So many designers admit that their first ‘project’ was their own bedroom. It seems that designing their own rooms sparked a lifelong passion for interior design, which made me think about how our childhood bedrooms are so influential in all of our lives. Childhood bedrooms are a place of independence, where little people can carve out their own space in the world. It’s where they go to sleep and dream, read and play – and sometimes for time-out! It’s a place to keep their books and the things that are precious to them. Kids bedrooms should be a space to spark imagination, feel safe and comforted.
I love kids’ rooms that let them be kids. There should be an opportunity for them to put their stamp on the space, even if their preferred ‘colour palette’ may not flow with the rest of the house. After all, it’s their way of expressing themselves through their surroundings, which is so important! However, at the end of the day, we need to balance their ideas with what will look good. In my experience with my daughters, their influences range from the plastic fantastic Barbie Dream House to Sylvanian Family country cottage. They need guidance!
The best kids rooms happen when their ideas are integrated into the concept for a room, but executed in a more refined way. Above all, the space should show their personality. So if that means a crazy stack of books here, a fleet of plastic trucks there, or a Barbie campervan, then so be it. They won’t be kids forever!
When I design kids’ rooms for my clients, I love to ask the kids a few questions so that I incorporate their ideas. Some kids have never given what their bedroom looks like a second thought, while others provide mood boards! It’s a lot of fun. Be careful what you wish for though, I have been asked to do a cactus/outer space theme… that one was challenging!
If there is one room in the house you can avoid white, it’s the kid’s bedroom! Even a subtle shift from white to a buttery cream wall (we love Dulux’ Pancake Mix, as seen above!) adds so much warmth and interest to the room, whilst still offering a calm, neutral base.
Painting all of the walls a beautiful colour creates a different feel to the rest of the house, and makes the room feel like it’s really ‘theirs’. Even painting the bottom half of the wall is a great way to introduce colour in an impactful way, without committing to the entire room.
When choosing a colour for the walls, firstly think about what kind of mood you want to create. Sometimes the first thoughts are to go fun and bright, however if you want the room to feel restful (ie. if you want young kids to actually go to sleep!) then maybe consider some more calming and muted colours.
But paint is just one way to use colour in a room, consider how fabric can add gorgeous colour. An upholstered bedhead or curtains can be a great way to incorporate colour, while an incredible canopy over the bed is sure to delight and make bedtime a little more fun!
Using wallpaper in a kid’s room is a lot of fun – but it can be totally overwhelming to decide on a design! The more colours in the design, the busier the room will feel. However, if the pattern is quite busy, but incorporates just a few colours, it will look more harmonious overall. I encourage my clients to consider wallpaper on all of the walls in a room, as it creates a continuous backdrop to the room, with less breaks in colour and pattern. My tops pics for wallpaper are:
1. These Walls is an Australian brand perfect for a youthful yet sophisticated look suited to tween – teenage rooms.
2. Anewall print murals to suit the wall size you need and they have some beautiful painterly and overscaled designs.
3. Sandberg is another go-to. The designs are floral but with a sophisticated Swedish twist.
There is absolutely no reason that kids shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy art in their bedrooms. There are so many types of artwork – consider prints, vintage posters, fabulous tea-towels by Third Drawer Down, mobiles and even kids’ own masterpieces!
Art can also be found in more traditional gallery spaces, however, broaden your search to markets (like The Big Design Market), Etsy, antique stores and auction houses. Try using different coloured frames and arranging them in creative ways.
Storage, shelving + keeping things tidy!
Storage is key in keeping my sanity at home, but I’ve found that there is some storage that works better than others. To get the kids to pack up their own things (I can dream right?), storage needs to be accessible. High shelves don’t work, because they simply can’t reach them, so opt for low shelving and cupboards. There needs to be a combination of open and closed storage; they like to keep some of their favorite things on display, whilst games can go in a cupboard.
Too many baskets filled with toys can just take up floor space, so put your baskets into shelves. The key is to have a place for everything to go – lego, games, toys and barbies all have a ‘home’.
Kids love to have a special drawer or cupboard for their precious things (mostly consisting of rocks from the garden, erasers from Smiggle and stickers). Mustard have a great range of lockers that make perfect bedside tables for small people.
Plyroom do an open shelf that suits books and baskets, with a range of furniture that suits little kids and transitions into pieces to keep for life.
Pinky’s Store has cute colourful crates that stack.
The String Pocket is a perfect way for them to display their favorite toys (let’s face it, maybe your idea of a nice wooden handmade toy is different to the Shopkins and matchbox cars given to them by the grandparents) but almost anything displayed on this nifty Swedish system looks good.
Bunk beds are having a moment. They certainly have the novelty factor, especially custom-made bunks, with curtains for added bonus points! Bunks give kids the kind of space where they can hide and feel cocooned and safe. A little shelf to keep their favorite books close, with a reading light inside makes bedtime a little more enticing. Well, we can hope!
In terms of bedlinen – this is the quickest and most affordable way to add impact easily to a kids room. Letting them choose their own bedlinen (from an edited selection!) is a way that they can take pride in their own choices too. A great way to create a room that looks cohesive is to select the bedlinen first and then choose a wall colour based in the bedlinen. Afterall, the bedlinen selection is limited compared to the paint colours available!