This article was written by Joshua Lewis – an academic writer and keen DIY and home decor enthusiast – to ensure maximum factual accuracy and unique content.
Decorating a small bedroom for a boy can be a challenge because the smaller space means that you can’t go overboard with the decorations otherwise the room will feel too overpowering.
So how do you successfully decorate a small bedroom for a toddler that’s a boy?
The best way to decorate a small bedroom for a toddler boy is to save space with themed toy boxes, shelves, and under-bed storage; whilst incorporating ceiling decorations selectively to provide engagement without causing clutter.
The rest of this article expands on these points to give you 10 ideas for designing and styling a small bedroom for a toddler that’s a boy.
I have drawn upon my personal knowledge here whilst also incorporating some tried and tested strategies.
10 Toddler Boy Bedroom Ideas for Small Rooms
Here are 10 design ideas that you can copy or adapt to style your boy’s small bedroom:
1: Use Specific Color Themes to Promote Healthy Behavior
Some studies have investigated the effect of particular colors on toddlers’ behaviors, and the results are fascinating.
For example, lots of yellow has been thought to increase happiness and aid concentration, whereas lots of blue could contribute to anxiety and behavioral problems.
Whilst none of these studies can guarantee certain behaviors, it is clear there are definite links between behaviors in toddlers and particular colors, so why not use them to your advantage when decorating your toddler’s room?
- To promote positive behaviors, yellow or orange is the best option, as these are the two key colors known to increase concentration, energy, confidence, and memory.
- If this is too bright for your chosen room style, green has been known to increase memory and cognitive speed, too, and is a lighter option compared to yellow or orange.
- If you simply want a cozy feeling for your little boy, then light purple or brown would be suitable.
After a look into the basic science behind the theory, in my opinion, it’s best to stick with one color theme, but there’s no harm in doing more.
However, it is key that you don’t overload the color theme (in other words paint everything in the room) as this could result in a sensory overload for your toddler.
In the image above you can see a child’s bedroom which uses color in this way, but doesn’t overload it extensively.
By decorating in a similar way, you can achieve a color theme that can aid positive development but doesn’t overdo it.
2: Decorate the Ceiling For Increased Engagement
Having ceiling decorations in your boy’s bedroom can help to keep him engaged during changing and also give him something to look at before he drifts off to sleep.
If you have a room theme (for example pirates or cars) then you can always use the ceiling space to add to that theme.
Perhaps print out some pictures (cars or pirate ships) and hang them from the ceiling with clear sticky tape.
Or try painting your own pictures that work with the room theme, such as painting some cars or pirate ships, rather than printing them.
That way, if your toddler doesn’t like it or if you want to change it in the future, you can simply paint over it and the ceiling won’t be marked!
If you don’t have a theme, don’t worry, there are plenty of ways you can decorate the ceiling!
In my experience, hanging lanterns is a popular choice for toddlers’ bedrooms, as the alternating colors can catch the eye quite easily, and it’s easy to hang them.
Another nice option would be airplanes or rockets, as this works nicely in any boy’s room, and you can get away with it effectively without having to make it into a theme.
However, too much stimulus can become off-putting, so make sure you don’t overload the ceiling with decorations.
To make this idea effective, try painting basic patterns rather than complex ones, or only use up to 4 or 5 hanging decorations, as this will be enough to catch the toddler’s eye without it being too much.
3: Use Patterned or Themed Wallpaper to Increase Stimuli
Just like the ceiling, the walls of the room are a great canvas for enhancing any room, no matter the size.
Whilst you could fill the space on the walls with items such as shelving (check out idea 4) or framed pictures, sometimes you can benefit the most from some eye-catching wallpaper.
When it comes to your toddler boy’s room, wallpaper is a fantastic way of increasing stimuli in the room to capture his attention and to keep his eyes moving, especially if the room is small, and you’re struggling for space.
This might seem like a bit of a basic option, but the reason I’m such a fan is that in my experience of room decoration, the simplest but most effective way of enhancing a room is the right wallpaper.
