A bedroom that your child will not grow up in

If it seems too early for your baby to be out of the cozy little nursery you spent so much decorating before she was born, just wait—then, you’ll graduate from a toddler bed to a twin bed, teddy bears to Taylor Swift, and rearrange the room itself.

To avoid spending a lot of money on furniture that your child will inevitably outgrow, consider this advice from interior designers with their children.

Start with a simple coincidence “It’s important to use a neutral paint color or wallpaper pattern in simple colors that they can really grow up with,” said Keri Rosenthal, founder of KR Interiors in Westport, Connecticut. She painted her teenage daughter’s room bright white to serve as a “blank canvas” to evolve her tastes.

“My daughter is very creative, and she has had a lot of fun swapping out different panels of mine on the wall and changing the pillows from time to time,” said Ms. Rosenthal, who owns a home accessories line called XOKR. “Having white walls, a white bed, and a neutral rug was a great way to express her creativity.”

Rosenthal said that when she uses wallpaper in a child’s room, she applies it sparingly and chooses subtle patterns. Last year, for example, she chose a silver raindrop design by Sissy & Marley to create an accent wall that was “fun without being over the top” for a kid’s bedroom in Westport. Putting wallpaper on just one wall, she said, “is a good hack for kids’ rooms, because if they ever decide they don’t like it, you don’t have to take the whole room apart.”

Instead of wallpaper, Liz Lipkin, designer with Homepolish, sometimes chooses removable decals, like the Love Mae stocks she recently used at a nursery in Brooklyn. “It’s an inexpensive, low-commitment alternative and can easily transform a space,” she said. “When the room and its occupants are ready for freshness, the labels peel off immediately, making way for new décor.”

Apply foundation pieces Avoid themed furnishings such as treehouse lofts and child-sized furniture such as mini desks that young children will quickly outgrow. “We try not to buy furniture and art that has an expiration date,” said Alison Abney, who founded Abney & Morton Interiors in Charleston, South Carolina, with Boo Morton. “We think it’s best to invest in furniture and artwork that kids can use throughout childhood, even in their first apartment.”

Instead of spending on a changing table, for example, Ms. Abney and Ms. Morton recommend buying a classic dresser that can be used in any bedroom, and placing a changing pad on top of it. For a 165-square-foot nursery for twins, for example, choose Fiona’s six-drawer chest of drawers from Redford House ($2234). “Napps and wipes fit right in the drawers below,” Morton said.

As for art, she continued, “Abstract paintings, framed plants, and large-scale nature photography all work well in a child’s room. It doesn’t have to be all the ABCs and zoo animals.”

In the nursery for the twins, she and Mrs. Abney hung the pieces side by side made by Alex Mason. She said, “The ‘ribbon and eucalyptus’ pieces are textured enough to display in a children’s room, but also have a timeless quality that allows kids to use the paintings in any room as they age.”

Save on accessories When you’re decorating for kids, don’t forget how cluttered this mess can be, advises Donna Mundy, an interior designer in Chicago: “Keep rugs, bedding, lamps, and accessories within easy reach, so you don’t have to fear the first nail polish spill.”

As time goes by, and children’s interests change, they will want to customize their rooms to incorporate their favorite things. “My rule is to do it in a way that is neither permanent nor expensive,” said Ms. Mundy.

In her son’s room, for example, she created a feature wall using millwork pieces arranged in a geometric grid, and painted it in earthy tones. “This background has been going on for years,” she said. The changes came with items that were suspended within the grid. It started with colorful skateboard decks and later turned to guitars and Jimi Hendrix artwork. This was easily adaptable to the guest room once he was in college.”

Shop again You can find deals on vintage and vintage furniture, as well as gently used nursery gadgets, at sites like Chairish, Craigslist, and eBay. But be sure to do your research before shopping for used baby items, and check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website for recalls and other safety updates. Most cribs manufactured before June 2011 may not be resold.

Reuse and repurpose To add color and texture to her son’s bedroom, Homepolish designer Tally Roth reused a $600 floral Persian rug she bought on eBay three years ago for her living room. “You don’t notice spots and marks, which are perfect at the moment,” she said. “I chose to allocate the money elsewhere.”

Instead of a traditional nursing glider, she bought two vintage chairs online ($350 each) and re-upholstered them in light blue velvet (about $2,500) for her 2-year-old son’s room. “These chairs are forever in my mind,” she said. “Even if my son gets tired of them, I know they’re comfortable, beautiful and can be used in any space in any home in the future.”

For a double bed, if you have the space, some designers recommend skipping it entirely and opting for a full or queen bed instead.

Made a statement on the ceiling For a 13-year-old who wanted a “more mature bedroom,” Des Moines-based designer Amanda Renal painted the walls at Benjamin Moore’s Bunker Hill Green, laid blue rug on the floor and covered the ceiling with a stunning Schumacher zebra palm design.

“Palm wallpapers are a classic and have been used in a variety of interiors for decades,” she said, noting that green palm wallpaper on the ceiling “adds an organic element to the space” without feeling eventful.

As for the artwork, she said, “He loves skateboarding, so we hung his painted skateboards on the wall.” And for the furniture, she chose a queen-size rattan bed from Serena and Lily and a two-tone chest of drawers he “could use for years to come.”

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