Children's Interiors - Getting it right

I often find myself faffing in my little boys' bedroom when he's at nursery. Not because I miss him (well, I do a little bit!) but because children's bedrooms seem to gather a LOT of stuff /clutter at a staggering pace. Plus, the pesky thing about children is they grow so quickly. It didn't seem that long ago when we were frantically getting his nursery together after he arrived before we were ready (carpet was literally laid the day after he was born!). Now, it's becoming more like a little boy’s bedroom.  Gone are the cute mobiles above his cot and the chaise lounge we spent countless sleepless night trying to get comfy on and the super soft lambswool rugs and soft toys scattered around.  Now it's cool prints, a teepee and rug with a road on- and cars scattered everywhere!

It happens so quickly it's easy to see how children's bedrooms often become a mismatch of styles and colours. That old saying that 'the days are long but the years are short, is really true.

So, below I've pulled together a few tips to help you streamline your little one's room as you move through the early years, meaning a small tweak here and there can buy you some time on the big redecoration project that will inevitably come as your child hits her or his teenage years- when let's face it, you may not get too much say!

Think longevity- The Teletubbies and Peppa Pig are fun. But will they still be fun for your child in 6 months time? It's not that long ago that my son couldn't get enough of Iggle Piggle. Upsy Daisy was his first love. But not now. Now he loves Lightening McQueen.  And next month, probably someone else. My point is; make sure your overall theme isn't one your child will grow out of too quickly. By all means, include their favourite characters. But it will probably be cheaper and more fun to add them with cushions, soft toys, books or pillowcase, rather than wallpapering the whole room, with matching bedspread and curtains!  TK Maxx and Dunelm do a great line in character cushions and accessories. 

The big-ticket items in the room, like the wardrobe, bed, curtains and flooring, will be with you for a while, so choose them with the long-term in mind. A cot bed, for example, that will convert as your child grows, may be a better choice than just a cot that will need replacing in a couple of years.  Baby wardrobes are cute and help if you have a small room, but the hanging space probably won't be big enough past toddler years.  Stokke makes furniture that will go with you from nursery well into young years, with items like a change table that eventually becomes a desk and a cot that turns into a chair- now that's planning ahead!

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And don't forget about wall decor. Pictures inside frames or on hangers are easy to replace as your child grows and really help make a room feel updated for relatively little cost. For cool artwork and classic decor ideas that will stand the test of time, check out of my personal faves, @gaylemandfielddesigns and @montyandmoosh

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Think neutrals- Neutrals are popular for a reason. As we mentioned above, Cartoon characters are fun, but they also tire easily.  You can brighten up your neutral room with accents, like a bedside lamp, rug or throws and artwork on the wall. This way, your room can change with your child, the seasons and what's in fashion.  

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Take some time to research the look you're after rather than heading straight to Mothercare/Ikea/Mammas and Papas to load up- though you may well end up here if they have the look you want! Pinterest and Instagram are great sources of inspiration. And don't forget to check out smaller, independent brands for some unique ideas.  @mkkidsinteriors and @Rafa-Kids showcase clean modern and up to date inspiration on all things Children's interiors. Who'd have thought 2/3 years ago that the monochrome trend for Kids bedrooms would even be a thing but it is and 's a classic look that is standing the test of time.

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But you don't have to go monochrome or greige!

Removable wall stickers/murals (see below) are another great tool to help you update a room, without being too permanent. (Vandcdesign have a great variety for adults and kids rooms) This cool room, with the world map, will work for years... and doubles as a learning tool too! I love it.

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Think calming space- Children are hectic. And after a busy day of play, a calming space for chilling out at story time or for homework will help them to relax.  Again, this is where the neutrals help. Soft lighting and a neat space at the end of the day will help them ease into the bedtime routine- especially if you have children sharing a room.  It doesn't have to be a big space, a small reading nook with cushions and throws on the floors can easily be created for some time out.

Teepee's are everywhere at the moment (see @littlemeteepee, for a really lovely handmade selection) and if you have space, they can create a little private haven for your little ones to hideaway and play peacefully.  We use ours for story time. Plus- you can close the doors after play time and hide away all the mess inside!

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Storage solutions are another favourite of mine.  They don't have to be the stack 'em high, see-through plastic containers we often see when googling 'toy storage'. Instead, opt for stackable patterned fabric, or textured boxes that can add to your decor theme. Belly baskets are another great option. They can be housed on bookshelves or on the floor around the room. They also help children keep their space tidy if they can access the boxes- though this is definitely easier said than done.

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Think practicality- children are messy. Fact. Will that white carpet or those white floorboards REALLY stay white?  Probably not.  I had planned for white floorboards in my son's room, I was adamant. But when he arrived early we had to make some quick decisions. Sanding and replacing, as well as painting the floorboards in such a short space of time wasn't really practical- so we opted for carpet and it really was our best decision. It turns out that room is freezing, so the carpet helps retain some warmth. Also, when he started crawling, it was good for him to have a soft landing.   On the negative side, we also added a long chest of draws from Ikea. It's allowed us to store a lot (of stuff we no longer need), but it takes up a lot of floor space- so as our baby grows, this item needs to go to make room for him to play.  

Finally, think about the wall paint in your room if you're redecorating- will it wipe clean? Will it be forgiving of the inevitable bumps and scratches? Matt paint looks clean and bold, but it is not forgiving of a crayon mark...and felt tip won't wipe off (another lesson learnt).  If you're opting for paint over paper, a satin finish is smoother, and more forgiving under the strain of toddler life. Plus it helps the light reflect around the room, adding warmth and a feeling of space. 

I could go on- but I hope this provides some food for thought as you plan your kid’s rooms or update their space over the coming months.

Great independent brands for children's interiors worth checking out are:

Blue Ticking | Monty & Moosh | Messy Merlin | Burch and Brown | Harriet Hare

 

Photo Credits: Little Big Bell | Wit and Delight | Harrison and Our Home | i.pinmg | The Happy Housie | ebabee | Dinky Mix | Aenaon Art Work

I am a PR and Marketing Consultant by trade, having spent the last 20 years honing my skills in the corporate world working in TV, Gaming, the travel industry and management consultancies.  I still run a consultancy, specialising in small businesses and brands and really enjoy helping independent businesses to make a name for themselves in the public arena.

However, I am also passionate about all things interiors! And last year launched a new venture which aims to make it easier for shoppers to find unique products from small brand owners and creatives by curating the best of Instagrams small businesses to bring shoppers beautiful brands all under one roof.

 I love searching out new brands; working with them and giving them another platform help raise awareness.  But most of all, I just love interiors. I could scroll through magazines and websites looking at all the beautiful home-wares, all day long.

I've had this passion since I was a child, leafing through the latest Grattan catalogue at the home section, and then getting all giddy at the prospect of a trip to Habitat- for a treat.

These days I'm always on the look out for items for our converted Victorian coach house.  There's always something to fix and faff about with.  We've replaced drains, re wired, added log burners, replaced floorboards, insulated, plastered, painted, sanded, and grafted... the list goes on! But nothing gives me greater pleasure than finding new cushion covers, or a new rug. It's these details that really make a house a home.

And so I hope to bring a little of my passion to you, to share the things I've found on my endless searches, and to help inspire any other interiors fans.