To theme or not to theme?

Themed rooms for kids are very popular these days. We’ve all seen the outrageous rooms created on TV’s Extreme Make Over Home Edition where because a 4 year old happened to enjoy fishing with his Dad one day, his entire bedroom is made into an underwater aquarium complete with a submarine for a bed with real tropical fish swimming all around. Fishing rods dangerously cascade from the ceiling and a buoy-turned-light-fixture casts shadows on the gigantic fish mural that takes up an entire wall.

Certainly if you search the web for ideas for children’s rooms many themed ideas pop up promising exciting results that will make your child the envy of all his peers.

But those of us who have children – even those of us who have simply been around them – know there is one thing true of almost any child: they are fickle. What is their most prized possession one day might as well be out for the trash the next.

Therefore, themed rooms in my opinion are most often a waste of money.

However, If you find yourself attached to the idea of decorating your child’s room with a theme, here are some rules that I believe can steer you clear of expensive disasters.

1. Avoid using very specific character or cartoon themes.

Decorating with a TV or book character theme might seem fun but undoubtedly your child will grow to despise said character within a matter of weeks. Check out some examples of way too specific theme rooms gone wrong (in my humble opinion).


While the spider man room looks cool (I’ll give it that) poor spider man tends to only be cool to a young boy (or gal) for maybe a year, and then what – that’s an expensive mural, perhaps hand painted- that will have to be torn down. Not to mention, a child’s room should be soothing and unfortunately the idea of super heroes ridding the world of evil, plastered all over my child’s wall does not exactly put me to sleep.

Do I need to say anything about the Sponge Bob room? Aside from being unattractive, once again Sponge Bob (a show I happen to find really annoying) is definitely only in a child’s life for a couple of years. While I am always a fan of redecorating, you don’t want to have to do it every year or two! A child’s room should have some room to grown with them for a while. When designing you should always being thinking ahead.

The Cinderella rooms are over the top, way too sugary sweet and as with the other rooms, have a very short life span.

2. Fun rooms should still be soothing.

Here’s a room to give any child nightmares:

Yes. You can have this soldier and his gun plastered across your child’s wall. Or sculls and crossbones, or life size sharks or how about a decal that transforms your child’s room into jail. I’m not kidding. There is a decal for everything. The problem is, while our children may enjoy playing GI Joe or pirates, or cops and robbers, it doesn’t mean they want to go to sleep thinking and dreaming about those things.

3. The design or decor of a child’s room should be the backdrop for exploration, imagination, and creativity so that children can create their own fantasies, rather than have their play dictated.

So, If you just have to go the theme route (can you tell I am not a fan) keep the idea broad, simple, soothing and even though its a child’s room, keep it tasteful!

Here are a few examples of better themed rooms:



All of these rooms, while not particularly original and a little too conventional for my taste, at least have soothing color palates, subtle themes with room to grow, are aesthetically pleasing, and provide a backdrop for creative play, as opposed to dictating it.

Check out and for lots of accessories and bedding to help subtly create a themed room or simply for adding a few special touches.

Of course, as always, Etsy is amazing for finding unique, handmade, one of a kind designs to accessorize your child’s room.

Have fun!


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