Bright ideas to decorate a baby or toddler’s bedroom

toddler's bedroom
Our nursery features an IKEA shelving unit, John Lewis wall art, SCS carpet and Teepee Tent bed.

Now any toddler’s bedroom inevitably fills up with toys, books and knick-knacks over time and I wanted Cyrus’s space to be neutral enough that all those belongings would look sharp. Forget a pale blue or pink colour palette, bright art and accessories add all the pop in my opinion. Below are my tips to create the perfect ‘unisex’ nursery.

A fresh lick of paint

To keep things clean, airy and bright I chose Dulux Ocean Ripple for the nursery walls. Dulux Light & Space Ocean Ripple Matt Emulsion Paint costs £34.63 per 5L tin from B & Q. We had used the Light & Space Morning Light paint in our previous home and knew that it produced first-class results when combined with a feature wall.

toddler's bedroom

The matt emulsion will make your rooms light and more spacious. Its patented LumiTec formulation works with light-reflective particles to reflect up to twice as much light back into your room, when compared to regular emulsion paints.

Now you may remember that our nursery room started out in a rather fetching shade of Alice in Wonderland Cheshire Cat pink. Put on your sun shades now. This hot pink paint and wall art just had to go!

The hot pink silk paint just had to go!

Don’t just paint over vinyl silk paint

Changing this was not without its problems as the walls were thickly coated in vinyl silk paint (like many of the rooms in our new home). Anyone who has tried to paint over vinyl silk with matt emulsion will know that you get an interesting cracked eggshell result.

It doesn’t matter how many times you paint over the vinyl silk, you’ll end up with the same unsightly result. So if you want to create smooth walls, remember they will need sanding down and priming first.

We picked up a good one from B & Q at £33. Check Dulux White Primer & Undercoat 2.5L out here. A word of warning when painting any room is to ventilate the area well by opening doors and windows and take baby out for the day. DIY and babies definitely don’t go together.

After two coats of primer, seven coats of Ocean Ripple Matt Emulsion and endless ribbons of B & Q masking tape (£2.46), the pink had done a Cheshire cat disappearing act and all that was left was a huge smile on mummy’s face.

Nursery wall art

The notion that elephants bring good luck has a long history and the elephant is a symbol of strength, power, stability and wisdom. It’s just superstition, but if you want luck in your home, elephants need to face the door. It is said that the elephants protect the doorway making sure only good fortune enters. It took a lot of searching to find the right wall stickers and I would have opted for the farsi alphabet until I noticed the price of them on Etsy. I eventually found these colourful, eye-catching elephants on parade in John Lewis at £15. They work a treat in a toddler’s room and once C gets a little older, they are also easy to remove.

toddler's bedroom

Nursery flooring

Our friends had recently moved too and they’d told us that they’d got a great deal on their carpets from SCS in Gateshead. Always one for a bargain, we bundled Cyrus into the car and headed for the store.

Staff were extremely friendly and helpful as we browsed through the samples on offer. As with any nursery, one of the most important features of the carpet for us was that it was going to be stain-resistant! We opted for an Avalon Elite Carpet in Morning Light at £21.99 sq m (although we got a good discount because we bought it over the new year period). The carpet has certainly lived up to its reputation for being stain-free and easy to clean so far, while the colour works in harmony with the ocean ripple paint on the walls.

Extra comfy place to sit

If there was a must for our toddler’s room, it was that there was a chair or sofa that we could sit down on in those unearthly hours with our little night-owl. The problem was that I didn’t want to spend a fortune on it and most of the nursing and rocking chairs I’d seen were in the region of £500 and over.

IKEA Knopparp sofa in yellow

Now I’d taken a trip to IKEA at Gateshead for some kitchen bits and bobs when I spotted an offer I couldn’t refuse. IKEA’s Knopparp yellow sofa is wide enough to fit mum and dad during storytime and was a bargain at £39. It also comes with a washable cover. The orange version is now back to its original price of £79, so it’s become my best buy yet!

A picture speaks 1,000 words

A picture speaks 1,000 words and given that we are a multi-cultural family, it’s important to pass certain Persian traditions and education on to Cyrus. As my extended family don’t speak very much English, it’s vital that C grows up being able to understand and speak both farsi and English.

Now given my limited ability to speak or write the language, I wanted to do my bit to help us both learn and maintain ties with family overseas. Speaking another language from early childhood will have many benefits for C and even though it’s hard word, it’s a clear marker to friends that we have consciously decided to raise C with multi-lingual options. I created a little piece of artwork which features the numbers 1-10 in farsi for his wall.

Don’t just shop in the nursery department

I tried not to buy obvious ‘nursery’ decor and stuck to the housewares section of stores such as Clas Ohlson, Flying Tiger and IKEA. The items below are just some of the useful things I’ve bought at very little cost for our toddler’s bedroom.

The hanging basket for his wardrobe is great for his hooded towels as it takes away the need to damage walls or doors with hooks. It’s also great for storing handy essentials out of reach. At £4 from Flying Tiger in Newcastle Upon Tyne, it was a bargain. I also picked up the cute little rabbit night light below from the same store. At £2, it keeps baby C amused at bedtime as it changes colour, from red to blue, green to yellow. It’s battery operated, so can be turned off with ease once C hits ZZZZ-land. Worth every penny in my opinion.

Tradkurv wire basket, £4, from Flying Tiger

Rabbit nightlight from Flying Tiger in Newcastle Upon Tyne

How we customised our IKEA Kallax shelving unit

Given all the knick-knacks we are accumulating, we turned to IKEA for our storage options for our toddler’s bedroom. The clock used on a display at the Gateshead store caught my eye and it works perfectly. Cyrus loves to play in his room now and hopefully his clock with teach him the difference between day and night soon. The basic white shelving unit cost £39, the doors are an extra £9 each and the clock was £10.

TO DO LIST: Window treatment.
Cornices pack a visual punch. They cover your rolled-up blinds, but, unlike valances, they’re hard and tailored-looking. H may make a cornice using foam core board. I’ll then cover it with batting and fabric.

Finding the perfect nest

We’ve been holding off on buying a cot because little C has been co-sleeping and only using his travel cot during the day. However the time has come to invest in a bed for our toddler’s bedroom that will last him well into his first years. We love this Teepee tent bed from Bed Kingdom. It’s just perfect!

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