What you need to know
You're going to need different furniture as your child grows. This guide is broken down by age group to help you choose the right children's furniture for every stage of childhood.
Once your child is at least 35 inches tall or strong enough to climb out of his crib, he is ready for toddler furniture. Beds made especially for kids aged 18 to 24 months help them know they aren't babies anymore. Toddler beds are just the right size for your little one to get in and out of without any help, fostering a feeling of independence. Toddler beds are low to the ground like a twin bed but hold a crib mattress. This is an economical choice because you can use the same crib mattress and baby bedding as you did when your child was younger. This also makes your child's adjustment to a "big kid bed" easier. Some toddler beds also have small side rails to prevent your toddler from rolling out of bed.
Once your toddler starts walking around, he may feel like everything is adult-sized. Give him a place to play that is just his size with kid's tables and kid's chairs. Kid's tables are great places to make crafts, play games and eat snacks. You'll find that most children's furniture requires very little maintenance: Unlike your other tables, a kid's table is made to withstand the rigors of play time, so bring on the finger paint. A regular wipe-down with a non-toxic household cleaner should be all you need to maintain your kids' furniture.
Pre-school through grade school ages
As your children grow, you'll see their tastes start to emerge. Let their imaginations run wild with furniture for kids that reflect their newly developing sense of style. Give your children the opportunity to have some input on what furniture they'll have in the bedroom. More choices are available now than ever, so there's sure to be something you'll both like.
Encourage reading with bookshelves sized for your child's height and a kid's rocking chair to sit in while she reads her books. A kid's bean bag chair has all the comfort of a grown-up chair, but it's small enough to give your child a perfect place to unwind and maybe even take a nap. A kid's chair that's meant for outdoor use invites your child to sit with you on the deck or patio. Many children's chairs are available in styles to coordinate with your other furniture, while other kids' tables and kids' chairs are available in fun themes to match your child's burgeoning tastes. A kid's table decorated with sports themes, princesses, racecars or trains can spark the imaginations of your little ones.
Kids' twin beds are just the right place for children to dream. They come in the perfect size for little ones and are available in many fun styles. Some kid's twin beds even incorporate storage underneath. Styles range from classics, like canopy beds and sleigh beds, to modern, whimsical theme beds. Choose a kid's twin bed to reflect your child's developing tastes.
Are you a little short on space? A trundle bed features a second mattress (usually twin-size) that slides under the main mattress. This type of bed gives you the option of a second sleeping space that you can tuck away when not in use. Trundle beds are great for sleepovers.
Memories are made when siblings share a bunk bed; as an added bonus, you'll have room for all the other furniture they need. Check to make sure that the bunk bed has safety features such as guard rails and a sturdy ladder, and only let children age seven and older use the upper bunk.
Another great space saver is a loft bunk bed: a bunk bed with a kid's desk, futon or shelves on the first level and only a bed on the second level. Whichever bed you choose, make sure to measure the spot where you plan to put it before you make a purchase.
You'll want to make sure you have plenty of kids' storage in your child's room or any room where he plays with his toys. Children's bookshelves don't have to be used just for books: Toys, dolls, games, stuffed animals, trophies and art projects can all be stored and displayed on bookshelves. Baskets or bins that can be kept on bookshelves or in closets can be used for added kids' storage. Coat racks will not only keep coats and jackets handy, but they can also keep a backpack full of homework ready for school. Toy bins along walls or at the foot of a child's bed are another good solution for making clean up time a breeze. Dressers are meant to hold clothes, but putting aside a drawer for even more toys can help when you have an out of control playroom. Encourage a lifetime of organization by creating children's storage your kids can use on their own.
"Tweens" and teens need bedroom furniture that reflects their older age, but that doesn't mean they need adult furniture yet. Your teenage child may be ready to upgrade her kid's twin bed to a full-size bed. If the styles seem like too drastic of a departure from kids' twin beds, adding brightly colored bedding will help maintain a youthful look. Like kids' twin beds, full-size beds come in many styles: canopy, sleigh and poster, to name a few. Check out Warehousedirectllc.com's wide selection of styles with your child before making a decision.
By this age, your children will be spending more time on schoolwork than they ever have before. Give them a homework zone with a kid's desk. Choose a computer desk if she'll have her own desktop computer. If she'll just be using a laptop or pen and paper, any kid's desk that appeals to you both will work. Coordinate the color, style or material to the bed for a cohesive look, but don't feel too restrained; a kids' room should be more about fun than matching. For creative kids, a kid's desk may also be a place for arts and crafts projects, so if your child is artistically inclined, choose a kid's desk that can be cleaned easily and that stores a lot of supplies. Don't forget good task lighting for your child's desk, as well.
Common kids' furniture questions
I'm worried that my preschool-aged child might not deal well with the transition to big kids' furniture. Is there anything I can do to make the changeover easier?
It's common for a younger child to struggle with big changes, but there's a lot that you can do to smooth a transition in their living space. For kids still getting used to being out of the crib, installing safety rails on their new twin bed can provide a sense of security. Remember to keep the color scheme of your child's room bright and fun; decorations incorporating characters from movies they've loved since infancy are always a sure bet.
No matter how many bins and baskets I buy, my kid's room continues to be a jumbled mess. What can I do?
One possible solution to fix an irredeemably messy room is to put photos on each bin corresponding to what item is supposed to be in it (e.g., a picture of one of your child's completed projects for the building blocks bin). This is particularly effective for visual learners and kids who are still developing verbal skills. Other solutions run the disciplinary gamut from rewarding good clean-up with a treat to revoking access to toys if they're not properly put away.
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Celebrate good times
There will be lots of milestones in your child's life, everything from birthdays to starting high school. Celebrate these big events by surprising them with an updated and redecorated room. This is a great way to acknowledge your children's achievements and to let them know they've taken another important step towards adulthood. It's also an excellent opportunity to make the switch from a kids' twin bed to a full-size bed.
As kids get older, they'll inevitably put aside their toys and move on to more grown-up forms of entertainment. Music and movies are usually the logical next step in a child's entertainment options, and as a parent, you can keep a closer eye on which titles are filling those choices by providing teenagers with a new kids' entertainment center. Better still, make room on those shelves for some books; if your "tween" or teen is exposed to a great piece of age-appropriate literature, it may just foster a life-long love affair with the written word.
Jessie & Adam