Design with Autism in Mind

When choosing colors for children, we automatically think of primary colors: red, yellow and blue. Although these colors are used in many classrooms and kid’s bedrooms, for the child on the spectrum, these colors can be sensory overload. There are many components to creating a safe and organic environment without compromising the design. Here are some tips!

Let’s start with the walls

First I like to find out what the child loves. For example, if the child loves the water or the outdoors, I recommend hues of soft violets, sea blue or mint green. These colors are soothing and have a calming effect.

BLog Paint

Used Color Snap computer app by Sherwin-Williams L: Mint Condition R: Meander Blue

Sensory issues:

Try textured wallpaper as an accent wall. I like to sit with the child and parent to go over swatches of wall coverings. This gets tough, especially if the child likes the feel of two or three patterns. Easy fix, we flip-a-coin.


L: Phillips Jeffries Textured Wallpaper  R: Arte Wallcoverings


Lot’s of natural light entering a room can be welcoming. But finding the right amount of natural light can be difficult. In this case, I like to use roll-up shades to block direct sun when it can beam directly into a room. Roll-up shades come in a vast array of colors. However, studies do show that sunlight improves overall health, while there is no evidence of the adverse effects of fluorescent and incandescent lighting on children with Autism. I recommend the use of LED lighting; therefore I like to use a bubble fish, or rocket shaped lamps that are interactive day and night as well as warm and calming.

Left: LED Fish lamp, Right: Tug O’Lamp

Accessories and furniture selection:

When accessorizing a room for a child make sure not to over do it, less can be more. An age appropriate yoga ball chair is a great item to have in the room or a bean-bag or two. A warm fuzzy accent pillows on the bed, and a soft comforter in a warm color can be very appealing. Instead of picture frames in the room, opt for some inspirational frames that will inspire the child.

Left: Fur Rockin’ Roller Desk Chairs, Right: Rose Twist Pillow Cover both available at:

Designing a room for the Autistic child in mind inspires me to create a design for such a beautiful mind.