Converting a Nursery to a Toddler Room – 6 Tips from the Professionals

Converting a Nursery to a Toddler Room – 6 Tips from the Professionals

Journalist and author Mignon McLaughlin once said, “Only where children gather is there any real chance of fun.” He’s absolutely right, which is why making the transition from a baby’s nursery to a toddler room should be a fun rite of passage for the entire family. Now that your little one is old enough to speak up, the decor can take on a more personal touch. If you plan to take the nursery to the next step, here are some tips from professional interior designers.

Interview Your Child

Interior designers don’t go into a job without knowing how to best meet your client’s needs. After all, if your child has to live there, then why wouldn’t you want to know what your child wants in the room? A lot of times this method works out perfect and both parent and child are happy with the results; but sometimes personalities clash. When this happens, then it’s best to try and find some kind of compromise.

For instance, when my nephew turned two, he decided that his favorite color was orange and he wanted his new bedroom to reflect his personal tastes. His parents compromised, painting three walls a rich, cappuccino color and the other a complementary shade of bright orange. Artwork and bedding with a cute monkey theme corresponded nicely with the color scheme. Best of all, the new theme reflected both his tastes and his mischievous personality.

Think of the Future

Some children might decide on a favorite character, like Winnie the Pooh or Mickey Mouse, from an early age and stick with that through their entire childhood. During my own childhood, Cinderella-themed accessories dominated my very pink bedroom until the day I turned 14 and announced that I’d outgrown the childhood favorite. My sister, on the other hand, selected something new every couple of years, whether it was Bambi, Alice in Wonderland, or Sleeping Beauty. After the second change my parents selected a neutral color and left it in place. Today her old room is still the same pale yellow, but it now serves as a bright and cheerful guest room. This is a great example of choosing a timeless color that can last through years of decorating changes.

Wall Art

Along with painting, adhesive decals and wall murals are one of the most economic ways to make a huge impact in a child’s bedroom. Unlike framed posters that require tapping holes in the walls, large murals adhere to the wall without damaging the paint and removed without leaving behind any messy residue.

One quick and easy way to personalize a toddler room after removing all the baby-themed decor is to add self-adhesive decals, such as Disney Cars or princess wall murals. Decals and wall murals are available in a wide array of styles, from popular Disney characters to stately initials to add a monogram to a child’s bedroom wall.

Furniture Selection

Just because the changing table is no longer in the room doesn’t mean your toddler won’t find something else to climb on. Attach pieces like dressers and bookshelves to the wall with brackets purchased at your local home improvement center or hardware store. This way if your child does happen to climb on the furniture, there’s less risk that the piece will topple over and cause injury.

Young children grow accustomed to the rails on either side of a crib and feel safe rolling about, knowing they won’t fall out. When switching to a toddler or youth bed, keep the mattress low to the ground so that if your child does fall out, there’s less risk of falling out and hitting the floor below.

Leave Room to Play

It’s tempting to add everything a child might ever want or need in their new bedroom. If a child’s room is too full of stuff, then there’s no space to enjoy playing in the room. When my oldest decided he was ready for a big boy room, his well-meaning grandparents bought him a toddler-sized jungle gym for his bedroom. While it was very cool that he could safely climb up the miniature rock wall on one side, slide down the other side, and crawl through the ball pit underneath, it made fitting other pieces of furniture in the room a huge challenge for his dad and me. Moving the jungle gym into the family room left plenty of space for him to play again. We even added some throw pillows by the bookcase for quiet reading time.

It Doesn’t Have to Match

When I found out I was expecting my oldest son, I was thrilled that the color scheme fit the rest of the house. The subtle earth tones of our former guest room transitioned nicely into our baby’s nursery. But when he hit the terrible two’s, he chose a terrible color scheme to redecorate his bedroom. The bright, primary colors didn’t match anything else in the house!

Finally, I realized that in the grand scheme of things, I would have much bigger problems than what color adorned the walls in my son’s bedroom. Letting my son express himself through the theme he chose for his bedroom was more important to me than the fact that it wasn’t something that fit my personal tastes. It not only allowed him to have some control over decorating his own bedroom, but it also allowed him to create lasting childhood memories that he may someday share with his own children.

Guest Writer – Mikki Hogan

Mikki Hogan has always enjoyed personalizing her children’s bedrooms and frequently utilized tools on to decorate a little kid’s bedroom to find that perfect match. As her children aged they took over the talent of room decorating, but Mikki re-lives her passion through writing about it.

Authored by: Cathy Alessandra

Cathy Alessandra is a wife, a mother of three, the founder of the Today's Innovative Woman, and the creator of What's Up For Kids, LLC. What's Up For Kids was founded in 1995 based on the need of finding information about local events and activities - all in one place. As a parent, Cathy will help you find the resources you need in an easy to use format within What's Up For Kids. As a business woman, Cathy will help you with all your marketing needs. Cathy was awarded the 2011 Top 50 Momprenuer of the Year award by and has been featured on and KFWB - Los Angeles as well as being named a finalist in the 2011 Ali Brown Platinum Excellence Awards. Find out more about Cathy at

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