Are you struggling to decorate a small room for your kids? Here are some ingenious decorating small room ideas tailored specifically for tiny nursery spaces.

Let’s face it, finding the perfect balance between functionality and style can feel like an uphill battle. But hopefully you’ll find these ideas on interior design for children’s rooms useful, and that they will transform even the most compact spaces into magical havens for your little bundles of joy.

Decorating small room ideas for a tiny nursery - Blog Post Pinterest Graphics

How do you decorate a small room that’s always full of toys and clutter?

Let’s go straight into the nitty-gritty of tackling one of the most common challenges parents face: decorating a small room that’s perpetually overrun by toys and clutter.

There are a lot of challenges that come with creating a functional and stylish nursery space for your little ones. Sometimes, you don’t even want it to look “stylish”; you just want it organized and nice enough to not stress you out whenever you enter the nursery.

Know that there are a lot of practical solutions and inspiring ideas you can use to transform this small room into a magical haven for your kids. 

Before pic - small nursery room

Take a look at my first kid’s incredibly tiny nursery when she was still a toddler. 

The room is only about 7.5 square meters (about 78 sq.ft.) in total floor area. People in condo units would relate to how small this room is, as most condominium units these days have very tight and narrow spaces for rooms.

Apart from the small size of this room, all that visual clutter stressed me out somewhat (not helpful for someone dealing with post-partum blues). 

I also found that all that mess was a bit overstimulating for a one-year-old, which didn’t help when it came time to give her a much-needed nap. So I was desperate to revamp the tiny room, make it less claustrophobic and more organized, all while keeping under a budget.

Here are some of the problems we encountered in decorating this very small room.

Small kids' room dilemma #1: Very little floor space

We were fortunate enough to have had a bigger bedroom where we kept a lot of the other kid stuff (like sterilizer, baby bags, strollers, booster seats) that normally take up room. So this nursery room was mainly used for playing, napping, reading, and dressing up.

That said, having a room that spanned only 2.5m x 2.9m on each side was simply not enough for ALL of the toys and books that she received—from grandparents, aunts, and uncles, family friends, and other relatives.

So in just one year, the tiny room was filled to the brim with clutter, and most of them took up the floor space. We needed a bed for her to nap in, plus space for her to play in, to crawl around on, but almost every square inch of the room had something on it. 

Small kids' room dilemma #2: Visual clutter from all the toys and books

Because of the previous problem, I initially had no idea what kinds of storage pieces I needed to buy to stow away all of that visual clutter.

Kids’ belongings are normally in bright, crazy colors, and all of that color and attention-grabbing packaging only contributes to a very messy and disorganized visual. So while it was also play space for our baby, the nursery also needed to be a calming, napping space, and it hardly had the look and feel of something relaxing because of all that visual clutter. 

Small kids' room dilemma #3: Safety concerns in furnishing this tiny room

While I’m not completely into child-proofing (I don’t mind a few bumps and scrapes, to be honest, as I know those things teach children to be more careful or be aware of where they’re walking, etc.), of course I didn’t want my kid’s room to be totally unsafe for her to be left in.

Granted she was never left unattended, but we also didn’t want her to get into accidents if and when we needed to turn our backs, like getting stuff from the next room or while packing up. 

Small kids' room dilemma #4: Very little budget for decorating a nursery

This was a big one for us, as I had just left my corporate job and became a freelancer around the time that our first kid was in her toddler years.

Whenever we looked at kids’ room furniture, it was often so expensive and unrealistic for our just-enough household budget. So I had to be creative about where to get pieces that fit exactly our needs and didn’t stretch our wallets too much.

Making use of interior design elements to visually enlarge a small room for kids

In the world of interior design, even the smallest of spaces can be transformed into inviting and visually appealing environments for children.

By strategically incorporating design elements and principles, such as pattern, color, and texture, you can effectively enlarge the perception of space and create a comfortable haven for your little ones to play and grow.

So, let’s explore how these design techniques can work harmoniously to elevate your child’s space into a delightful oasis of creativity and comfort.

Using a vertical pattern to visually stretch the walls upward

Before pic - small nursery room

Let’s take a look again at our problematic small nursery above. The ceiling is actually at a standard height of 2.40meters, but the drop ceiling style and a lower ceiling fan with light actually made the room visually feel lower and more claustrophobic. And this, despite the light, beige (but blah) walls!

