Kids Buying Guide
A Bedtime Story: Designing the Ideal Room for a Child
When decorating a child’s room, it is important to remember that it is like no other room in your house. Because your child is growing daily, their bedroom should be designed with kids furniture that will adjust and adapt along with each developmental change. A kid’s bedroom should also provide a safe environment to play and explore. Here are some suggestions to help you plan the perfect kids bed that will encourage your child’s growth and imagination.
Before You Begin
What Kind of Children's Bed Do I Need?
The most popular size of bed for a child’s room is the twin or single bed. Twin beds are 39” wide and 75” long. The twin X-long or extra long single bed, is the same width as the twin but is 5” longer, and might be better suited for a teen’s room because of the additional length. If you want to purchase a custom size mattress or bed, take into account that many bedding manufacturers will offer sheets and comforters designed especially for children in twin sizes only.
A captain’s bed is also called a mate’s bed. By placing the mattress on top of a set of drawers or a combination of drawers and cubbyholes, it converts the unused space beneath the bed into a convenient storage area. To add even more storage, select a captain’s bed with a bookcase headboard. If you are decorating the room for two children, using matching captain’s beds would be an ideal way of defining each child’s individual space. It is also an excellent choice for eliminating one more place monsters can hide.
A trundle bed is essentially two beds in one. The second bed pulls out from underneath the first when needed and can be retracted when not in use. The majority of trundle beds are available in just twin size, which is the main reason this type of bed is popular for a child’s room. Perfect for sleepovers or unexpected guests, a trundle bed is more convenient and manageable than an air mattress. Trundle beds slide in and out on a type of track system, much like a large drawer, that might or might not include casters. When the extra bed is no longer needed, the trundle compartment of some models can be used as a storage area by removing the mattress.
A common choice when decorating a small or shared bedroom, the bunk bed is basically two beds stacked one on top of the other. Utilizing the space in the room vertically rather than horizontally, this saves the floor space for other interesting things like a chest of drawers, a toy chest or a desk with hutch. Supported by four poles at each corner of the bed, the top bunk is typically accessed by a ladder and is either fully or semi enclosed by railings to prevent the child from falling out of bed. Most styles of bunk beds will break down into two free standing beds: should more space become available or they simply outgrow the bunk bed style, this will give you the option of giving them separate beds without have to purchase new ones.
A variation on the bunk bed, the loft bed is essentially the top bunk only, providing free space beneath the bed for a study or activity area. Loft beds are available in a variety of configurations and materials, including storage drawers and cubbyholes, built-in or free standing desks or activity tables. Combining the loft bed concept with the bunk bed, another version of the loft bed allows the bottom bunk to be free standing beneath the upper bunk, and might include a desk and optional storage.
The four poster bed is a timeless choice for a child’s bedroom. Depending on the style of the décor, they can be country charming, dramatically whimsical or comfortably sporty. They are characterized by four posts at each corner that are of equal or varying height. The most popular construction material for four poster beds is wood. Classic in style and elegant in design, a four poster can last through the young adult years, simply by removing and/or replacing the furniture the child’s outgrown and updating the bedding and color scheme.
Still the number one choice for princess themed rooms, the canopy bed is a four poster bed with a covering. Canopies can be made of a variety of materials, even roped wire detailing. To soften the dramatic appearance of the four poster bed, select a fabric canopy with a border frill or one with draped swatches. A canopy frame can be added to most four poster beds where the posts of the bed are of equal height. When purchasing a canopy bed, confirm if the material is or is not included; some manufacturers will not include the canopy fabric, allowing you the option to match it to your curtains, bedding and/or color scheme. Typically chosen to decorate girls’ room, a canopy bed can be the perfect focal point in a boy’s room, depending on the material and style.
Sleigh beds are characterized by elegant, curving lines and a distinctive, romantic feel. The height of the headboard determines how eye-catching the bed will be as a focal point in the room; the taller the headboard/footboard, the more it will dominate the room. For decorating a child’s bedroom, if you want the feel of a sleigh bed but would like to minimize its visual impact, select a shorter headboard. Originally a style associated with the Victorian era, sleigh beds for children can possess both period and modern details like bun feet, carved accents, bright colors and the use of contrasting finishes.
What Kind of Kids Bed Style Should I Choose?