Admittedly, it must be the right wallpaper, but by choosing correctly for a room, you can create a theme or style instantly, and without much effort.
The same applies to toddlers’ rooms, especially boys, as there are all sorts of themes and styles you could create.
Depending on your theme or what interests your toddler (which brings us back to cars, pirate ships, spaceships, etc.), there’s plenty of toddler wallpaper available out there that will tailor to that theme.
It won’t cost you much, it’s simple enough to put up, and it will automatically create the theme you’re going for.
If you aren’t going with a particular theme, don’t worry, there are plenty of lovely patterned wallpapers out there that you could use!
Choose some with a good amount of color (not excessively bright, as this could result in overstimulation), ideally with a nice contrast of primary colors to lift the mood.
If you’d rather avoid color, try some simple patterns, as detail is more important than color in my experience.
When you’re applying wallpaper, apply it the same way you would normally, but make sure to apply plenty of primer so that it won’t fall off the wall.
4: Use Bookshelves for Storage and to Help His Learning
Friends of mine who have little ones always love getting colorful books for them, and it’s also a fantastic way to aid comprehension and concentration development at a young age.
So adding bookshelves or book storage to a toddler’s room is one of the best options for decoration there is, and the room doesn’t have to be big either.
So, what’s the best way to do this in a toddler boy’s bedroom so that he’s happy with it?
Firstly, install a small set of bookshelves next to the bed (either a long or tall unit) and fill them with all the picture books your toddler loves.
Don’t worry about filling the shelves, you can just leave space for more in the future, and it also means you can show off the decoration more.
Once you’ve found a spot for your shelves, there are plenty of ways to effectively decorate them (have a look at our bookshelf painting guide for inspiration) that will add to the aesthetic of your toddler’s room.
Paint contrasting colors on the inside and outside of the shelves that are the same colors used in the rest of the room, as this will help the bookshelf fit into the room more effectively.
You can see above that this children’s bookshelf is full of color and patterns, and it looks bright and eye-catching in the room without being too much, making it an effective addition to the room in my opinion.
If you want a bit more than just color, patterns or drawings will work, too.
It might even be a nice idea to let your toddler splash some paint on them too… even if it does cause a lot of mess!
Try letting him do some drawings, too, but whatever he ends up doing, it does make it that bit more personal.
If you don’t have enough room to have a set of shelves taking up the floor, this is where the wall comes in handy.
Simply put up two shelves on the wall instead, and paint them with different colors to provide a contrast.
This creates an eye-catching storage space that won’t take up any floor space in the room.
5: Occupy Empty Space with Toy Boxes to Help Him Stay Tidy
I think it can be agreed upon by most people that toddlers are keen on toys, or at least in my experience, the ocean of toys and teddies on the floor of my friends’ houses certainly says so!
It can be easy for toys to end up everywhere, and since toddlers tend to get bored very quickly, it usually results in their room becoming a mess.
So, if you have a small room covered in toys, it does make life a lot more difficult, and can make the room look quite messy.
That’s why a toy box (or toy boxes, depending on how many toys he owns) is perfect for a toddler boy’s room.
You can decorate it by creating a nice contrast, or even letting your toddler paint some pictures on it, too.
It’s up to you how you decorate it, but an eye-catching toy box is guaranteed to distract and occupy your little one.
It also gives you that extra storage without looking ugly or inconvenient in the room.
If you already have lots of color or brightness in your room, then painting or decorating a toy box can become a bit much, so try keeping it simple instead.
Above you can see a wooden panel toy box, which in my opinion would work far better in a toddler’s room with lots of color already, rather than a decorated one that adds more.
Try this instead of adding more color, as it will bring a more natural feel to your toddler’s room without encroaching on the style or theme you’re going for.
With smaller rooms, this can be difficult, but not impossible.
In my opinion, the best way to avoid putting a toy box in a small toddler’s bedroom is to install under-bed storage instead.
This won’t take up any additional room but will use up the space under the bed, which can go widely unappreciated in my experience.
You could build one yourself, or buy a sliding drawer storage unit that fits under your toddler’s bed, but either way, try and get the safest one you can as you don’t want him trapping his fingers.
