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Tips on Decorating Children`s Rooms — Nautical Themes

By Sarah Van Arsdale on November 06, 2008

Who says your kids’ rooms have to be little more than a bed, a dresser, and a big pile of clothes on the floor? Indeed, children’s rooms are a place in the house where you can really have fun decorating and let your imagination run wild.

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When you’re thinking about decorating a room for an older child, consider first of all the child’s interests. The more involved he is in the design of the room, the greater the chances that he’ll do his part to keep it looking good, and he’ll enjoy it so much more if he has a say in the plan.

The first step in decorating any room is deciding on the theme, whether it’s choosing a period of furniture or a color scheme. So too with a kid’s room; you have to start with a general idea of the look you want, and then go out and find the individual items that will match.

Sheffield Top Tip: A trip to the aquarium often inspires in a child an interest in all things nautical, from ship-building to tide-pooling. And this can lead to a nautically-themed room that will grow as your child grows, whether you live near the shore or are landlocked out in Iowa.

If you have a small child, you can start your sea-faring look by painting the walls a clear blue. Next, add brightly-painted murals of fish, dolphins, and waves. You can paint the fish and marine mammals on the wall yourself, if you have a good eye and a bit of an artistic inclination. Remember to think big; don’t worry too much about the details, but go for big outlines instead.

Next, add and colorful throw-rugs in blue, red, and white. You can also find throw rugs, usually designed for use in the bathroom, in sea-shell shapes. With a non-slip pad underneath, these are ideal for a small child’s room as they tend to be made of soft, washable material.

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A set of sheets with fish on them — easily found in just about any bedding catalog — completes the look, and it can all be achieved with a minimum of labor and cost.

For an older child, a nautically-themed room can be designed with elegance and simplicity for a more mature look. Try painting blue and white vertical stripes on the wall, from the floor up to a height of about four feet. Above that, either use a nautical wall paper, or paint the wall in blue or white. A navy blue comforter and blue and white sheets will help to solidify the nautical backdrop.

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In a room for either an older or a younger child, add seaside accessories, such as a lamp made from a ship’s wheel, or the flags of yachts on the walls. A director’s chair instead of a desk chair will add to the nautical look.

The best kind of furniture for this look will be the simplest. A plain wood bed, dresser, and bookcase can be painted in a glossy white, and if you’re really ambitious, you could stencil fish or sailboats along the edges of the headboard, along the trim of the dresser, and around the top of the bookcase.

If your child is at the age where begging for a pet has become usual dinner-time conversation, you can also think about adding a home for live fish, whether it’s just a goldfish bowl, which is probably the easiest to maintain, or a full-fledged reef tank. There are fish tanks in every imaginable style and size to suit both the room and the child.