Choosing children's wallpaper that is right for their age
The world of kids' wallpapers is huge and colourful, but unlike with toys, there are no age recommendations that would help parents decide which types to choose. However, it makes perfect sense to choose wallpapers for kids' rooms based on patterns, colours, structures, cleaning characteristics and the development levels of the child. After all, one of the most important aspects is: Children's rooms should grow with them.
In addition, wallpapers in children's rooms tend to be changed fairly frequently as the kids go through different development stages and interests. Of course there is no need to put up a new wallpaper every year. As a general rule, there are approximately 4 changes of wallpaper from birth to puberty. But it isn't always necessary to re-wallpaper all four walls. The fabulous choice of pattern and design wallpapers for children available in our Wallpaper Shop can be used for just one feature wall, or to define different areas of the room (sleep, study, play, etc.).
Our new Guide Blog focuses on various stages of development and how parents can base their choice of wallpaper for the kids bedroom on them. To begin, we would like to point out general aspects which are always valid for wall décor in children's rooms.
Children's Rooms - multiple-use spaces
Whilst adults often have different rooms for specific activities (e.g. living room, bedroom, hobby room), children's rooms will have to meet a variety of requirements, depending on the child's age. A child's room is used for sleeping, relaxing, playing, learning, studying, as a space that friends will visit and as a general refuge. For parents, this often poses the question how to create designated areas in children's bedrooms. We have a few tips for you to make it easier:
- Play corners can be decked out with brightly coloured, "busy" pattern and motif wallpapers. If possible, the view from the bed shouldn't be of the play corner, as the child will find it harder to fall asleep.
- Interesting patterned wallpapers can also be placed at the head of the bed. Pastel or dark/warm wallpaper colours, delicate patterns or wallpapers in just one hue are a better choice for the relaxation areas, whilst bright, stimulating colours and patterns are a good backdrop for play and study areas.
- As children go from kindergarten age to school age, they will discover new interests, and their preferences in terms of colours, motifs, patterns and designs change. To avoid having to newly design the entire room each time, a feature wall with a beautiful pattern or motif wallpaper can be a great solution, especially as it is easier to change it again and again.
- It is of course an option to use patterned wallpaper on all four walls, especially if it is a geometric or floral pattern in light shades or pleasantly contrasting colours. Star wallpapers, polka dot wallpapers or striped wallpapers are all perfectly suitable, too. Stripey patterns and polka dots can be combined with each other or with a pattern motif of the child's preference.
The most important rule: The design of children's rooms should never be overwhelming.
Toddlers love exploring the entire home (including its inhabitants!). For the first few years of their lives, they frequently crawl around the whole house and don't spend much time in their rooms, preferring to be with their siblings and parents. Once they reach kindergarten age, this often changes and they tend to want to enjoy their own little realm a bit more.
If that isn't the case, it might be down to these two reasons: They think of their room as boring, or they are overwhelmed by colours, patterns, motifs and furniture in their room and don't feel comfortable as a result. This phenomenon is known as overstimulation. When children play, they tend to concentrate very hard, and a less than calming environment can be detrimental.
Here are some general rules that will help provide your child with a positive environment:
- Use light colours and delicate patterns in small rooms; they will open up the room.
- Do choose colourful wallpapers, but avoid garishness; warm hues should be given preference, cool colours are good for relaxation areas.
- Include elements the child has created in the wall décor, e.g. paintings or drawings, or a collection of treasures like stones or fossils. For artists in the making, wallpapers that can be painted on (like our model Tinta Lousa Wallpaper) are the perfect solution.
- If you have chosen a "loud" pattern or motif wallpaper, the furniture should be simple.
- There are countless clever storage systems that will make it easier to keep the room tidy.
The different developmental stages of children
The various different developmental stages of a child, which are connected to his or her age, determine perception and interests. This can be a very useful pointer when it comes to choosing wallpaper for children's bedrooms.
Infants or Babies - the first year of life
Many parents-to-be lovingly furnish the nursery even before the child is born. When selecting a suitable wallpaper, they often go for classic models in pastel colours and with funny animal patterns or fairytale motifs. But what is a baby able to perceive or see?
When babies are born, their eyesight is limited to about 20 - 30 cms; they mainly focus on their parents' face. The child will mainly see light-dark contrasts. After a while, other faces slowly become more interesting. Babies learn from watching faces and imitating facial expressions. At about one to two months, they start focussing on objects and movements. Primary colours like red, yellow, blue are most likely to attract their attention. They are not yet able to distinguish between different grades of colour.
But with every month, their vision improves. Soon, the child will be able to see an object from a distance and stretch its arms out to touch it. The eyes adapt more and more to the environment, and their room becomes an area of visual exploration. By the time a child reaches their first birthday, their sight has developed to approximately 50%.
Knowing about these developmental parameters helps when it comes to choosing the right wall décor for the baby's room. Friendly, happy and light colours create a warm atmosphere of well-being - but it doesn't always have to be the classic pink and blue! And don't limit your choices to pastel hues, as we have just learnt that babies predominantly see primary colours. A feature wall with, for instance, a yellow pattern/motif wallpaper depicting friendly animal faces can be perfect for your baby's room. A pattern wall with a medley of animal figures, flowers, and trees in primary colours (for instance our model Pepko) attracts the gaze of the baby as it gradually discovers more details. Pretty star or cloud wallpapers with larger-scale patterns also have a very pleasing, calming effect.
