Designing a Transitional Kids Room

Designing a nursery or kids room can be one of the most fun and exciting projects in a house.  After all, you get to let your inner child come out to play! It can also be confusing and jam-packed with questions. How long will my child be in a crib? Do I need a separate changing table with storage? How much play space will he/she need?  WHAT DO I PUT ON THE WALLS?

Somehow, I’ve put together two nurseries and a kids room in the last 3.5 years...and I only have two kids. How does that math work!? Well, we transitioned my oldest daughter out of her nursery and moved her into a bigger room so we could put my youngest daughter into the nursery when she was born. BUT my oldest daughter still needed a crib. This brings us to designing a transitional kids room that lasts from nursery to big kid.

Most nurseries and kids rooms need the same components:  a place to sleep, a place to sit, a place for clothes, a place to change diapers, a place for books/toys and wall decor.

A Place to Sleep and a Place to Sit: 


Try earmarking the spot where a bed and nightstand would eventually go. This is where you should place your crib AND rocker. That way, if you’re tight on space, you can remove the crib and rocker to make room for a bed. Once your kiddo is in a bed, you’ll be hopping into bed to read books at night and won’t have much need for a rocker.

A Place for Clothes and a Place to Change Diapers: 

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The dresser should pretty much always double as a changing table. There is truly no need for a second piece of large furniture just to change a baby. I would use a removable changing pad on top of the dresser, and fill the top drawer with diapers, wipes, and creams. This is also, obviously, where all clothing goes!

A Place for Books and Toys:  

Depending on the room you can get a slim bookcase or a larger bookshelf with room for toys.  The larger bookshelf can then transition to stuffed animal storage for little kids or art storage for big kids. When your big kid is ready you could even replace the bookshelf with a desk!

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Finally, Wall Decor: 

Wallpaper is always a good idea (see our kids spaces here where we often use wallpaper) but for a transitional room I reccomend choosing one that has a softer, more neutral vibe like these from Loboloup, Anthropologie and Milton + King.  Wallpaper the whole room for maximum design, or do an accent wall on the same wall where the crib/bed will go. You can also decorate with removable wallpaper if you don’t want to commit to traditional wallpaper.  

Other Wall Ideas: Add a mirror over the changing table on the dresser and/or shelves for extra storage during the baby years or a place for framed photographs for a more mature vibe.  For the remaining wall space, it’s always fun to get creative and use wall hangings, garland, and personalized wall art. These are inexpensive, movable and transitional pieces that can work well with other additions to a room.