Designing a Bedroom for Autistic Child

Last night I was speaking with a parent of an autistic child and she expressed her feeling of being lost in designing her daughter’s room.   Designing any space can be somewhat confusing.  If you are in need of a few ground rules for designing a space for a child or a child with special needs, please consider the following things:

  • Be certain to purchase heavy and sturdy furniture.  All shelves, dresser and freestanding pieces should be securely fastened to the walls and/or floors.
  • Don’t forget to add safety latches on all drawers, doors and cabinets being used as storage in their bedroom or play area.
  • Replace regular outlets with safety outlets as shown below.
  • Remember to place child’s toys low enough for easy reach and play.
  • Pad all sharp edges of furniture
  • Remove lids from any box or containers being used to store toys.
  • Make sure all draw pulls and knobs are too small to be used as a climbing tool, but large enough not to be swallowed.  Also don’t forget to make sure all pulls and knobs are securely fastened.

When designing a bedroom for children with special needs, autism, etc. consider that they may issues sleeping.  They may issues falling asleep because of their sensitivity to outside stimuli.  Children without autism can usually sleep through small noises, or being tucked in and kissed goodnight, but an autistic child may have an adverse reaction to this.

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Flooring choice is important in an autistic child’s bedroom.  Carpeting the floor or a large rug can soften footsteps.  Check for any creaks in the doors.  I strongly recommend using blackout window treatments or blinds in an autistic child’s bedroom.

When selecting window treatments for their room take into consideration they may be used to climb or pulled down.  Hard window treatment aka blinds and shade be cordless or motorized.  Also don’t forget to install window guards at the bottom of windows in their bedrooms and play area.

Consider placement of furniture; be careful not to place furniture in a way that can lead to other hazards and dangers.

Color choice for their room is equally as important as the above mentioned.  Calming colors are usually best and there are hues of colors to avoid.  Consult with an interior designer about appropriate color choices for their bedroom.  Even on a limited budget a 2-4 hour consultation will give you a space plan, color consultation, and window treatment.

Don’t forget to have a calm zone for tantrums.  Create an area that is calming, safe, and secure.

7 thoughts on “Designing a Bedroom for Autistic Child

  1. Stacey, Did you know that the room that you designed for an Autistic child is a chemical soup. There is more and more scientific proof that children do better..the purer we can create their environment. Sorry to be so blunt,but if you specified regular synthetic carpet there are many proven carcnogenic chemical including stain repellent sprayed on top of the carpet and most likely formaldahyde off-gassing from the pad. You didn’t mention anything
    about making sure the room is created to be safe from an Interior Air Quality Standard. I would encourage you,the next time you have an autistic child/client become more aware of the materials that you specify and the inherent chemicals that you are putting in the rooms…I was a
    designer just like you..until i became injured from all the chemicals..new paint,synthetic carpet,fabrics, etc.

    1. Susan, Sorry for your injury. My article is on suggestions for a room for an autistic child’s room. We are still working on the actual child’s room. The picture you are referring to is an advertisement for honeycomb blinds. Please read article again.

  2. Do you know my son? Thanks so much for the helpful tips. He is pulling down shades and having trouble sleeping. If you have any brands that are pull-proof, that would be awesome!!!!

  3. LOL… no I do not know your, so but my boys were definitely a handful when they were younger. There are a view things you can do for you son’s room. Please provide a little more information; your son’s age, how many windows, where in the room are the windows located, etc? Thanks

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  5. My son has torn out the shades that I have on his bead room and started eating the back of it do you have any suggestions on what make of shades or kind of shades are autistic proof???

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