Oh, the toddler years. With so much to learn and explore, these rising big kids exhibit an ever-escalating independent streak one minute and crave a cuddle the next. And their rooms should strike just that combination of stimulation and comfort, too. We rounded up kids’ room ideas galore, whether you want ways to repurpose old baby gear, simple nursery upgrades or chic kids’ room décor ideas just to change things up. Keep reading to see them all.

Swap Out the Wall Art

Even if your wall art doesn’t scream “baby,” rotating it is a fun way to refresh a space and inspire your rising big kid. Cue up Etsy and scroll through its gamut of printables (We love the ones spotted at NorseKids), many for as little as a few bucks, to commemorate family history or a recent vacation. If you have a little Frida or Picasso on your hands, frame homemade art, or, freeze this time of transition with a large canvas print of your big kid in action.

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Transition Into a Big Kid Bed

Does anything so starkly solidify the transition from baby to toddler quite like the conversion of the crib to a toddler bed or the upgrade to a big kid bed? Whenever the swap does occur, it’s a fun way to add decorative flair, whether it’s taking your tall toddler to pick out new sheets for a twin bed or going with bunk beds for siblings who share a room. Or, take things down a level with a CouchBed, which is exactly what it sounds like: a comfy cool-gel couch that easily converts into a bed. Without sharp corners or a high distance to fall as well as grey, blue, or tan covers that are washable and interchangeable, this bed will also withstand all kinds of spills—talk about a toddler perk.

Upgrade the Board Books

It may be time to donate, or at least rotate, baby’s first books to make room for titles that will engage a toddler’s budding brain. Swap out those basic board books or whatever your babe has grown a little weary of (If you can’t bear to part with them, save them for a rainy day and your toddler will no doubt have renewed interest.). Restock the shelves with titles that serve developmental milestones on the horizon (like potty training and empathy building), as well as a few books to grow on. To inspire you, we have 100 books every kid should read before they turn 12.

Get Rid of the Rocker

How many hours have you logged in that rocker? Whether you were feeding, cuddling or singing a baby back to sleep, these large chairs anchor many a nursery—and take up a lot of space. While a rocking chair is a darling way to organize a stuffed animal collection, you can also put that corner of the room to more regular use. Consider selling the glider or moving a rocking chair to a guest room to make room for little thrones, be it a beanbag or a mini armchair. If you want more of an art and activity station, check out P'kolino’s new Modern Kids Round Table and Chairs set. The table sports sturdy steel legs and the weighted chairs come in a variety of colors and won’t tip (they’re even strong enough to support mom or dad!).

Upgrade the Window Treatments

While blackout curtains can be the cat’s pajamas for ensuring successful naps for babes, they can limit a lasting design. These whimsical new ones from Best Home Fashion will hang around long after your tot has stopped napping. Available in pink, mint, as well as a dark or light gray, the star cut-outs and sheer tulle overlay are the stuff that dreams are made of. 

photo: Ryan Pardini

Get a Grownup Dresser

Do you still have a changing pad taking up most of (if not all) of the dresser’s surface area? Ditch it! The toddler years are for potty training and learning to dress independently, which is a lot easier and safer to do down on the floor. Now you can finally adorn the dresser with new photos, an oversized stuffie, and toddler trinkets. If a detachable changing tray came with your dresser, they are often sturdy and already compartmentalized for diapers and wipes, so here’s a hack—put it at the bottom of a standard closet. It’s a great way to organize and slide out shoes, toys, or that bin of clothes waiting to be grown into. You can even get really streamlined and try out a clothing capsule for kids, which encourages independence. 

Clear Out Old Stuff

Transitions like these are also in the details. Go through closets and shelving and purge bonafide baby items: the stack of burp clothes, the NoseFrida, half-empty tubes of creams and things, diapers that never got used, etc. It can be hard to part—we grow sentimental and may feel a little guilty, but fortunately, we found clever ways to upcycle that old baby gear. So, while you’re purging, think about turning muslin baby swaddles into toddler fashions, old diaper boxes into toy bins, or painted baby food jars into color-coordinated crayon containers. 

Add an Epic Fort

With many a game of hide-and-seek or imagined dragons and castles on the horizon, build a fort, pitch a tent or erect a teepee. Those tummy time blankets can now be used to build an absolutely epic hideaway. For a more permanent feature, check out this new Mars Mission Space Playhouse from Crate and Kids (they also have a new floral teepee or colonial playhouse). Ready or not, here they come!

Get Serious About Floor Time

Floor time is still important for toddlers, so consider a chic mat you don’t have to hide when guests arrive. These Toki Mats add a stylish touch to any room all on their own, are made of 100% natural materials, and their cotton covers are machine washable (to get you well beyond the spit-up years). Cushioned, too, tots can practice summersaults and you can feel more comfortable down on the floor. And if you plan to have another baby (or already have one) and want a safe place for your toddler and newborn to play together, this is a great solution.

— Jennifer Massoni Pardini

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