Choosing a Kid's Room Theme

Whether you want to incorporate a theme in a small way or go completely over the top, we asked designers for their top tips to creating a themed kid's room.
Blue Airplane Themed Boy's Bedroom

Blue Airplane Themed Boy's Bedroom

Design by Sue Firestone

Design by Sue Firestone

Pirate ships, princess towers and jungle scenes: Kids' rooms are the ideal space to embrace creativity. Whether you want an all-out themed room or to create a space that's imaginative but will still grow easily with your kid, we have suggestions from top designers of kids' spaces on selecting the perfect theme for your child's room.

Outrageous Kids' Rooms

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Out of This World

For the Lilo and Stitch-themed room, designer Glenda Hobus of Hobus Homes collaborated with designer Mark Bebermeyer of Gallery B Designs to create an imaginative blend of astrological stars and planets. The ceiling painting was personalized with the boy's own comet flying high over the bed. Planets are hung out of the reach of little hands and add an additional element of dimension and interest. The stars are outlined in glow-in-the-dark paint so the room stays alive even after the lights are turned out.

Flying High

Making the most of the high ceiling of this boy's room, designer Sue Firestone of Smith & Firestone Associates creates a airplane-themed space with dark and light blue walls, hanging model airplanes and a mural featuring the child's name written across the sky.

Knight's Tale

Designer Troy Beasley of Beasley & Henley Interior Design uses lightweight concrete to create a castle room that features a built-in bed, top bunk, slide and a built-in desk area. Faux-finished walls complete the look.

From: Troy Beasley

The Great Outdoors

The room designed by Terri Kemp of Terri Kemp Interiors set the tone for designer Anita Roll of Anita Roll Murals to create a stunning nature-inspired mural, featuring tons of woodland animals for the child to discover.

Nursery Rhyme Inspiration

Designer Debbie Avoux of Debbie Avoux Designs hand painted her son's entire nursery to feature favorite nursery rhymes and kids' songs, including The Three Little Pigs, Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, The Frog Prince and more. "Many people worry that a full mural will close in a room but it actually has the opposite effect. By creating a scene on the wall with dimension and depth, it gives the perception that the room continues on far beyond the actual walls," says Avoux.

Into the Jungle

Designer Troy Beasley of Beasley & Henley Interior Design creates a jungle-inspired kid's room complete with a real thatched roof, bamboo posts on the bed and a hidden cave made of faux stone.

From: Troy Beasley

Cowboy Hangout

Rustic beams are used to create oversized bunk beds for this cowboy retreat. Southwestern-inspired bedding and area rug bring in earthy tones, while striped curtains hang from poles around each bed to provide privacy when needed. Design by Melanie Grant of Poss Interior Design and photo by Patrick Sudmeier

Photo By: 1996-98 AccuSoft Inc., All rights reserved

Getting Started

Themed rooms range from subtle to outrageous, so the first decision to make is how far do you want to go with the theme? Designer Sherri Blum of Jack and Jill Interiors says to consider three things when deciding on a theme for your kid's room: budget, longevity and how easy it'll be to change out as the child gets older.

"When it comes to children's rooms, the child often has his or her own ideas for the space. Remember though that children's interests will change as frequently as their shoe size. Try to create an overall room that isn't theme specific and can grow with the child with respect to the furniture, murals, etc., and then bring in the theme of the day through smaller, less expensive accessories," says Blum.

Creative Themes for Boys' Rooms

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Rustic Modern

For her son's nursery, designer Joanna Gick of J&J Design Group mixes rustic accents with modern elements. Since barn wood wasn't readily available, she stained pine wood boards to give them a weathered look. For the "D" above the crib, she punched one-inch-squares out of paint chips and glue them to the letter to create a pixilated effect.

Mod Paper Airplanes

Designer Susie Fougerousse of Rosenberry Rooms infuses this boy's nursery with a bold, modern color scheme. For a playful theme, she incorporates paper airplanes onto the wall behind the crib.

Around the World

An oversized map of the world creates a cool focal wall behind the headboard in this boy's bedroom. Continuing the theme, map-inspired pillows are added to the bed. Design by Julie Frank and Alessia Corpino of My Tiny Nest.

Photo By: Alessia Corpino

Sail Away

For her son's bedroom, blogger Miriam Bradford of Other Pieces of Me reverse stencils a ship on the dresser by using a custom decal. A mobile of ships hangs from the ceiling and collection of globes adds to the nautical theme of the space.

Photo By: Miriam Bradford

Classic Cars

Transportation is a classic boy's theme. Using a color palette of red, white and blue, designer Susie Fougerousse of Rosenberry Rooms brings in the theme through the mural of vintage race cars, emergency vehicle bedding and even a riding toy car.

Gone Fishing

A theme doesn't have to overwhelm the room. Designer Susie Fougerousse of Rosenberry Rooms uses small accessories in bright colors, such as storage tins and bookends, to add hints of the sea-inspired theme in this boy's room.

Jungle Animals

Playful and fun, a jungle theme is great option for boys' rooms. Designer Susie Fougerousse of Rosenberry Rooms uses a gallery of animal artwork above the crib to reflect the theme of the nursery.

