1. Invest in key pieces
When you're decorating a kid's room, start with a few key pieces that will last pretty much forever — or for a really long time! You want to spend the most money on your dresser and bookshelves and a crib that will eventually turn into a bed. Those things should feel classic, whatever classic feels to you. In our daughter Ruby's room, we went with white furniture that had mid-century modern angles.
2. Treat trends as your "top layer"
If you think of your furniture as the base layer, then your next layer is your preferred colours, patterns and accent pieces. Those things can be swapped out easily, but the key and more expensive pieces can stay the same for years and years. (Cardstock flowers, $7/4).
3. Prioritize mix and match
This is really about practicality. If one pillowcase gets dirty, you don't necessarily want to feel like now the whole set has to get washed. You want to be able to pull another pillowcase from your linen closet and it'll be fine and still works together. (For another practical touch, use Oh Joy! condiment bottles for holding craft supplies, which can be stored in a striped picnic basket).
4. Ditch the themed room
People used to be all about themes in kids' rooms. It was like, "Okay, we're going to do a circus theme, let's buy the bedding that matches, and the wallpaper, and everything has to be in these two colours." Which makes sense, because kids' rooms are the one time you can really do that — if you went all out on a theme in a grown-up room people would just think that you were weird! But when you think about it, that's not practical. You might get sick of it; you child might not like circuses, when they eventually figure out what a circus is... That's why I always emphasize a look that's more custom, not about characters. And I think that these days there are definitely more options that are both kid-friendly and aesthetically pleasing. (Large cardstock confetti dots, $10/12. The 12" lanterns, $4, above add a hit of colour for an inexpensive summer update, so it's easy to switch up a colour theme).
5. Make temporary swaps for safety's sake
To me, safety comes first over aesthetics. Before I had a daughter, I was like, "I'm never gonna put a foam corner on something! I'm never going to compromise what I have in my house for a kid! You just teach them how to not bump into things!" But it's not realistic. Once your daughter runs into a corner — which mine has — and gets a black eye, you decide you don't want the next time to be wore. It's easy to make small changes, and they're not going to be forever. In our living room, we removed a coffee table and got a big ottoman pouf for the centre of the room. We changed from a regular bar cart where all the bottles are at the bottom to one that's a bookshelf, so all the bottles are at the top and the lower cabinets have her toys and books. We still accessorize, we still have artwork on the walls, we still have little decorative vintage things, but they're just all up where she can't reach them. (Cardstock paper flowers, $7/4).