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How To Furnish Kids' Bedrooms To Stop Nightmares

How To Furnish Kids' Bedrooms To Stop Nightmares

Do you have a little one who's scared of things that go bump in the night?

Nightmares and night-time fears are common in young children. Their imagination constantly evolves as they grow, meaning even small things in their bedroom can transform into super scary shadows or monster hideaways. We're here to lend a hand if you're struggling to get them to settle in for the night in their kid's bed.

We've researched which areas in the bedroom a child is most likely to be scared of and have spoken to experts, including interior designers and medical doctors, to highlight how to set up a room that promotes a good night's sleep.

Bad kids bedroom

The nine scariest parts of a child's bedroom

So, what areas of their bedroom scare children when the lights go out? Here are nine common hair-raising hotspots, along with expert advice on how you can tackle the problems and eliminate those monsters under the bed…

1. Full-size wardrobes

Wardrobes are a common fear for children due to the mystery of what might be lurking within. However, interior designer and feng shui expert Deepika Adhikari explains they can also contribute to negative energy in a child's bedroom: “Large furniture and tall armoires bring down the positive energy in small children. Replacing them with a smaller wardrobe, about half the size of an adult version, is ideal for promoting positive energy in a kid's room.”

2. Floor length curtains

Parents report that curtains are often a source of fear in their children's rooms. Tall curtains allow little imaginations to run wild, conjuring up images of someone, or something, hiding behind them. Switching to shorter, half-size curtains can help. Better yet, remove the curtain fear altogether by replacing them with nonthreatening blinds.

3. Low beds

The most common childhood fear is monsters under the bed. However, did you know that creating more space under the bed could help? Po-Chang Hsu, Doctor of Medicine (MD), explains that a loft or cabin bed could be just the thing to battle nightmares: “The bed is essential for a child's sleep quality in the bedroom. If it's unsuitable, it can cause insomnia and create conditions conducive to nightmares. If the child can't find rest, relieve tiredness, and is still stressed on their bed, nightmares are more likely. Trundle bed, bunk bed, or even loft bed, whatever type of children's bed the parent chooses, they have to ensure it is welcoming and safe.”

“For example, the height of a loft bed can make a child feel protected and away from danger. A cabin bed is recommendable if the child is not yet old enough to climb a high bed on their own. Its playful aspect creates a relaxed atmosphere, ideal for driving away bad dreams.”

Additionally, the material of the bed can make a difference. According to feng shui, the best material for a bed is wood, as it allows positive energy to flow. A wooden bed brings a natural feel to a room, helping to promote a sense of calm for children who are scared at night.

4. Bedside tables

In feng shui, sharp corners are called 'poison arrows' and give off negative energy, which can contribute to fear and nightmares in children. For positive energy, ensure no sharp corners are pointing in the direction of the bed. For example, a bedside table with softer, curved lines can feel much less aggressive, leading to a more restful and relaxed night's sleep.

5. Mirrors

Kids have overactive imaginations, so having a mirror in the eye line of their bed can increase the chance of them thinking they've caught a glimpse of something scary. If there are mirrors in a child's room, position them so they aren't visible from the bed to allow their imagination to rest easy while trying to drift off.

6. Wallpaper and artwork

Your little one may adore superheroes, but did you know action-themed wallpaper, décor, or artwork could give them bad dreams? Avoid anything with violent or hostile imagery showing weapons, fight scenes or aggressive action, such as superheroes fighting, ninjas, or sharks. Calm artwork, family photos, or children's own framed drawings are all much more tranquil options that will help children settle down to sleep peacefully.

The colour scheme in a child's bedroom can also significantly affect sleep, with bold, loud or dark colours such as red and black having a negative impact. Dr Po-Chang Hsu explains: “Blue is undoubtedly one of the favourite colours of psychologists working with children. It has a calming effect and transmits serenity and peace. It helps restless children sleep better.”

“However, great care should be taken with excessively quiet children as this can make them tired, lethargic, or moody. It's best to spice up the decor with green, orange, silver, and other colours conducive to children's sleep.”

7. TV

A 2006 Paavonen et al. study found that 5-6-year-olds who were exposed to adult TV programmes - even just the evening news - slept less overall and experienced more sleep disturbances. Dr Po-Chang Hsu explains further: “Blue screens are harmful to children's sleep. Late use of a television screen, a computer, or a tablet can make the child hyper-stimulated and decrease their desire to sleep. Blue screens prevent the secretion of melatonin, the hormone of darkness, which is one of the many signals to fall into the arms of Morpheus. In other words, these devices push back one's desire to sleep.”

As well as blue light from screens, the images children consume can cause nightmares. Dr. Po-Chang Hsu says: “The different emotions felt during the day are often cited among the leading causes of nightmares. A child who has watched a frightening film during the day is likelier to have nightmares at night. Their overflowing imagination can make them relive the scenes they watched on the computer or television screen. The images come back to them and terrify them when they sleep.”

To fix this issue, you should ideally remove screens from children's bedrooms - or make sure you limit their screen time in the evening. Books are a great alternative option to soothe and calm the mind before bed, leading to a more pleasant, relaxing night's sleep.

8. The dark

Many kids are scared of the dark. At a young age, imaginations run wild, and shapes and shadows in dark rooms can transform in kids' minds, becoming something much more threatening. A warm-toned night light is a great fix to ensure children don't feel scared throughout the night.

It's also important to keep clutter to a minimum: a pile of clothes may not look too scary during the day but can transform into something much more sinister under the veil of darkness. Don't give overactive imaginations anything to feast on, and make sure everything is neat and tidy when they go to bed.

9. Windows and doors

Windows don't seem that spooky - however, for kids, it's what could be lurking beyond the window that makes them scary. As we've mentioned, blinds can make a huge difference in making kids feel safer, but window and bed positioning is also important.

You should ensure their bed isn't directly next to or underneath a window, as this can make children feel unsafe and increase the feeling that something might sneak up on them. Instead, place the bed against a solid wall, ideally on the other side of the room to the window.

Positioning in relation to the door should also be considered. To follow feng shui guidelines, you can place the bed in the 'command' position, diagonally across the room from the door. This allows the child a clear line of sight to the door when they're drifting off to sleep, which can help them feel more secure.

Good bedroom

Summarised: The bedroom switches you can make to banish monsters

Hair raising hotspot Switch to
Metal bed Wooden bed
Long curtains Blinds
Tall wardrobe Half size wardrobe
TV and videogames Toys and books
Action-themed artwork Family photos and drawings
Cool toned lighting Warm toned lighting
Red tones Blue, green and pastel tones
Bed under window Bed away from the window
Mirror opposite bed Mirror not visible from the bed
Low bed Loft or cabin bed
Mess and clutter Tidy
Square or rectangular bedside table Bedside table with rounded edges
Bed on the same wall as the door Bed in 'command' position

Give your child a good night's sleep

Looking for a truly great night's sleep for your little one? Why not treat them to a comfortable kids' bed from the Happy Beds collection? Or, for more advice on finding the bed of their dreams, explore our kids' bed buying guide.

Let kids sleep in comfort
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