Find a Balance

For nurseries, Julie Frank and Alessia Corpino of My Tiny Nest encourage parents to bring their history and childhood into elements of the design, through favorite characters or quotes from childhood. When designing for older kids, talk to them first to see what they want in the space. It's important to create a space that expresses the individuality of the child, while balancing it with the style of the rest of the home.

Frank and Corpino make sure that a theme is present enough to excite the child without being overwhelming, especially since a theme runs the risk of a child outgrowing it quickly. "We advocate subtlety, balancing themed and neutral elements. For instance, if the wallpaper is themed, we suggest only covering one wall."

Princess-Inspired Girls' Rooms

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Whimsical Bed Crown

Adding a regal touch to this girl's room, a bed crown featuring striped pink and solid green fabrics creates a stunning focal point behind the headboard. Ribbons drape across the chandelier for a grander effect and also mimic the ribbons on the bed skirt. Design by RMSer sljdesign.

Over-the-Top Fun

Every princess castle should come complete with its own slide. Truly living in a castle of her own, a little girl finds everything she wants in this all-in-one piece of furniture that also features storage shelves, a bed and play loft. Design by RMSer NeverlandThemeBeds

Royal Romance

Yellow, diamond-patterned walls combined with an antique, iron crib give this royal retreat Venetian festival appeal. Design by Sherri Blum

Dreamy Retreat

Gold-leaf accents and silk fabrics outifit a little girl's nursery with whimsy and glamour. This European-inspired retreat fit for a princess was designed for Dr. Phil's first grand daughter, Avery Elizabeth. Photo courtesy of Petit Trésor

Perfect Pink

Pink and toile make for the perfect princess combination. Designer Sherri Blum of Jack and Jill Interiors uses furniture and accessories featuring curvy lines to bring a romantic, feminine quality to the nursery.

Grand Opulence

Never too early for a girl to feel like a princess. In this nursery designed by Charles Neal, a stunning canopy highlights the crib, while flowing draperies add drama to the space. Neal brings in furniture with elaborate carvings, a crystal chandelier and touches of gold to complete the grandeur.

From: Charles Neal

Sweet and Whimsical

Over-the-top style isn't needed to create a princess retreat. Designer Sherri Blum of Jack and Jill Interiors uses a sweet color palette and antiqued furniture in this girl's room design. Whimsical artwork incorporates the fairy tale notions of "Once upon a time" and "Happily ever after."

Subtle Elegance

Soft and cottage-inspired, this girl's room design by Jennifer Duneier of Duneier Design is simple in style but still fit for a princess. The four-poster bed is surrounded with silk curtains, and a pink crystal hangs from the custom-painted headboard for the perfect touch of elegance.

Serenely Sweet

Designer Karin Haggard of Oopsy daisy creates a soft pink nursery fit for a little princess. The tiniest chandelier brings a touch of elegance to the room.

Princess Playtime

Disney princesses come to life in this girl's room. The princesses are kid-size paper dolls with multiple dresses for playing. Wall hooks above the bed allow the little girl to pick out her clothes for the school week and also act as decorations. See more of this of girl's room.

Room for Two

The shared room was designed to make two little girls feel like princesses. Matching custom beds bring balance to the space and also feature tons of storage underneath. A trio of chandeliers adds glamour to the space. Design by Jason Champion

From: Jason Champion

Photo By: Geza Darrah

Think About Murals

Most themed kids' rooms bring gorgeous murals to mind, which can be very expensive and might be painted over in as little as two to four years. If you do opt for a mural, Blum suggests sticking with a scene that will grow with your child, such as a countryside mural with trees and grassy hills. The scene can evolve into various themes, like princess or garden for girls or farm animals, jungle, or knights and dragons for boys. "If the mural is a general backdrop, it can transition beautifully for several years. Incorporate the given themes with lamps, quilts and toys. You won’t feel badly about discarding these small items to change the theme every couple of years," says Blum.

Go All Out

If you and your child want a truly one-of-a-kind space, embrace it. It's one time to let your and your kid's imagination run wild. "A kid's room is one of the spaces where you can really let loose while designing and decorating. Just about every design element can be inspired by the imagination of the child, and allowing them to be part of the process can be an exciting experience.



Designer Troy Beasley of Beasley & Henley Interior Design creates a jungle-inspired kid's room complete with a real thatched roof, bamboo posts on the bed and a hidden cave made of faux stone.

From: Troy Beasley

Designer Troy Beasley of Beasley & Henley Interior Design creates a jungle-inspired kid's room complete with a real thatched roof, bamboo posts on the bed and a hidden cave made of faux stone.

"Crafting a fun, whimsical bedroom inspired by a theme from a favorite story or character brings the space together and creates an atmosphere of wonder, discovery and creativity," says designer Glenda Hobus of Hobus Homes.

When creating a themed kid's room, Hobus suggests keeping three things in mind.

1. Allow the child to be part of the process. This nurtures imagination and creativity and gives them an opportunity to exercise autonomy.

2. Be sure there are common features in the colors and patterns to be included throughout the space. Paying careful attention to the cohesiveness of each design element incorporated will ensure a successfully created, over-the-top themed kid's room.

3. Have fun with the project. After all, it is a kid's room.

Next Up

Gender-Neutral Design Tips

Don't want to decorate your child's room in the typical pink or blue? Discover designer tips for creating a space that works for both boys and girls.

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