6: Make a Play Table or Play Mat to Keep Him Occupied
Following on from the toy box idea, storing toys in the toddler’s room would make things a lot tidier and more enjoyable for him, but it’s not so good if he can’t play there with them, is it?
Most toddlers are quite content to just sit on the floor and occupy themselves with toys, but in my opinion, it’s nicer for them if they have a designated play area to do so.
When I was younger, I specifically remember having a toy mat, and by the time I got into Lego, I had my very own table… it was quite the upgrade!
Above you’ll see a table and chair set with a toy on it, and this is the exact kind of thing your toddler boy’s room could benefit from.
It provides him with his very own playing space to keep him occupied during the day, and it will also reduce the chances of anything getting lost!
A play table and a chair or two will fit nicely into the corner of the room, as this keeps it subtle and shouldn’t take up much space.
If you don’t have enough space, though, don’t worry, a play mat can be used instead.
Simply buy or make your own play mat (such as roads for toy cars, an ocean for toy ships, etc.), and lay it flat on the floor.
That way, you can roll it up when it’s in the way, but it’s also there to entertain the little one when you need it.
Either option will benefit them, it just depends on what suits your style of room more.
7: Use Hanging Decorations Above the Bed to Help Him Sleep
The space above your toddler’s bed can hold the key to him getting a good night’s sleep.
It’s common for most newborns to have a crib mobile such as stars or small lanterns, and there’s no reason this can’t continue into the toddler years.
If you have a certain theme in your toddler’s room, such as cars or pirates, take some hanging pictures related to the theme and hang them above the bed.
If you don’t have a theme then you can also use lanterns as you would for the ceiling, but there are other options to aid sleep.
Try using some animal mobiles such as birds or butterflies, ideally with some low mood lighting, as this will help send your toddler off to sleep without being too much.
The thing with mobiles is that it will distract your toddler when he’s lying in bed, and the more distracted toddlers are, the sleepier they’ll get and the quicker they’ll doze off.
Don’t go overboard as you don’t want your toddler being occupied all night, just keep it simple with one or two decorations hanging above the bed that will likely help him sleep peacefully.
Above you can see an eye-catching bird mobile that isn’t too heavy in color, which is perfect in my opinion, as it has different elements to it for your toddler to focus on without being overwhelming.
Whatever you do, don’t use anything too heavy, or that isn’t fully baby-proofed, as this is a huge risk to your sleeping toddler.
This applies to babies, too, as I’m sure you’re aware, but since toddlers are jumpier and more excitable, there’s a higher chance of them ripping the decorations down.
With that in mind, no shelves or heavy mobiles above the bed – simple, lightweight decorations will do the trick nicely.
Lanterns are my personal favorite, as I had them when I was a kid, but the choice is yours!
8: Keep it Minimalist to Reduce Hyperactive Behavior
Throughout this list, I’ve been discussing ideas which, in my opinion, are the best for a boy toddler’s room, and that will keep him entertained and occupied without going overboard.
This works great for most toddlers, however, it can be a problem to some with attentive or hyperactive disorders, such as ADD or ADHD.
These conditions involve very active and distracted toddlers, so if your child is hyperactive, the last thing you need is a room that is overly exciting, as this will keep his mind going all night.
On the other hand, you don’t want it to be boring for him, so what’s the solution?
Well, if your toddler struggles with these issues, then there are ways in which you can decorate the bedroom without going overboard on stimulus.
The style I would recommend most from my experience is minimalism because the whole point of minimalism is that there isn’t much going on.
Try using lighter, less bright colors such as light brown or light purple, as colors such as blue and gray have been known to contribute to toddlers’ bad moods and negative behaviors.
An effective minimalist look can be achieved with these colors, but if you’d rather not use color at all, going with a natural wood theme would work just as nicely, too.
This means you can still have toy boxes and shelves that work in the room without being too much, and it still looks exciting and fresh.
Some experts suggest that nature and the feeling of the outside can help a child with hyperactive disorders.
