Maybe more than any part of a house, a child’s room involves the heaviest design responsibility. You’re nurturing a human in there, after all. But that also means remaining flexible with a growing child’s changes. So do you go wild with personalized touches—turning a current fascination with the cosmos into NASA-grade Milky Way murals and spacey bric-a-brac—and risk a kid’s swift attention shifts? Or do you keep it simple and risk austerity? Two designers offer pointers to guide you through the choices.

The Experts: Laura Zeck, Zinc Art and Interiors; Lisa Staton, Lisa Staton Designs

Theme Time

When incorporating themes, try to blend your own sensibility with the child’s. Make it a place where adults feel comfortable too, Zeck says. Then balance enduring pieces like furniture with design accents that are easy to swap out as interests evolve. If the kid is interested in astronomy, for example, Staton recommends finding an old book and framing a vintage map of the galaxy. You can layer in a few touches like that and let the kid do the rest, she says. “It doesn’t need to be ten things.”

Neutral Inclinations

Instead of hewing too closely to traditionally gendered hues (blue for boys, pink for girls), consider a more neutral color scheme. This can help a room last through a kid’s shifting interests, says Zeck. But as with any aesthetic choice, picking something that’s specific to the child is your best bet. “You don’t need to put a lot of interior details that are cutesy or kid-like or gender-like,” says Staton, because kids will add many personalizing touches themselves.

See the Light

Often, kids spend more time in their bedrooms than adults do. So keeping things well-lit daylong is doubly important. Work with the natural light and then add fixtures—bedside lamps, sconces in a nook for reading—to create “zones where kids can play within their rooms” throughout the day, says Staton.

Classroom to Bedroom

Integrating various homework areas adds flexibility. Here Zeck picked a table for projects or group work, while a corner desk is suited to computer study (above). Concerned about monitoring your kids’ tech use? Staton recommends an analogue desk in the room and a computer station in a common area.

What's in Store

“Storage is key. If things have a place, you have a fighting chance of [everything] staying picked up,” Staton says. She favors easy-to-grab bins for younger kids. Zeck recommends sneaking in storage anywhere you can. Here drawers built into the window seat and bed frame (with three drawers in the headboard) offer places to tuck a book or skateboard (above).

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