The sleigh bed is one of those styles that we immediately associate with traditional because of their silk finishes, graceful curves and flowing lines. Traditional furnishings are inspired by the fashions and customs of the past, ranging from the elaborate fussiness of Victorian times to the rich simplicity of French Country. It is probably for this reason that traditional-style pieces like a dresser or nightstand can make a room feel informal or formal, depending on the time period that has been used as inspiration.
Contemporary children’s bedroom furniture is known for its simplicity of line, shape and form. A blend of modern and casual, the contemporary style emerged during the second half of the 20th century. By underplaying the ornate lines and rich textures of more traditional furniture, a contemporary bedroom set might mix natural elements with bold color.
Casual children’s bedroom furnishings are comfortable, warm and inviting. This style is characterized by simple details, textured elements such as lattice work, and horizontal panel insets. Rectangular and softly curved elements contribute to its relaxed feel. Furniture can be oversized or large in scale to emphasize its coziness and functionality. A bunk bed in the casual style is ideal for creating a child’s room that will posses the comfortable look of contemporary and the warm, charming feel of the traditional.
Simple style is even more pared down and leaner than casual furniture. Characterized by clean, uncomplicated lines, casual furnishings are inviting, warm and comfortable while unpretentious in form. A child’s room, which might include a trundle bed, furnished in simple style may appear more uncluttered because of minimal architectural detail. Finishes are usually lighter than traditional or casual furniture.
Country kids furniture combines more formal traditional styles with provincial charm, and are known for being comfortable, cozy and welcoming. They contain a distinctive period flavor like Colonial or English Country. Country style furnishings are almost always constructed of wood, ranging from light to medium finishes. Some of the more common types of finishes are grainy, painted or distressed. Country furniture can include whimsical details like hand-painted stenciling, hand-carved insets, shutter style panels and French twist embossing.
Transitional style children’s bedroom furnishings blend together contemporary and traditional styles. Typically this style merges austere lines with intricate curves and natural wood finishes with lustrous metals. It also utilizes neutral palette finishes like taupe, tan and vanilla. Since it is a mix of other styles, it adapts easily and blends in with a wide range of designs and fashions. The versatility of transitional bedroom furniture, like a four poster bed, makes it a good choice for a child’s room because as the child grows, pieces, not necessarily in the same style, can be added.
What Kind of Material Should I Choose for My Child's Bed
Made from recyled materials, engineered woods are processed by using heat and pressure to glue wood fibers together. One type of engineered wood is medium density fiberboard or MDF. MDF is more affordable than solid wood, but just as strong and durable. For bedroom furniture in a child’s room that is easy to care for while having the look and feel of real wood, select a bunk bed or headboard made of MDF and a combination of veneers and/laminates.
Laminates are produced by pressing layers of plastic, metal or wood together, then sealing them with a thermosetting resin. They are often used as a finish for bedroom furniture because they are durable, easy to care for and economical. Since laminates don’t fade and have no grain, they are easier to match when adding additional pieces to your kids bedroom set.
Wood veneers are created by a similar process as in the making of laminates. Thin slices of real wood are glued to the piece of furniture using heat and pressure. Since it can be applied to any smooth, flat surface, this is a popular material for bedroom furniture like a sleigh bed. Since it is not as expensive to manufacture, it also gives furniture the texture and appearance of genuine solid woods, while keeping costs down.
Considered to be the most durable material for kids furniture, real wood furnishings are constructed from wood cut from the trunks of trees like pine, mahogany or oak and are more expensive than engineered wood products. If your budget allows for a four poster made of solid wood, it will be something that you will prize for years to come. Although, do keep in mind, that as a construction material for children’s furniture, it will be the most labor intensive. Because is has a grained surface, it can be scratched easily. If you want to add pieces at some time in the future, it might be more difficult to match with your other furniture, even if produced by the same manufacturer, due to factors like variation in wood density and discrepancies in the thickness of finishes.
Metals are a popular material for kids beds because they are strong and easy to keep clean. Pure metals are generally too soft, too brittle or chemically reactive. Alloys refer to metals made by combining two or more elements. The purpose of creating an alloy is to make the metal stronger and more stable. Since all metals are subject to the effects of time and oxidization, you want to choose a metal twin bed with a durable finish or one that is made of scaled metal, which means it has been treated to resist corrosion. Frames made from sheet metal are more solid than ones made from tubing, but a bed made from heavy gauge tubing will retain strength and durability, while being lighter and less expensive to ship.
What Else Should I Keep in Mind When Choosing a Bed for My Child