How to create a gender neutral kids room to take them from toddler to teen

A neutral palette and smart furniture choices make this gender neutral child’s bedroom work from toddler to teen

Preparing a bedroom that can take your child through any age needn’t be a daunting task. By choosing a neutral colour palette and picking a theme that won’t date, you’ll have a room that transitions smoothly through the years.

Baby to Toddler:

Playful features and calming tones create a space both baby and parents can enjoy.

Base colour: Choosing a neutral base, such as white or beige, doesn’t equate to a colourless space. In fact, a neutral starting point means soft furnishings will be your main colour source, thus allowing for easy changes as your child grows. Here we’ve used a warm white, Resene Half Merino. Resene Rice Cake and Resene White Pointer are also lovely neutral hues worth considering.

Toddler to tween: 

It’s the age of imagination and discovery, so include plenty of storage for toys and space to spread out and play.

Starting point: Create a cohesive look by working around a central theme for your child’s room.For our four room settings, we’ve used a contemporary, gender-neutral take on rainbows or arches. Starting with the rainbow rug, we’ve taken its earthy colour palette with accents of light blue and used it throughout each room. Arch motifs hang on the walls and curved decor items are repeated around the space. ‘Ocean and beach’ (soft blues and dark navy) or ‘nature and plants’ (sage and forest greens paired with soft neutrals) are other gender-neutral options to theme a child’s bedroom around.

Tween to teen:

The middle of the school years is the ideal time to add a desk and chair to the bedroom.

Buy to last: When buying furniture for a room, take the time to research and spend wisely on quality pieces that will last. The main item of furniture in a bedroom, the bed, is bound to change over the years. However, in the crossover periods (toddler to tween, and tween to teen) when the same bed is being used, you can alter its look by adding, removing or changing a headboard.
Bedside tables, drawers and tallboys are good pieces to invest in, as plentiful storage is needed at every stage. Other items to consider are a comfy occasional chair and a bench or desk. Here we’ve opted for a rattan tallboy, to make the most of vertical space, and matching rattan bedside tables.

Teen to adult:

Transitioning into adulthood calls for a sophisticated bedroom that matches this new level of maturity.

Personal touches: Without leaning too much one way or the other, these rooms highlight how a simple, neutral colour palette can be enjoyed by both boys and girls. Simply swap out wall art and bedding as your child’s tastes change. Soft furnishings that kids will grow out of can be easily replaced with a more age-appropriate version – for example, we swapped the rainbow rug for the jute rug. Bedding also gets a refresh every couple of years; update the look as your child grows with new throws and duvets in more sophisticated colours. For instance, a terracotta duvet with beige and blue accents for the teen to adult years is the perfect transition from peach and periwinkle.

Styling by: Vanessa Nouwens. Photography by: Wendy Fenwick

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