Room to Grow
From Nursery to Big Boy's Bedroom, in this blog post I'll explain how I adapted and future-proofed the room for a growing child, while still creating a stylish and beautiful space!
Ever since I finished my son Teddy's Boho-Jungle themed bedroom last year, my youngest son, Arlo, has been begging me for a ‘big boys bed’ like his older brother. I had been resolutely calling Arlo’s room the ‘Nursery’ (despite the fact that we left nursing well behind us years ago!), however I have had to come to terms with the fact that, as he has grown and developed, his room also needs to be adapted to suit his changing needs. While I had purposefully decorated the walls in sophisticated shades of sage green with a timeless mountainscape that would suit both a newborn and an older boy, his bedroom furniture was only really fitting for a baby - with only a small dresser, no wardrobe and no toy storage.
What a Boy Wants
According to Arlo, the number one ‘need’ was a HIGH bed. All little brothers want to be like their older siblings, and as Teddy has a bunk bed, that is what Arlo was coveting. When weighing up bed options I felt that having two bunk beds and four mattresses for only two boys was in reality a bit of a waste of space. I decided a good compromise would be a Mid-Sleeper Cabin Bed with lots of storage underneath. There are so many options out there, however having previously gone to Great Little Trading Company for our playroom storage, I knew that their products were high-quality, practical and always innovatively designed to save space. Their beds and mattresses also come with a free 5-year warranty for extra peace of mind. It was the multi-functional Nimbus Cabin Bed that instantly caught my eye due to its beautiful grey, natural wood-look details and all the different nifty built-in storage elements.
Whenever I'm designing an interior, my first priority is to look at how I can incorporate smart storage so that the room can be used as intended rather than being an empty 'showhome'. I really wanted Arlo to feel like he owned the space and could have all his toys and nick nacks in there, but also have enough storage that everything could be tidied away at the end of the day to create a clutter-free, non-stimulating environment that promotes calm and sleep. The space-saving aspect of the Nimbus Cabin Bed is what really sold it to me - there is a wardrobe, three drawers, cupboard, two shelves under the ladder and more display shelving along the side of the bed.
While my kids aren't old enough for proper homework just yet, I love that this bed has a pull-out desk that slots neatly under when not in use. At the moment, the boys both love pulling up a couple chairs and using it as a drawing station or base for their Lego building. The desk also means that when the time comes for Arlo to have to work independently, his bedroom will already be fully equipped without having to lose any more floor space.
I've already talked about all the great storage features, however I have to emphasise how perfect the Nimbus Cabin Bed is for anyone who is short on space but still wanting their child's bedroom to double up as a playroom. One bug-bear of mine is that the boys have lots of large, bright, plastic toys that don't fit in normal toy boxes or baskets. The cupboard under the Nimbus Cabin Bed can happily fit a Paw Patrol Air Patroller and Sub Patroller - absolute win! The drawers have large, round edged handles that are easy for little fingers to open and, because all the storage spaces are child-height, your kids can easily access their own toys or clothes, encouraging independence in dressing and play.
From their births I've always tried to encourage my children to have a genuine love for books and reading, and storytime is a key part of their bedtime routine. I really wanted to make sure that Arlo could have a dedicated reading snug area, with all his favourite books in easy reach. Due to the bed's compact size, there is a perfect little corner that I've turned into a safe space for him to have quiet time.
No matter how many amazing features a child's new bed may have, it needs to tick the most important box - will my kid go to bed in it?! Sleep is a hot topic for so many parents of young children, and sometimes it seems like you spend most of your night trying to coax your child back into their own space. Having been a good sleeper from about 1 year old, at the start of lockdown Arlo had begun to try testing boundaries and crying at bedtime, saying 'I don't like my room' and coming out to find us in the middle of night. Perhaps this was because he was less stimulated at home all day and therefore not as tired at bedtime, however it was becoming a habit we wanted to nip in the bud - for all our sanity! We used the introduction of his new bed as an incentive for him to get excited about bedtime and agree to stay in his room all night. Since getting his special big boy's bed, Arlo literally runs to climb up the ladder and snuggle down, and we haven't had any issues getting him to sleep!
We received the Luxury Mattress, All Rounder (Euro, Single) to go with the bed, which has a slightly shallower depth and more length that makes it suitable for raised beds and bunks. It's a breathable cotton and wool blend that makes it super snuggly, and Arlo said 'my bed is soft like a cloud'. The real pro of Great Little Trading Company's mattresses is that they offer a 30 night comfort trial - if your child isn't totally comfy, you can get a refund or replacement! It can be difficult to know how your child will find their bed (they usually can't yet articulate their ideal tension preference!) so this is a great option to make sure that you are buying a mattress that will keep them (and consequently you!) happy for years. You can read more about the comfort trial t&cs here.
Disclosure – I am incredibly thankful to Great Little Trading Company for gifting Arlo the Nimbus Cabin Bed and Mattress mentioned above, which was done in exchange for this blog post. All words, anecdotes and opinions are my own!