Bright ideas for a room to call their own

A vintage-themed child’s space by interior stylist Jacinda Malloy. Old suitcases are given new life storing children’s toys.
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A child’s bedroom is not just their escape hatch from the world, but their own personal place. Designing a room should take into account the child’s personality and their favourite colours, says interior designer Salli Sheedy, from Tiipii Interiors.

”From around four years old, children start to have their own opinion. They have a favourite colour or favourite movie, and I incorporate that into the design.”

Sheedy works with a neutral base and introduces colours with accessories. ”Greys are fashionable. But it’s important to get the right grey. A warm grey can easily incorporate other colours.”

But sometimes children have different ideas. Interior designer Jacinda Malloy, from Hide & Sleep, spoke with one nine-year-old who wanted red walls. His mother wasn’t so enthusiastic. ”It’s the child’s room and they need to enjoy playing in the room, so we incorporated red without having to paint all the walls red.”

Colours and themes can be introduced, and easily replaced, with accessories such as cushions and rugs. Children might want pirates one year, dinosaurs the next.

Changing cushion covers and rugs is a lot easier than changing the wallpaper or painting another mural. Removable wall stickers are another easy interchangeable decor idea, and they don’t damage the paintwork.

But don’t be afraid to use colour, says interior designer Nicole Rosenberg, from Little Liberty. ”It brings happiness into the room and makes it fun.”

Her eldest daughter’s room has pops of yellow. ”My daughter is obsessed with fluoro, and so am I. The fluoro trend is a massive trend, and it’s fun.” Her three-year old son has a navy, red and black vintage-styled room with an industrial feel. ”It suits his personality.”

Malloy likes to design a play area in the room. Depending on the child’s likes and interests, she simply adds an easel to turn a corner into an arts and crafts section, or adds some hooks to the wall to hang musical instruments.

Parents want attractive storage solutions, says Stephanie Banis, stylist at Fantastic Furniture, which has some fun storage cubes in bright colours.

”Children like to collect things and display them, but the trick is to work out what to display and what to put away,” says Rosenberg, who uses open boxes to display items and closed boxes to conceal.

”Have a place for everything and everything in its place. Make a specific spot for items. This way they have more of a chance of being put back. Use hooks for bags, hooks for headphones, a wall-mounted pouch for slippers, desk accessories, etc.”

Joanne McWhinney, director of Kids In Designed Spaces, says room design is now much more eclectic with a child’s interests reflected in novel artwork, interesting wall graphics, (or) displayed collections.

”Parents are becoming more style conscious. Children’s bedrooms are also being decorated to match the style of the rest of the home,” she says.

But a child’s bedroom is their world and they might want it to be different to the rest of the home. Help your child design the room, and remember to let the fun in!Nursery 101

It’s fun to plan a baby’s nursery, but keep it simple, say the experts. The nursery should be a calm, quiet place for babies to sleep.

Parents are moving away from the traditional pink and blue nurseries, says Salli Sheedy, interior designer and director of Tiipii Interiors. She is in the middle of designing a grey and yellow nursery.

”A nursery with warm grey on walls with splashes of warm yellow colour looks lovely. Yellow is neutral, which makes it a good choice.”

Jessica Elmer, director of Kids Interior Designs, says brighter, stronger colours are coming through in nurseries, but not fluoros as they are too bright. ”Dark fuchsia and aqua are strong colours that look good.”

Wall decorations are popular and removable wall stickers in a range of designs, from magic trees to elephants, are widely available. ”Monochromatic subtle designs are popular, [as are] butterflies and tree silhouettes,” says Sheedy.

Storage is an important element in a nursery. You need a place for nappies, blankets, clothes and toys.

There is a move towards the vintage look, says Sheedy. ”Parents are looking to vintage for character. They are looking to the past for inspiration. A lot of people are doing handcrafted mobiles.”

Sheedy likes using old suitcases as storage for babies’ toys, and old, cast-iron cots repainted a bright colour to create a fresh look.

Another practical nursery favourite of Elmer’s is a chest of drawers with a nappy change station on top. And last but not least: a comfy armchair is important for night feeds.Top tips

1. Assess the space

In a small space, keep it simple in terms of colour and items.

2. Proportion

Get the furniture proportions right.

3. Stick to a colour theme

The room looks calm and co-ordinated.

4. Storage boxes

Consider sturdy boxes with chalkboards on the front so children can label what’s in the box.

5. Keep bed linen simple

Steer away from busy bedding with butterflies, bows, hearts or pirate ships stamped all over it.

6. Lighting

Consider pendant lights, which can alter the feel of a room.


The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.


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