare empty bedroom with a couch, they don’t even have toys in their room, just their beds and clothes. The like it that way! Their bedroom is decorated in a jungle theme, but we planned well so it will grow with them!

  10. familymanager1 says

    Any decorating you do will immediately be undone by anyone under the age of twelve. My philosophy is, why bother? I love my kids, but, unless they express a strong opinion about something they want, it’s the basic furniture and paint job for them.

  11. says

    Dang you, Ironic Mom. You got me fantasizing about having a cleaner again. We had one for a while while we were living in the UK sans children. Imagine, we thought we needed one then. Some days, I wouldn’t opt the cleaner OR the decorator; I’d need an exorcist!

  12. says

    Honestly, I know people say it all the time, and this comment must wear you down but “HOW DO YOU DO IT?!” I have one little midget, aged ten months, who I adore, and he had me running my arse off sweeping, mopping, tidying, and let me tell you, I am NOT picky or particularly hygenic (sssh don’t tell anyone). I wouldn’t decorate until they’re well past the destruction phase, which should be pretty soon … right? CLEANER!

  13. says

    I recently admitted to feeling like a bad mom when my son entered a “Cars” decorated room and acted like he was seeing Disney Land for the first time. I got over it quick though when I remembered he’s 3 and likes something new one month to the next. They have toys and a roof over their heads as well as food and water so I’m guessing they’ll survive without a decorator. Plus, it just takes too much damn time and creativity, two things I am short on right now.

    Mom of the Year here I come!!!!

  14. Jill says

    I love to paint murals, so for me, decorating the kids’ rooms is fun. Right now, I am working on a whole room Mario World level mural for my 15 month old! : )

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *