Home -> Beds -> Beds Buying Guide
Beds Buying Guide
Buying Furniture for Your Child’s Room
It is important to remember that when decorating your child’s room, you should select furniture that will grow with them. A child’s bedroom should also provide a safe environment to play and explore. Here are some suggestions to help you plan the perfect backdrop that will encourage your child’s growth and imagination.
Many manufactures follow or exceed the standard practices that govern the making of cribs, bunk beds and other types of furniture intended to be used by children. However, there are some other considerations to keep in mind when purchasing furniture for your child’s room.
- It should be well-constructed and able to withstand wear-and-tear kid style. It shouldn’t wobble or tip. Often manufacturers will include levelers that can be adjusted should uneven floors be a concern.
- All furniture in a child’s room should be age/height appropriate.
- Furniture should have rounded corners. Drawers, doors and lids should be easy to open and close.
- Especially when decorating a baby’s or toddler’s room, make sure the finish, paint or stain is non-toxic.
- For taller items such as a bookcase, armoire or chest of drawers, purchase ones that include or can be secured to a wall with an anti-tip kit.
- When buying a bunk bed, the ladder and safety rail should not be loose or flimsy.
- Check the product’s weight capacity, especially when purchasing a bunk bed or trundle bed/unit.
- Because ladders and climbing are involved, if a child is under six years of age, he or she should have the bottom bunk; save the top bunk for the older sibling.
- Also for children under six, choose a bed with a solid headboard instead of one that includes open spaces, such as metal bars or lattice work.
Have a Plan
Because children’s furnishings come in such a wide range of designs, styles, colors and materials, the number of choices might seem overwhelming. By making a few preliminary decisions, you can make the selection process a little easier.
- Whether you’re buying just a bed or an entire bedroom set, take measurements. Knowing exactly how much space you have to work with will eliminate the worry of whether or not everything will fit.
- Make a list of items you want to include. Set a budget.
- Since their interests and tastes are constantly changing, to avoid having to redecorate their space on an annual basis, choose pieces that are not theme-related or ones they will not outgrow quickly. Many manufacturers offer children’s furniture collections that will grow with your child, from childhood into the college years.
- Don’t forget the storage factor. When decorating a child’s room, floor space is usually a valuable commodity. Make your furniture choices do double time by selecting furnishings that have more than one purpose, such as a bookcase headboard, a captain’s bed which generally includes under bed storage drawers or a toy chest with a padded lid that can be used as bench.
From Crib to Bed
A baby bed, most commonly known as a crib, is usually 28” wide by 52” long. A child usually sleeps in a crib from birth to 18 to 24 months old. There are many different types of cribs to choose from, including ones that can be converted to a toddler bed or a twin size bed or a day bed.
A toddler’s bed is a little larger than a crib but smaller and lower to the ground than a twin bed. It is designed to make the transition from a baby bed or crib to a “big bed” easier for your child. Toddler beds usually have sides, but are not fully enclosed like a crib. They are approximately 29” wide by 55” long.
The twin bed, also called a single bed, is the most common type of bed for a child’s room. It is 39” wide and 75” long. A variation on the twin bed is the extra long single bed or the twin X-long. It is 39” wide by 80” long and is a popular choice for decorating a teen’s room or a dorm room because of the additional length.
Types of Beds
A captain’s bed is a variation of the platform bed. The mattress is placed on top of a set of drawers, converting the unused area beneath the bed into a much-needed storage solution. This type of bed generally doesn’t require a box spring, making it an economical choice.
Trends in bunks are constantly changing; they aren’t limited anymore to two twin beds, one above the other. They come in a variety of configurations, including twin over full and futon bunk beds. A variation on the classic bunk bed, the loft bed is just the top bunk with plenty of space for a desk, activity table or even a twin bed and dresser. Configurations for loft beds can be as inventive as your imagination (or whatever space limitations will allow).
The four poster bed is a popular choice, especially for a girl’s room. They are typically made of wood, but can also be made of metal or a combination of wood and metal. They have a dramatic presence, depending on how high the posts are.
A canopy bed is a four poster with a covering. A canopy frame can be added to any four poster bed that has posts of equal height. Canopies are made from a variety of fabrics and can include a frill or tailored border.
A style largely associated with the Victorian era, sleigh beds are a timeless alternative when decorating a child’s bedroom. The soft flowing lines create a romantic feel. They come in a range of styles, including traditional. For a contemporary look, select one in a solid bold color.
