• Olivia Hartley

How to create a fabulous (not themed) kids room

So, you might be celebrating some exciting news of an impending arrival (congratulations!) or you may be looking to give your child's room a makeover.

Whatever the reason, give these few hints and tips a quick read to make sure the space will be a joy for everyone involved.

Don't get me wrong, a theme can be a good place to start. Lots of parents go down the ‘themed' route for their offspring. The alphabet or numbers and animals for toddlers and preschoolers, superheroes and unicorns for the 5+ market. Nothing wrong with that approach in terms of the ready availability of all the items you may need. The well-known home stores will carry whole ranges to make the process incredibly easy. However, in terms of longevity, you may be spending hundreds of pounds on ready-made curtains, rugs and lampshades which will go out of favour with your most precious faster than you can say CBeebies. You are, dare I say it, also running the risk of the room looking a little flat, and perhaps, boring? If you do take this option, and can't be swayed otherwise by the gorgeous inspiration in this post, do consider removable wall stickers like these fun ones below from over wallpaper and bedding sets over blinds and curtains for a more sustainable, changeable and future proof room.

What do I recommend? Don’t be scared of using a more grown-up colour scheme in a child’s room. Classic neutrals can provide a great backdrop to neon pops of bright or primary colour. A classic wallpaper teamed with traditional furniture like a cast iron bed will stand the test of time into the teenage years and beyond. Treat it like you would any other room in your home but add a touch of the unexpected. A whole wall painted in blackboard paint, a climbing wall, a nook that turns into a den. Artwork can consist of their very own pieces of creativity framed as a gallery wall. Consider painting pre-loved furniture in a hard-wearing eggshell that you won’t feel precious about if it gets a knock or 2 from some matchbox cars. Antique and aged woods always work well in kid’s rooms and nurseries as it gives a little warmth. Teamed with some block printed fabric this classic look works well for either a girl or boy. Check out the gallery below which includes some inspo shots and previous projects.

If you are preparing for a baby and you have space, consider a larger sized cot that will convert to a cot bed when they are in the toddler years. Some of these can last up to 7 years old, however, an older child will need a more supportive mattress so this may still need changing.

Look for changing units that don’t look too ‘baby’ and have a removable changing top so they can be used as a chest of drawers later on. Check out classic changing tray as shown below. Or if you don’t mind kneeling on the floor, forgo a changing unit altogether for a plain old mat and choose drawers that will stand the test of time.

If you have space, once your little one has outgrown their cot bed consider a double or a small double to last them into their teenage years. Handy for sibling and friend sleepovers too! Cabin beds are the go too when space is at a premium. IKEA has 2 very good options that give storage and study space too.

Consider zoning the room so there are clear areas for reading, a little bookcase filled with their favourite stories and a beanbag should do it. Then as they get older an area for studying, especially if they have younger siblings; ideally with a notice board and shelving to keep stationary out of younger children’s reach. Parents have different ideas about allowing toys into the sleeping space, but if like me you are ok with this just ensure there is plenty of hidden away storage like the Ikea trouva play store that can also double as a clever window seat with a bespoke cushion. As soon as all the baby paraphernalia has gone then the toys and books start piling up! So think about investing in some shelving. Whatever storage systems you invest in you need to have storage that your child can access easily, and then some storage that’s out of reach. For example, paints and art materials beyond reach while books, toys, dressing up stuff are in the lower shelves.

Lighting is important in a child's room so if you can, invest in dimmable lighting so you can control the light levels. Otherwise, a lamp with low wattage will be handy for bedtime storytime and changing nappies at 2 am.

When it comes to walls, choose eco-friendly paint like ‘paint the town green’ or ‘little Greene paint company’. They produce wipe cleanable (always good) intelligent emulsions that have very low if any VOC’s. That is the volatile compounds that are bad for our health as well as the environment and found in many lower quality paints. If repainting children’s furniture, especially cots (which may get gnawed on!) Always use natural paint like Earthborn so you can be sure it’s toxin-free. Check out some of the nature inspired colour palettes and bold patterned walls for kids rooms below. If you care about trends, this one isn't going away anytime soon. Its good advice to decorate your new babies room a few weeks in advance to allow for any toxins and chemicals to clear. Why not invest in some air-cleaning plants like Large Calathea (Maui or Medallion), Crispy Wave Fern, Kangaroo Paw Fern, Chinese Money Plant or the Golden Genua). These plants are also non-toxic to pets, delivering air purifying goodness and a mood-boosting atmosphere. We always suggest keeping them on shelves or hanging planters if anything to prevent spills.

Hope this helps on your journey to creating a wow environment for your little one – but if you do get stuck, just give us a call and I will gladly come to the rescue as designing room for kids is my fave! I’d also love to know what has worked for you designing rooms for kids, please share your ideas in the comments section below.

Over and out, Olivia X

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