Because I wanted to give it a feeling of bigger space, I decided to use an interior design technique that helped make the ceiling feel visually higher than it actually is.

Ceiling height enhancing wallpaper for children's room 4

I picked out this wallpaper that had a vertically patterned leaf print, which actually made the walls visually stretch upwards. This immediately gave a feeling of height and vertical expanse. 

Some interior designers make use of a horizontally patterned wall treatment to help make a room look visually wider or longer. Both techniques work as the patterns suggest a way for the eye to move—whether upward or sideward—which creates the illusion of more space in the direction that your eye moves.

Using a light or neutral base color for most of the major pieces in the room

In the previous iteration of this nursery, we had dark wood furniture and a lot of mismatched color, thanks to the toys and books.

interior design ideas for children's room 2

To keep all of that visual noise down to a minimum, I went with white or light neutral colored furniture pieces that would “fade into the background” of a child’s multi-colored belongings.

We also switched out all the heavy wooden pieces with a medium- to lighter-toned wood. Lightening up the palette also helps create a brighter, airier look for this small room. 

Adding enough visual interest using texture—but still in the lighter palette

The downside of lighter color palettes or making use of tonal varieties of white is that things tend to look monotonous and boring. 

Hand me down furniture in white for small room for kids 6

To counter this, we added lots of texture. Whether it was through basket-type drawers or containers, lace curtains, fleece blankets, and area rugs, texture helps to create a warm and cozy look and feel to any small space. 

Decorating a small room with dual- or multi-functional furniture pieces

When living in small spaces like condos or tiny homes, opt for furniture that always doubles as storage. Some common examples include ottomans with hidden compartments or beds with built-in drawers. These multi-functional pieces save space while keeping your belongings neatly stowed away.

Using neutral colors with muted color accents in small room for kids 1

For our kid’s room, we sourced these inexpensive drawers that had pullout boxes, which served as toy bins she could bring with her from room to room. Whenever she was done with them, she could easily pile the toys up in the box, then we’d help her put them back neatly into the drawer unit.

interior design ideas for children's room 1

One furniture piece we did use when our second kid was born was seating with hidden storage. It obviously served a seating capacity most times, and at the end of the day, most clutter can be stowed away inside the lift-up seat. It definitely helped keep clutter at bay.

Another thing I would have changed in the nursery room above would be to use a bunk bed with storage drawers at the bottom. Because we wanted to follow a sort-of Montessori-style organization in the nursery, we wanted all storage pieces to be near the floor. This way the kids would be able to clean up their mess more easily with everything at their tiny arms’ reach.

Using your children’s belongings as decorating tools

Thanks to our light and muted color palette, we were able to make use of a few colorful items as a decorating small room idea.

All the other brighter, multicolored pieces were kept hidden in storage. We picked out toys and small items that went well with our soft sage and blush color palette mixed with light and med-toned wood elements. 

The great thing about this is that it instantly adds personality and identity to the space. Because we’re decorating with our kid’s stuff, she was able to quickly identify the room as her own personal space. 

Decorating a small room under a limited budget

We were definitely very conscious about furnishing this very small room, because we knew how quickly our kid would outgrow the space.

Thankfully we had friends and family who had kids before we did, and they allowed us to look through their stuff first for hand-me-down items.

Ceiling height enhancing wallpaper for children's room 4

The junior bed with the rounded, tubular steel edges was a safer and lighter alternative to the cherry-wood toddler bed we previously had in this tiny room. This was a hand-me-down from my husband’s older niece, who had since graduated into a regular-sized twin bed. 

The lace curtains were also “sourced” from my mother’s linen closet, and the white scallop-edged basket drawers were a thrift store find. 

Being very strategic about our purchases for decorating this small room for kids helped us stay within our budget. When it came time for our kid to move on to bigger furniture pieces, it wasn’t so hard for us to let go of these “investments.”

Decorating a small room ideas for a tiny nursery

In conclusion, decorating a small room for your kids doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. With the right combination of creativity, practical solutions, and a touch of ingenuity, you can transform even the tiniest of spaces into magical havens for your little ones to thrive in.

Ready to bring your vision to life? Click below to explore our eDesign services and let us help you create the perfect space for your child’s imagination to soar.

All photos by Toto Labrador.