A trundle bed can be a second bed that pulls out from underneath a twin bed much like a large drawer. Great for sleepovers, it can be a handy space-saver that is more convenient than other alternatives. Another variation is the trundle on casters that also pulls out from underneath a bed. A pop-up trundle consists of a folding frame and can be stored under the bed as well.
Style is Important
It has to look good. Since a child’s room is used for more than just sleeping, it should also be an inviting place they can share with friends. The style of furniture you and your child select will mostly depend upon age, gender and interests. Keep it simple without being boring and you will have bedroom that will have a practical and lasting appeal.
Traditional children’s bedroom furniture is distinctively ornate, with lots of decorative details. Inspired by historical periods and their social customs, a typical nightstand might have scalloped edges, turned legs and classic bail hardware.
At first glance, transitional style children’s furniture can resemble traditional. However, with transitional style, ornamentation has been pared down while elements that are more contemporary have been added. Versatile and eclectic, it adapts easily with a wide range of décors.
Country furniture is typically made of wood and a combination of wood and metal. It has a warm and homey feel that can make a child’s room instantly inviting. Country furniture includes many appealingly whimsical decorative details like stenciling, embossing, and wainscoting, also known as beadboard.
Contemporary children’s furniture is known for its simplicity of line. Characterized by clean, uncomplicated forms, this style is inviting, warm and comfortable while being unpretentious. A contemporary children’s computer desk might combine unique shapes with metal accents and bold colors.
Typical Materials Children’s Furniture is Made Of
Wood made from recycled materials, using heat and pressure to bond the wood fibers together, are called engineered woods. MDF is one of the most common types of engineered wood and is a popular material for children’s furniture because it is strong and durable. Since it is made from recycled wood products, furniture made of MDF is just as durable as furniture constructed of genuine wood, but is less expensive.
Wood veneers are thin slices of genuine wood, such as mahogany or oak, that have been glued to the surface of the piece of furniture, usually made of an engineered wood. A poster bed or toy chest, to which the veneer has been applied, has the texture and appearance of genuine woods, while making it more affordable.
Genuine wood children’s bedroom furniture is made from timber. Timber is the wood of hardwood or softwood trees cut and prepared for commercial use. "Hardwood" and "softwood" do not refer to the actual strength the wood, but rather to whether or not the tree is deciduous (sheds its leaves) or coniferous (doesn’t shed its leaves/needles). It is considered to be the most durable, but does require extra care and maintenance since it can be scratched more easily than furniture made of engineered woods.
Metals are a popular material for children’s beds because they are strong and easy to care for. They are made from ores that are mined from the earth and fall into three general categories: ferrous metals (consisting mostly or iron), non-ferrous metals (have no iron in them) and alloys (a combination of two or more ores and/or elements). Most children’s furniture, like a metal bed, is made from alloys.
Other Types of Kids Furniture
A nightstand is a handy piece of furniture to have in a child’s bedroom. Usually chosen to match the bed and placed by it, the nightstand is a great place to put a lamp, a favorite treasure or a clock. Because space is usually at a premium, choose one that has multiple drawers or a combination of drawers and open shelving.
Dressers come in a wide range of types and styles. A single dresser generally has one column of drawers while a double dresser has two. A door dresser has a combination of drawers and a cabinet area behind the door. Depending on the manufacturer, a dresser can have any number of drawers of the same or varying sizes. Before making a final selection, consider the following: what the dresser will be mostly used for (clothes, accessories, etc), available floor space and if it will blend with the existing décor.
When they’re younger, they’ll need someplace to draw and color; when they’re older, a place to write or do homework. Desks for children come in a variety of styles and colors with a number of different features and/or configurations. A writing desk or activity table would be an ideal choice for younger children while a computer desk or a workstation would be a multi-functional choice for older aged students.
Even if they don’t seem to read as much as you would like them too, bookcases are a great addition to a child’s room. Not only are they designed to house books, but they are an ideal way to help create a clutter-free environment by giving your child someplace to display or store their trophies, collectibles and other precious belongings.
A changing table is designed to safely hold your baby while you change them. On average, a parent will change a young tot anywhere from 10 to 15 times a day for roughly a year and a half, so it’s good to have a place where you can do that comfortably, while having everything you need close at hand. A changing table can be configured any number of ways: a table top and drawers, a table top with drawers and shelves, a table top and cubbies. Some changing table models have removable tops, allowing you to use it for a dresser or storage cabinet when your baby no longer needs it.
It might seem like a battle you will never win, but when planning a child’s room don’t forget to include storage bins or an easy-to-use closet organizer. A storage bench gives you the best of both worlds; bins for storing away toys and other items, as well as a place to sit when putting on shoes or when curled up with a book. They can come in a variety of themes and colors.