Calming ADHD Bedroom Ideas: A Parent Guide

Reviewed by Dr Lucy Russell DClinPsyc CPsychol AFBPsS
Hayley Vaughan Smith, Person Centred Counsellor and The Ridge Practice and Everlief Child Psychology
Author: Hayley Vaughan-Smith, Person-Centred Counsellor

I’m going to take you through the top calming ADHD bedroom ideas for kids, and the why’s and how’s of creating this space for them.

What sort of bedroom environment is best for children with ADHD?

For children with ADHD, those with special needs and for those who are neurodivergent, getting the environment right is really important.

Let’s take a look at the specifics.

a boy lying in bed with twinkly lights behind him

Why a Calming Bedroom Matters For Kids With ADHD

Using calming ADHD bedroom ideas so that a child’s bedroom works for them is so important.

In my counselling practice, I hear children mostly describing their bedroom as their ‘safe space’.

It’s somewhere where they can ‘chill’, ‘retreat to’ or ‘be calm and quiet’.

Is your child’s room their safe space? Or does it need a bit of tweaking and rearranging?

ADHD symptoms in children vary but here are some of the most common signs and symptoms, including strengths.

• Disorganisation & poor time management
• Daydreaming & boredom
• Adventurous
• Forgetful
• Resourceful
• Difficulty staying ‘on topic’ or ‘on track’
• Fidgeting
• Hyperfocused
• Multi-tasker
• Finishing tasks can be a challenge

Let’s play detective…

A lot of these traits involve mental, physical and sensory responses. The nervous system of a child with ADHD is switched on most of the time.

As you might imagine this can be pretty tiring.

Having a bedroom that is a calm retreat can benefit your child’s emotional wellbeing because it helps regulate their nervous system.

When children experience stress or are overstimulated, this calm space can be a sanctuary and great reset button for them.

A Bedroom is for Rest and Sleep

Primarily, your child’s bedroom is a space for rest and sleep.

I recommend keeping multi-functional use to a minimum. If it needs to be a study space as well, try to separate the study and sleeping areas as much as you can.

If the bedroom is also for studying, gaming or socialising, it can actually confuse the brain.

Our brains need simple cues to wind down and produce the chemicals needed for sleep, such as melatonin.

Organised and Calm Bedrooms for Kids With ADHD

For kids with ADHD being organised can be really hard.

Giving them the tools to be organised in a calming bedroom supports your child’s symptoms of ADHD by:

• Reducing their anxiety, as everything is ordered and familiar.
• Helping them feel secure and safe. (A brain that feels under threat cannot focus or learn because it focuses on survival responses.)
• Minimizing distractions.
• Organising personal belongings and work spaces for better productivity and less overwhelm.

young girl sitting at a desk in her bedroom daydreaming

Key Elements of Structure in ADHD Children’s Bedrooms

Let’s now look at practical ways to ensure your ADHD child’s bedroom is the calming space it needs to be.

Furniture Choices

Below, I’ve considered some furniture choices and designs that could help your child with focus, organization and relaxation.

These are just some examples.

Flexible furniture that’s easy to rearrange. Modular furniture can help to accommodate different activities and mood. A good example is a high top bed with seating or desk and storage space beneath.
Soft comfortable seating. Bean bags are great for spending time reading, or listening to music and can give regulating sensory feedback.
Organizational furniture. For example, storage boxes with labels, bookshelves, drawers and shelving will reduce overwhelm.
Built-in storage. A great use of space as it can fill floor to ceiling. Visual clutter in labelled storage boxes can be kept behind sliding doors

Effective Room Layouts: Calming Bedrooms For Kids With ADHD

What is the best bedroom layout for a child with ADHD?

Every child will have slightly different needs. Start by asking yourself 2 questions:

“How is the space going to be used?”

“What does my child need to support their ADHD profile?”

Here are some tips:

1) Ensure the bed is the dominant piece of furniture as your child needs to associate their bedroom primarily with sleep, not play.
2) Have an uncluttered, designated area for calming down and decompressing from a hectic day.
3) Provide plenty of storage solutions such as boxes, trays, shelves, totes, bins.
4) Include a study area (age dependant) . Ensure the desk can be cleared down after activities.
5) Minimize distractions in the room. Have just a few select toys or personal treasures on display. What items will be enough for your child to feel content and comfortable?
6) The bedroom is a great place to try the art of Feng Shui. It’s the ancient Chinese art of arranging an environment to optimise the flow of energy and create a harmonious balanced space to promote well-being.
7) Include some artwork of interest to your child (perhaps they love cute baby animals), but avoid too much stimulating visual distractions.

Colour Choices for Calming ADHD Bedrooms

Calming ADHD bedroom ideas really start with colour. The walls, furniture and fabrics are a vital part of the sensory environment.

Colours can affect mood and our emotions.

So what is a good choice of color?

To promote a relaxing and calm environment try using a soothing colour commonly found in nature.

Bright and bold colours tend to be overstimulating and energising. However, your bedroom needs to be a place where your child can express their individuality too.

You could add a few ‘pops’ of a favourite intense colour especially if this makes your child happy!

Best Colours for Calm Bedrooms

  • Blue
  • Green
  • Grey
  • Lavender
  • Pink
  • White
  • Earth Tones
  • Soft Yellows

Colours to Avoid in Bedrooms

  • Bright reds
  • Bright yellows
  • Intense blues
  • Bold purples
  • Bright oranges
  • Neon or electric colours

ADHD, The Senses, and Calming Bedrooms

Children with ADHD often have sensory processing differences or even SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder).

