Bedroom ideas for toddlers: nearly 3-year-old girl

or:

Why decorating my daughter’s bedroom is more about politics than paint

This is what my little girl’s room looks like at the moment. As you might be able to see, it needs a bit of a rethink (see Giving our toddlers’ bedrooms some personality)

Girl's bedroom - beforeToddler's bedroom (girl) - before

Update: 3-year-old girl’s yellow and purple bedroom

A ‘big girl’ bed

She really wants a ‘big girl’ bed (an adult single bed). She even has it on her ‘list of things to remember’ (along with start ballet classes, go to big toy shop in London and make lemon cakes) and it has now transferred, or perhaps duplicated, on to her birthday list.

My parents have my old wooden bed spare so, to save pennies, I thought we would reuse it by giving it a lick of paint. Even though my daughter’s favourite colours are yellow and purple, I want to keep the basics neutral and add colour with accessories. I don’t want to paint the bed white (too country nursery) so I’m opting for grey.

I have discovered that planning on painting your daughter’s bed grey is the sort of thing that doesn’t go down well in some circles (it turns out conservative Bucks isn’t a hotbed of radical feminism and, for the most part, wholeheartedly embraces pink, princesses and 1950s florals with no hint of irony).

Paint is political

I think the reason I am finding it so hard to work out how to decorate my daughter’s room is that it is not just about paint. It is, at least in part, about who she is and who she will be. It is about treading the line between gender inequality and absolutes and finding an aesthetic for girls that is empowering and fun.

But what does that mean? Is there anything wrong with pink? Or fairies? Or ‘cute’? Or flowers? Or ballet? Or cupcakes? And how much does it really matter? Surely identity and self-worth are shaped much more by less superficial factors?

A few ideas

  • I’m on the hunt for some really bright yellow bed linen with a modern, graphic pattern. I’ll let you know when I’ve found it.
  • I’ve ordered some yellow, purple and white string lights from Cable & Cotton. They’re not cheap but are hand-made by skilled Thai women in good working conditions. Which works for me.
  • I’m looking into ways to display her multitude of artworks, perhaps using a pinboard that I could make myself.

I’ll be posting more ideas for my daughter’s room, including photos, as we go.

12 thoughts on “Bedroom ideas for toddlers: nearly 3-year-old girl

    1. Seriously? Wow, that is quite something! We thankfully do not have the pleasure of those in the UK.

      It is a pleasure to have ‘freshly pressed’ royalty here 😉

  1. Hi there, I followed your link from Rebecca Hains’ blog, hope you don’t mind!
    Those C&C lights are absolutely gorgeous. I’ve made something similar myself, but mine are just decorative balls (or as my mum calls them, “dutcatchers”!) That’s also a pretty clever way of incorporating yellow and purple – I would go mental trying to work those two into a colour scheme together…
    Personally I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with pink, or cupcakes, or princesses…heck, I like pink too, and I might have a less-than-healthy adoration for glitter in certain craft projects! But as you’ve noted these things are so often considered the ONLY choice for girls, and I think that’s where the problem is.
    Interestingly the whole “pink is for girls, blue is for boys” trope is actually a late 20th century thing rather than being “natural” or “the way it’s always been.” And of course it’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation; when everything produced for little girls is pink, sparkly, depicts cupcakes or princesses or whatever, then of course many girls will genuinely love those things because they’re being steeped in them, which means everyone thinks “Girls love pink/sparkles/princesses, so we’ll design our products accordingly!”
    This kind of mirrors the deeper aspects of the “cult of pink” – take cupcakes, for example: Boys and girls love cake in equal measure, but when the girls’ bedding, decor, clothes and so on are covered in cupcakes it both reflects and reinforces the notion that actually *producing* the cakes is women’s work. When we show girls media in which the princess must conform to a rigid notion of femininity ( be pretty, be kind, be ladylike, etc ) and then she can “win” the prince’s love and get married and live happily ever after, we are giving them all kinds of damaging messages; media producers claim “That’s what little girls want to see” but that’s because that’s more or less all they ever get exposed to. It claims to reflect what little girls want, but it also tells them what they should want. If you know what I mean.
    I don’t blame any parent who paints her little girl’s room pink because her daughter insists that pink is her favourite colour – but I do think that more parents should do what you’re doing: really question the messages society and marketers are giving children, and make sure their children are exposed to other choices, other role models, and other colours!
    Er, sorry for the long-winded comment. I do go on a bit!

    1. Hi redsky. Don’t apologise, I love it! I think you’re right that it’s sometimes more about asking questions than having all the answers.

      Lovely to meet you 🙂

      1. Thankyou, you too! I think your point about questions is pretty good advice for life in general, actually. I’ll be interested to see how your little girl’s room turns out 🙂

  2. I hated pink at one time. I avoided buying my daughter anything pink when she was little. I remember when I found out that she loved pink. She was 1 and we were shopping for a dress for family photos. I saw the most darling dress that came in 3 colors–pink, soft yellow, and a soft turquoise blue. She has blue eyes so I grabbed the blue one. She screamed her fool headed off and started to cry as we left the rack. My husband had an idea. He handed her all three colors. My daughter threw out the blue and yellow dresses and hugged the pink one. From then on, we allowed her to pick the colors. I think little girls go through a pink or purple phase.

    Let her help you pick the colors for her room. It will foster a sense of empowerment. It builds confidence, and makes the room truly hers. Independence in some fashion is important at this stage–so let her help with the room design. I’ve done that with both of my kids, and they always seemed to appreciate it more. Now my daughter is 15 and we’ve just re designed her room. It is chic and calming. I have a post of the bedroom called Not So Shabby Chic.

    1. Hi Angelique

      Thanks for your comment – I so agree that it’s good to let them make choices and make it their space.

      I’m so looking forward to decorating their rooms with them as they grow up! I bet you had lots of fun doing it together.

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