Sociable kitchens, sparkling bathrooms and stylish bedrooms are difficult to perfect, but children’s bedrooms present a whole different dilemma. They need to be sylish as well as practical. But how can you turn your child’s space into an interior design oasis? We asked interior designers for their thoughts.
Judith Todd, designer at Homestyle 4 You, understands that children’s rooms are not easy, but has a few easy ideas to make the renovation slightly simpler.
“Children’s bedrooms are always a headache,” says Judith. “You begin with a baby, progress to a toddler, move on to a younger child, then finish with a teenager. This means that the functions of the room will change over time and also the décor.
“My top tips would therefore be to keep the background neutral by selecting a light colour for the walls and floors. Designate one wall as a feature wall that that can be changed from time to time as your child grows. Keep the others painted rather than papered as a coat of paint is something that is very easy and cheap to change. Remember children’s tastes can change very quickly depending on the latest craze.
“With older children, involve them in the process, from what they want the room to be (study area, chill out zone, friends meeting place) and décor. This is likely to involve some negotiation but remember that the more they like their room, the more likely they are to keep it clean and tidy.”
“Having started from a neutral background, it is time to add character,” says Judith. “Start with the feature wall – a mural for a baby or toddler, for slightly older children, a wallpaper depicting their favourite cartoon character, a hobby or a world map. This is where you can really involve your child in the choices. Bedding, lighting and rugs are a simple way to add character and can be changed to suit your child’s changing interests.
“Furniture is very important because a child’s room often has to serve several purposes. I would always recommend choosing furniture that can be adapted as the child grows or to serve more than a place to sleep. For example, there are lots of beds that incorporate desks or have a pull out for sleepovers. Finally never forget storage; this is critical for a child of any age. Make a plain wardrobe interesting by painting it or adding panels of wallpaper.”
Mixing fashion with function
Ali Lovegrove, director of Gigi Brooks, talked to Country & Townhouse about her favourite ways to decorate a child’s bedroom. She said that it is important to tie the design of the children’s room with the rest of the property to keep the style consistent.
Don’t forget the importance of making the room functional with lots of storage space, too. “Children amass a whole range of toys and games over the years and while it is nice to display some particularly nostalgic and meaningful pieces, ensuring they have a dedicated toy box or storage system will help bring order to the chaos,” she said.
Ali also recommends personalising artwork or decorations with the child’s name to help them feel like it is really their own personal space.
Let personality shine
“Children’s interiors can be as wild as their little imaginations,” says Samantha Morphew of Morph Designs. “From themes varying from fire eating dragons to fluffy mice dressed as ballerinas. Why not let their room be a part of their personality?”
“This is one room where it can stand on its own and all rules with in-keeping decor throughout the home can move aside. Standard stereotypes of baby pink and blue rooms can be updated to stronger patterns, with the use of print and in some cases the colour palette of monochrome.”
“As a child, my creative imagination would run wild with my plain 80s blue twist carpet acting as a perfect sea bed for me to believe I was a mermaid. Add staging and theatre to a room in order to give it a theme and let children have fun with it.”
“Creating a magical space with character and personality can be easily added with soft furnishings and accessories. In some cases it is wise to leave neutral interiors and add accessories that fill the room with colour and visual interest. This will stand the test of time and identity can be added and changed as the child grows.”
“Revamp a room quickly by up cycling furniture. Paint original pieces and change the handles. Adding a patterned rug can add instant design effect to a plain carpet.
Be a bright spark and be playful with lighting concepts from fairy lights to quirky table lamp bases and shades.”
Easy to play
“Elin’s advice for designing children’s rooms is to consider above all what your child’s interests and needs are, what they are playing with and how they play. Perhaps they don’t need a large table or desk that takes up a lot of space, if they always play on the floor or at the kitchen table. It should be easy for them to find their toys and to play, and preferably to clean up after themselves. In Edda’s room, for example, her kitchen and little dining area occupy 1/4 of the room, since that’s what she plays with the most. Also her puzzles, books and dolls are easy for her to reach and play with, since that is what she loves the most.”
If you would prefer an expert to cast an eye over your child’s space, Room to Bloom offer complete renovations as well as inspiration workshops.
Ursula Wesselingh from Room to Bloom shared some tips with House & Garden magazine. She said: “Map out the functions of the room and zone it accordingly. Drawing up a floor plan will help you with space planning by showing you how furniture will fit and where sockets and light points should be. This will help when future-proofing the room.”
Find out more about the interior designers featured in this article:
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