Toddlers - children between the ages of 1 and 3
During the first 12 months of their lives, children develop in many small steps. From the age of one, they are considered toddlers - and their development comes on in leaps and bounds. For example, their vision improves very swiftly. This includes increased three-dimensional sight, acuity and colour vision, which means that the child is better able to differentiate between colours. The field of peripheral vision is still limited by up to 30%. Full visual acuity is only reached by the age of about 10 or 12.
Toddlers are learning to walk and talk and almost over night turn into cute masters of imitation. Nothing is safe from them and they explore the world around them with hands, feet, mouth and voice. During those extremely active years, it is important to make sure the child has sufficient breaks and naps - and where better to spend them than in their own cosy bedroom. Motif wallpapers can be the ideal backdrop to both playing fun as well as relaxation. Find the perfect examples in our range, e.g. Loddi, Before a Rainbow, Flamingo Oasis or Croaking Roommate.
Repetitive movements improve fine motor skills, the child gets better at opening and closing things, it understands how objects and actions are connected and continues its journey of discovery. From the age of two, many children become fascinated with building things, for instance towers made of wooden bricks. Children start talking in sort sentences and their vocabulary is between 50 and 150 words. They are getting their first taste of independence and develop preferences in terms of colours and shapes. This also means that children can have a say in the choice of wallpaper for their room.
Role play becomes more important, and interesting play landscapes on the walls can inspire the imagination. Children can find their favourite characters in the wallpaper, make them their "playmates" and immerse themselves in new, fascinating fantasy worlds. You can find some fabulous play wallpapers in our Wallpaper Shop, for instance Bambu, Enake, My favorite Animals or Emma.
Kindergarten days - children between the ages of 3 and 6
Between the ages of 3 and 6, many children spend part of their day at kindergarten or playschool facilities. Here, their knowledge of the world is improved and strengthened and they pick up important social skills. Children meet with their peers and learn about order, hierarchies, and the rules of human interaction. Every day is filled with a plethora of new impressions.
And the child's own room has much greater importance now. At this age, children will spend more time in their bedrooms to play and to reflect on the day's events. They take more interest in their immediate surroundings and have their own ideas with regards to colours and motifs of the wall décor in their bedrooms. This is also the age when boys and girls tend to begin to have different design preferences. Many girls of kindergarten age love princesses, animals like cats, dogs, horses, but also fantasy creatures like unicorns or fairytale landscapes with castles. But zoo animals and pirate islands are also top of the list. Boys often lean towards cars, airplanes and ships. Circus or wild animal scenes are also popular.
In terms of colour, both genders are of course free to take their pick (i.e. not just limit themselves to the traditional light blue and pink). Having said that, there still seems to be a tendency for girls of kindergarten age to choose hues of pink or lilac. Boys often prefer stronger colours like red and orange or cool hues of blue and grey.
At this age, children have a fairly good idea as to how their room should look. Nevertheless, parents should take factors like size and layout of the room and the planned use(s) into consideration when it comes to the patterns and colours of their children's bedroom wallpaper. These are concepts beyond a small child's understanding. During this phase, kids' bedrooms are the place where they play as well as sleep, and this should be considered when planning the appropriate wall treatment.
From the age of 5 - 6: School age
At the age of five or six, an exciting new chapter begins for children: they start school! And with it come much stricter rules, new experiences in terms of social interactions, and new power struggles. During the following years, a certain sense of competition takes over, along with the pressure to perform and changing relationships with friends and acquaintances. Personalties are shaped, self-confidence and the belief in themselves grow.
A child's bedroom now has a number of purposes: It becomes a space where the child sleeps, studies, retreats to, as well as a place for friends to visit. The requirements for children's rooms change as they acquire a more representative character. It simply needs to be the greatest and coolest room, as the child wants to "show it off".
In terms of wallpaper décor, there might be lengthy discussions between parents and children now, as ideas with regards to colours and motifs might differ considerably. After all, various areas of the room all need to be decorated in a manner that will be coherent. There is only one solution to this dilemma: compromise, compromise, compromise! Parents should be careful not to lecture their children but explain in simple terms why specific decisions need to be made. One of the possible compromises is a feature wall with the child's favourite pattern or colour wallpaper, whilst the rest of the room is kept in matching hues.
Wallpapers for children of school age often feature favourite characters, activities, and animals, but the depiction is now less childish and more realistic or quirky. Geometric shapes and strong colour combinations or abstract patterns are also popular. In addition, many children like typographic wallpapers with letters or numbers in a trendy design. Design pattern wallpapers recommended for the bedrooms of school-age children are, for example: 1960s Marvel Heroes, What does the Fox say, Feigola, Rush Hour, Tamesis, Girl Friends.
As the years go by, children become more aware of their true self and want to see their personalities reflected in the wallpaper patterns/motifs they choose. Puberty is a challenge for most parents. We would like to recommend our extensive Guide Blog Cool Wallpapers for Teenagers - Just as long as it isn't the parents' taste!
A few words about the cleaning characteristic of wallpapers for kids' bedrooms
Kids' rooms naturally suffer from some "wear and tear" and are more prone to damages and spills than just about any other room in the home. But that doesn't necessarily mean that you should choose a washable wallpaper - it very much depends on the age of the child.
Wash-resistant and scrub-resistant wallpapers for children's rooms can be wiped clean with a damp cloth and are therefore a good option for the rooms of toddlers and children of kindergarten age, as little fingers covered in baby food might want to inspect the funny figures on the walls, or the bottle might end up on the wall instead of in the mouth...