Don’t you just love kids rooms? It’s an amazing opportunity to get in touch with your inner child and be wildly colourful and creative. But as the designers on The Great Interior Design Challenge know only too well, at the same time they are super challenging too.
You need to create a room for your child to get off to sleep in (Note that yellow is the most invigorating colour!). But you may also be using their bedroom as a playroom too so you want it to be stimulating and fun too. So therefore it’s a multi purpose room, one for both play and sleep and that’s a tall ask!
Pastel colours are really popular for nurseries and I think the soft gentle hues are great for sleepy or restless babies, but in no time at all those little bundles are toddlers and are on the move and into everything. I wanted to future proof my son’s bedroom to a degree so decided not to do a babyish nursery look. I painted his room Railings by Farrow and Ball, while I was still pregnant. My view was my tiny baby had spent 9 months in my tummy and was going to sleep a lot and a darkly decorated room would be really cosy and restful. I also know that children introduce a lot of bright toys and stuff into your home, and I love bright colours against dark painted walls so I knew it would look rocking.
Blackout blinds or curtains are essential, so the room can be dark at any time of the day. This helps with babies napping in the day but also helps with summer bedtimes. If you already have regular curtains you can easily update the window by popping in a discreet blackout roller blind. I always found 247Blinds great for simple but affordable ones that are delivered made to measure. For these Roman blinds I sourced a roman blind making kit off the Internet and had a local seamstress make them up for me.
Rather than go for nursery themed curtains and wallpapers, I chose a neutral wall colour and an ageless fabric for the blinds, as they were expensive to have made. The fabric is called Balyan from Osborne and Little and would look great in an interior design for any age group, even your own! Trick is to go for a simple print like a stripe or geometric as they’re alot more timeless and easy to add other prints too. I can then ring the changes with artwork, posters, bed linen and furniture as my son’s tastes and needs change over the years. This Noahs Ark bedlinen set was from John Lewis and I love all the colours, it goes with my rainbow mentality!
The next basic to think about is your floor. Your going to want to have something pretty bomb proof. From baby puke all the way up to teddy bears picnics your kids room is going to take some spills so don’t give yourself the stress of a quality fitted carpet. Carpets or rugs that have a high level of man made fibre in them are cheaper and better than being stain resistant than wool. They don’t feel or look as luxurious though, but you can save that look for your other rooms. Better still if you have a hard floor, you can whop down a really large oversized rug. Ikea is great for this, but there are some super online rug retailers too like The Rug Seller and Modern Rugs. Again you can pick a bright floor rug that adds some colour and design to the scheme
So with all the decorating done next on the list is storage and I think this is the most crucial of all. If you have the right storage systems in place it will go a long way to helping you feel like your home is still under control! It’s breathtaking how one so small can accumulate so much stuff. As soon as all the baby paraphernalia has gone then the toys and books start piling up! So I invested in a huge Kallax shelving unit from Ikea. The great thing about these is they also come with storage baskets that fit the squares. The key I think is that whatever storage systems you invest in you have storage that your child can access easily, and then some storage that’s out of reach. For example I keep paints and art materials beyond reach while books, toys, dressing up stuff are in the lower shelves.
I’ve been through a fair few amount of plastic storage tubs in my time, they are a really useful piece of kit when you’re a stylist for storing fabrics and props. So through my research you have to pay a bit more to make it worth while and the best brand that’s indestructible and easy to stack and store is from The Really Useful Storage Box Company. I’m actually quite addicted to them as they come in so many useful sizes. I find the 35ltr ones really good for train sets, Lego and then I have a few 0.9 litre ones for the collection of small toys like the Octonaut crew. Great thing is you can just buy more as you need them. Then you can get them out, kids play with their toys then they all have a place to go afterwards. I still find Tweak bunny in the most unexpected places but at least I know where to put her away. A row of hooks is a really good idea, positioned within reach of your child so they can get into the habit of hanging things away. It’s a great theory anyway!
I picked up the circus tent as a complete impulse purchase when shopping in Ikea. Its only £17 and has provided loads of fun. I use it to store all of Arthur’s soft toys in, but he has enjoyed it as a secret hideaway, a puppet theater and tipped on its side it makes a great rocket. I have to say its my total bargain must buy.
My biggest piece of advise when decorating kids rooms it’s a wonderful idea to get them involved in the design. My Mum and Dad gave me total free reign to redesign my room as a child and I distinctly remember the rainbow themed room I designed when I was 7. The sense of creativity and achievement definitely gave me the young confidence to pursue it as a career. Now Arthur is coming up to 5 I think it’s the perfect time to redecorate and he has his own opinions on how he wants his room to look. Latest idea includes pink and red stripes with a red ceiling. That’s my boy!
For more ideas and inspiration, check out my Pinterest board on kids rooms.
I’d love to know what has worked for you designing rooms for kids, please share your ideas in the comments section below.