Since hyperactivity disorders often result in difficulty sleeping, make sure your toddler has a firm and comfy bed as far away as possible from distractions (toys, books, etc.), to compartmentalize the room more.
This helps with easing impulsivity, and the more compartmentalized and organized a room is, the calmer your toddler will likely feel.
While every child is different, these decorating methods will hopefully calm your child a bit without making their room unexciting.
Above is an example of a room that isn’t boring or unexciting, but which would be suitable for a toddler with hyperactive issues.
It isn’t overwhelming or full of color, but the design is still effective and brings a strong style to the room.
9: Create a Themed Room to Make It More Personal
Themes are one of the best ways to make your toddler’s bedroom personal to him.
In my experience, bringing a new theme to any room always starts off with the walls and floor – here’s how I would design a rocket themed bedroom for a boy:
I’ve already discussed wallpaper, so I would first buy some wallpaper related to rockets.
This wouldn’t necessarily be full-scale rockets, but more toy and cartoon types.
You could go overboard and buy a themed carpet if you wish, but in my opinion, the walls are the definite route to creating a new theme and will provide the theme basis in the room.
Secondly, I would make sure that any decorations (hanging decorations, mobiles, toys, etc.) are rocket-themed, and I would place them at different spots around the room.
This could be near or above the bed, on the toy table, or on shelves opposite the bed.
In a small room, I’d suggest wall and ceiling decorations to use up the space.
Lastly, a rocket-themed light shade (so it projects onto the wall) is always a good idea, because it adds to the room at night, and becomes a calming and enjoyable addition to your toddler’s sleep routine.
Having done all of this, I would have successfully created a rocket-themed room for my toddler without going overboard, and it wouldn’t have taken much effort either.
That’s just an example, but if you follow a similar process, I’m certain you could create a themed room that your toddler will love.
10: Create a Themed Bed to Make the Room Special
A themed bed could be a great DIY project for you craft parents out there, but it doesn’t have to be, since a lot of themed beds exist on the market now that don’t require much assembly.
Themed beds are a great addition to any themed room, and can really enhance your toddler’s happiness in the room, especially when he’s sleeping.
I mean, a car bed like the one above, how cool is that?
Simply look at the theme of your room and have a think about what your toddler enjoys, and buy one accordingly.
Here I’ve used the example of a car bed to work with the car theme outlined in idea 9, but it could be anything, for example, a pirate ship bed for a pirate-themed room.
It might even be enjoyable for a toddler to go and look for a bed himself, so you can see what excites him the most.
Whatever you choose, one thing is for sure; your toddler boy will love a themed bed.
Just make sure to get one that doesn’t take up all the space in your room.
Image Attribution and Licensing
Main image: ‘Boy Toddler Room’ by KatarzynaBialasiewicz (Getty Images Pro) – used with permission under the terms of Canva’s One Design Use License Agreement.
Image #1: ‘Interior of Stylish Children’s Room’ by Pixelshot (Licensed via Canva).
Image #2: Untitled by Charles Deluvio (Licensed via Unsplash).
Image #3: ‘Wall Mural Mockup in Baby’s Room’ by Unknown (Licensed via Envato Elements).
Image #4: Untitled by Laurence Katz (Licensed via Unsplash).
Image #5: ‘Toy Box full of soft toys’ by Pixavril (Licensed via Canva).
Image #6: ‘Toddler table and chair set idea’ by In4mal (Licensed via Canva).
Image #7: ‘Baby crib mobile’ by Voisine (Licensed via Canva)
Image #8: ‘Toddler room in scandi style’ by KatarzynaBialasiewicz (Licensed via Canva)
Image #9: ‘Comfortable small bed in cozy children’s bedroom’ by bialasiewicz (Licensed via Envato Elements).
Image #10: ‘Boy is dreaming in bed’ by annakazimir (Licensed via Canva).
Dan is the founder and head content creator at Bedroom Style Reviews.
He has been working as a professional online product reviewer since 2015 and was inspired to start this website when he ended up sleeping on a memory foam mattress that was too soft and gave him backache.
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