Some children experience sensory overload when they become overwhelmed by stimuli.

This can can trigger strong emotional responses such as anger, anxiety and frustration. It can also interfere with children’s executive function (the ability to start, manage, plan and organise).

Think about which sensory input might calm your child in their bedroom. For example, fragrances such as essential oils, sounds and textures.

Calming Textiles

Choosing what to include in your child’s bedroom design is easier if you think about what they already love.

For example, does your child like a silky feel, furry or tasselly?

It’s best to steer away from busy patterns although repetitious patterns such as lines or circles can be comforting for some people.

Soft surfaces tend to be the most calming so think about what kind of chair your child needs at their desk that could offer this.

boy sitting in a chair on a fleece and covered by a soft woollen blanket

Specific Sensory Tools for Calming

Each child is as unique as their sensory preferences.

Creating an environment for calm might include some of the following. Or perhaps you have some ideas of your own?

1) Weighted blankets which provide deep touch pressure.
2) Sensory mats or carpets with different textures such as bobbles, tassles or deep pile soft fibres.
3) Glow in the dark stars on the ceiling can be soothing at sleep time.
4) Gentle visual timers can help your child to manage their transitions and activities (homework time, school preparation, wind-down hour, bed-time).
5) Tents or canopies create a cosy retreat zone for seclusion and relaxation.
6) Aromatherapy diffusers give off calming scents like lavender or basil and bergamot.
7) Fidget tools such as spinners, spinning rings, textured fidget toys, click and pop stress items (save bubble wrap from deliveries!).

Lighting and Sound

Lighting and sound can have a strong impact on how your child feels in their space.

It’s just one of the ingredients that you can adjust and tailor to your child’s individual needs.

My daughter has a diffuser and soft graded lighting in her bedroom which works really well especially during the wind-down phase of her evening.

Types of Lights

The very best source of light for the body and nervous system is natural light of course! We need natural light to regulate our sleep-wake cycle.

Maximise this during the day time and use light coloured curtains or blinds that can be pulled back or up to expose the optimum amount of window.

In the evenings, it’s vital to dim lights so the body can wind down and prepare for sleep. Go for dimmer switches or lower wattage bulbs in lamps.

Low level sensory lights instead of bright main lights are perfect and might include fiber optics, fairy lights, lava lamps, kaleidoscope lamps and colour changing LED bubble tubes.

Avoid fluorescent lights and fluorescent bulbs as these are too bright and can flicker which is distracting.

girl in room surrounded by net canopy and fairy lights

Sound Options for A Calming Bedroom

ADHD kids need a calming haven they can retreat to. Their brains are typically busy and noisy and they often need help to wind down.

Sound can be a big part of this.

Certain sounds can have a super calming effect and will help with the evening wind down through to sleep.

Here are some ideas you might like to try. Remember though, every child is different so not all these ideas will be calming for your child.

  • White noise or soft music. There are lots of meditative apps that can provide consistent auditory input such as ocean waves, rainfall, the sound of a fan or soft instrumental music.
  • Brown noise for ADHD is thought to be particularly beneficial. The Newport Academy states that “Brown noise, like white noise, plays sound at all frequencies. However, brown noise plays lower frequencies louder and high frequencies softer. It’s thought to be a better color of noise to fall asleep to, because it can support sleep and relaxation”.
  • Noise-canceling headphones. These are great for when your child needs to focus such as when they are doing homework or need to focus. They work by cancelling out extraneous noise from the environment. Headphones may not suit everyone though. Some of the children I have supported report that they dislike them because it makes them hear their heart beating or the noise activity in their heads can actually become louder.

teen boy relaxing on a bean bag

DIY Calming Corners

A calming corner can be your child’s go-to place for recovering from stress, melt-downs, frustration, upset and anger.

Above all, a calming corner needs to feel ‘safe’, somewhere that your child feels able and comfortable to go to.

Ideally it needs to be a cosy corner or space which is quiet and has soft lighting. Add in some sensory elements such as beanbag chairs, blankets, fidget tools, a journaling notebook.

Why not get your child to design their own calming corner? Of course with a limited budget you may not be able to bring their full design to life, but it could be great fun to see what you can do together.

Encourage your child to use their calming corner as a tool for self-regulation, but make sure you check in with them regularly to see how they’re doing.

Calming ADHD Bedroom Ideas: Final Thoughts

Thoughtful and intentional calming ADHD bedroom ideas can really support a child with their unique ADHD needs.

Providing your child with a safe, calm and sensory space will help them enormously with the challenges of focus, organisation, self-regulation and relaxation.

When supporting ADHD kids, one of the most important areas to manage is their environment. You will not always have control of the external environment.

However, if your child has a safe and calm base to which they can return, you will know that you have contributed to their overall well-being. So be proud.

Hayley Vaughan-Smith is a Person-Centred Counsellor accredited by the National Counselling & Psychotherapy Society. She is the founder and counsellor at The Ridge Practice in Buckinghamshire, and counsellor at Everlief Child Psychology.

Hayley has a special interest in bereavement counselling and worked as a bereavement volunteer with Cruse Bereavement Care for four years.

Hayley is mum to 3 grown up girls, and gardening and walking in nature is her own personal therapy. Hayley believes being in nature, whatever the weather, is incredibly beneficial for mental health well-being.

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