Winner of Best of Houzz for Design and Best of Houzz Service Award for 2022 & 2023


There is a lot that changes when kids transition from the baby phase to older. Not only do they physically and developmentally grow but they become their own individual people, with specific tastes, likes and dislikes.

Being a mum to a 3.5 year old who turns 4 this year and about to welcome my second baby, I have experienced the transition and know how daunting it can be when you’re faced with transitioning the older child from their nursery into a “big boy” room as my son calls it and creating a space for the new baby to settled into.

As an Interior Decorator and mother I am here to share my top 3 tips on designing a nursery and easy ways to transition your older child into a big kids room.

Plan how you want the space to feel

A common issue a lot of people have is not knowing where to start when it comes to planning out the type of room they want but instead turning to Pinterest or social media for decorating ideas, only to get completely overwhelmed.

Is this you? …It’s ok it happens to all of us!

Before you scroll through 1000 ideas, decide on how you would like the space to feel because this will dictate the style and type of materials and colours you choose to use.

Decorating tip for a nursery

If you wanted the room to have a calm and relaxing feel you might consider having a neutral colour palette and using particular textures and materials that promote softness such as a woollen rug, linen curtains, cotton bedding and light timber furniture.

Remember when it comes to nurseries you want to promote a sense of calm, so whilst you can use colour and pattern in the room be mindful of the type of colour and its intensity as this can be overstimulating for a baby.

baby nursery

Image by via Pinterest

Decorating tip for an older child’s room

By the time a child’s 3 years old their interests will be more established and they will have their own ideas on what they like from colours to characters.

Allow them to have input on what they would like to include in their room (within reason) as this gives them a sense ownership of the space.

Just some of the items my son loves at the moment – Batman, robots and Transformers!

Choose a colour palette or theme

Once you know how you would like the space to feel, decide on a colour palette or potential theme. As a rule of thumb a colour palette shouldn’t consist of anymore than 5 colours including neutrals (this includes the wall colour and type of flooring you have for example: carpet or floor boards).

If choosing a theme, such as nautical be sure to only include 3 colours along with the neutrals to avoid the room looking too busy.

Decorating tip for a nursery

To make it easy for yourself you can’t go wrong with a neutral base colour as this can be appealing for both boys and girls, but it doesn’t mean you have to go with just white.

Consider using a tint, which is when you add white to a colour. This creates a pastel which can be complimented with bolder coloured decor choices.

Nursery Design

Nursery design by Michelle Canny Interiors 

Decorating tip for an older child’s room

One thing my son is big into at the moment are Marvel characters and they all consist of bright primary colours such as blues and reds.

Because of this I have chosen to keep the walls and furniture in the room neutral tones so they don’t clash with the vibrancy of the decor and toys he likes.

pictures of marvel characters

Kids posters don’t have to be boring! Adding a frame is an inexpensive and easy way to dress up a wall space.

Style vs practicality

I have had a lot of people tell me that when it comes to kids rooms you can’t have both but I don’t agree.

There are many fantastic brands out there such as Adairs and Mocka that offer both practical and stylish furniture and decor choices for kids.

Another great resource, especially when it comes to planning a nursery is Gumtree as many people sell their cots, nursing chairs, change tables etc for a fraction of the cost of the retail stores and some pieces are pretty much brand new.

Decorating tip for a nursery

Because babies inevitably grow up and don’t use the same furniture forever, consider buying furniture that is multi-purpose such as a cot that transforms into a toddlers bed.

The great thing is you can get beautiful bedding for a cot and still use it for the toddlers bed as it’s the same mattress.

The same goes for decor items such as shelves or side tables, choose items that you would use again in your home once the child gets older and no longer needs them.

Nursery chair and side table

This side table from Adairs works perfectly in the nursery and for future use in my home.

Decorating tip for an older child’s room

I recently took my 3.5 year old bed shopping and whilst he saw the racing car bed and thought it was cool, I reminded myself that what’s cool to him now probably won’t be what he likes by the time he goes to school.

Whilst furniture changes as kids grow older, I recommend choosing items that are a classic design and made of a sturdy materials such as timber so that they remain classic for years to come and can always be re-sold or re-purposed down the track.

This bookshelf from Mocka is a classic design for both younger and older kids.

Image and brand credits:, Adairs, Mocka, Gumtree and Pinterest 

If you have found this post useful, you might also like to check out these other posts – ‘Decorating Ideas for a Shared Bedroom or ‘Practical and Stylish ways to childproof a home

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