Kids Buying Guide
Buying Furniture for Your Child’s Room
A child's bedroom is more than just decorative. First and foremost, a child’s bedroom should also provide a safe environment to play and explore. It is also important to remember to select furniture that will grow with your child.
Here are some suggestions to help you plan the perfect backdrop that will encourage your child’s growth and imagination:
In the world of children's furniture afety is always the top priority. Fortunately, most manufactures actually 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 still some other considerations to keep in mind when purchasing furniture for your child’s room.
Have a Plan
Because children’s furnishings come in such a wide range of designs, styles, colors and materials, the number of choices might initially seem overwhelming. By making a few preliminary decisions, you can make the process a little easier.
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 between 18 and 24 months old. There are many different types of cribs to choose from, including convertible cribs that can be changed 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 kids bed for a kid's bedroom. 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 kids 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 as well.
Trends in kids 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 kids four poster bed is a popular choice, especially for a girl’s bedroom. 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 kids 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, kids 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 kids trundle bed is 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. A pop-up trundle consists of a folding frame and can be stored under the bed as well.
Style is Important
Remember that it always has to look good! Since a child’s room is used for more than just sleeping, it should also be an inviting place that 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 contemporary elements have been added. Versatile and eclectic, it adapts easily with a wide range of décor styles.
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 without being pretentious. A contemporary kids computer desk might combine unique shapes with metal accents and bold colors.
No matter what style you choose, a kids bedroom set is an easy way to get a matching look.
Typical Children’s Furniture Materials
Engineered wood is made from parts of real wood that have been bound together using heat and pressure. MDF is one of the most common types of engineered wood substrates. It is a popular material for children’s furniture because of it's strength and durability. Furniture made of MDF is just as durable as furniture constructed of genuine wood, but is less expensive. Sometimes engineered wood is made from recycled wood products which makes it eco-friendly.
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.
Metal is a popular material for children’s beds because it is strong and easy to care for. Metal can be used to create shapes that wood cannot like scrollwork and arches.
Other Types of Kids Furniture
A kids nightstand is a handy piece of furniture to have in a child’s bedroom. Usually chosen to match the bed, 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.
Kids dressers are available 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 suitable for older students.
Even if they don’t seem to read as much as you would like them too, kids 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 baby 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 kid’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.