3 Ways to Transform a Nursery Into a Big Kid Room

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3 Ways to Transform a Nursery Into a Big Kid Room: Q+A with Chasing Paper founder Elizabeth Rees

By Cris Pearlstein

My daughter just turned four years old. Lately her bedroom hasn’t been matching up with the person who now picks out her own clothes and asks Alexa to play the song Dance Monkey. The dresser that I once changed her diapers on and the rocking lion she used to struggle to climb onto suddenly seem so out of place—especially as my daughter grows out of the toddler phase and enters the big kid phase. But redecorating her room feels like a big job. Since her personality, likes, and interests are changing and evolving every day, it’s overwhelming to think about purchasing items without really knowing if they have staying power.

Enter Elizabeth Rees of Chasing Paper. We caught up with the founder and mom of 2 to chat about transforming a baby nursery into a big kid room. Her tips are as useful as they are easy to follow—I’ll be taking notes and you should, too.

What are some of the red flags that should let a parent know it’s time to upgrade from a baby nursery to a big kid room?

As your child grows, the room needs will change. The things I consider and ask myself as a mom are how do we use the room? and what doesn’t serve us anymore?. For us, our red flag was when our daughter started sleeping on the floor because her toddler bed felt too small. Once a bigger bed is needed in the room, it’s important to use the square footage in a smart way that will work for your family.

Do you have any tips on how parents can incorporate their child’s interests into the decor without making the entire room an ode to their favorite TV show?

A child’s space should feel imaginative and fun, but not tied to something like a TV show or character that they are likely to outgrow quickly. Using different colors and prints in an interesting way is a great solution to making the space exciting for a child.

What should parents keep in mind during this process?

This is a great opportunity to incorporate what your child is interested in, and make selections to help shape the outcome of the room so that it fits within your home’s aesthetic—but it should still strikes awe and wonder within your little one. With these small updates, you can make it playful and fun, making them feel completely at home in their updated space.


Elizabeth Rees and her two daughters, Uma and Marlow

Pssst…check out How to Organize Your Nursery Like a Pro

Elizabeth’s 3 Tips for Going From Nursery to Big Kid Room

  • CREATE AN ACCENT WALL: Choose a fun wallpaper print for an accent wall in the child’s room.
    • Wallpaper, especially removable, peel-and-stick wallpaper, can typically be done in a matter of hours, and instantly transforms the room—it’s also easy to remove in the future as they continue to grow and their interests change.
    • The Chasing Paper x Jacqueline Schmidt Woodland wallpaper is playful, but offers a slightly sophisticated color palette that elevates it for a big kid room.

    • I love this illustrative print by Carolyn Suzuki for a big kid room as well. It’s fun and makes the room feel like art!

  • GET A NEW DRESSER: Choose a dresser that will last throughout their childhood, up to the teenage years.
    • Keep your choice simple so it will easily transition with the room as the kid grows. If you opt for a color, choose an earth tone such as olive green or a navy blue. Be sure to avoid pastel colors, as they can feel very nursery-like.

    • I love this one from Crate&Kids. It comes in both white and sage green and has lots of storage—another important thing to keep in mind when choosing a dresser!
  • ADD IN A FEW FUN ACCESSORIES: Rearranging the room and adding new decor pieces like a fun rug or accent pillows is an easy way to refresh a space as your child grows.
    • Move furniture around to try a different layout—this will make the room feel fresh and new.

    • For the decor, swap out the art, and change up the bookshelf styling—these little facelifts to the smaller details will make a big difference in the end.

    • Choose a simple comforter for their bed, but have fun with sheets and pillows—this will give the room a grown-up feel, while still incorporating whimsical touches for a kid.


Elizabeth Rees is the founder of Chasing Paper, a pioneer and leader in the home decor industry. As third generation in her family’s printing company, she grew up learning the ins and outs of ink, paper and patterns. With the belief that printing is not only a family tradition, but also a craft, Elizabeth carved out her own path in paper with Chasing Paper. Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Indiana University and a Master of Arts from the American University of Paris. The company is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where Elizabeth resides with her husband and daughters.

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