A place in the fun - Children's bedrooms
Designing children’s rooms and play areas may sound simple – lots of colour, lots of ‘fun’ accessories – but there are other important factors to consider, including the age of the child, safety and how easy it’s going to be to clean! Interior designer Elaine McHale gives her top tips
Children's bedrooms and play areas should be stimulating, comfortable and, above all, safe. Think of how the room will evolve - you don’t want to have to redesign it every second year so start off by keeping the colours simple.
White is a great choice for a nursery. It’s easy to freshen up, and you can quickly add accessories in any colour. The great thing about white is that it looks expensive, but it doesn’t have to be and it’s very easy to achieve. Team it with neutral walls – beige, grey – and add splashes of colour with bright fabrics in simple check or striped fabrics (try KA International and Laura Ashley for fabrics). Some simple artwork will keep the look contemporary and fresh.
Opt for a washable paint. Crown’s Easy Clean emulsion is a super-strong, stain-resistant and scrubbable paint (available in brilliant white and 26 shades). Wood, doors and radiators can be subjected to knocks from bikes and school bags, so try Dulux’s Realife cupboard paint, which boasts being 10 times tougher than regular satin paint.
The reality is that most girls love pink. Opt for pastels rather than bright pinks; try Cath Kidston, or any one of the many pink wallpapers from the Laura Ashley Collection. Alternatively, opt for a floral colour scheme in blue or green.
If you really want a strong colour scheme for your boy’s bedroom, you can’t beat the combination of red, blue and white – it’s fresh, and smart looking. Choose one colour as the dominant shade or keep the walls white and choose red and blue accessories. You can use denim fabric as a funkier alternative to cotton. Furniture should be white or a pale wood colour.
Bright colours, such as red, blue, yellow or green, can be energising and stimulating – US studies have found that splashes of orange and yellow may boost IQ by 12pc. However, it’s best to use bright colour spar¬ingly so as not to over-stimulate – incor¬porate colourful artwork, wallstickers or a colourful set of drawers as a good compro¬mise. Wallstickers and murals can be cust¬omised to suit a specific wall and are a very dynamic and fun option of adding interest to the design – they also have the added benefit of being temporary. Murals can be educa¬tional – ie world maps – or fun and there are lots of online companies that supply a huge range of temporary stickers and murals. (See www.belleandrollo.ie overleaf.)
Keep televisions out of your child’s bed¬room, and instead help them develop a love of music with a good old-fashioned radio or up-to-date stereo system.
Ideally children should be involved in designing their bedrooms. Divide the bed¬room into work, rest and play areas. Chil¬dren want lots of floor space for playing, so arrange the room with this in mind. One of the best kids’ bedroom decorating ideas is to centre the play space around a washable rug, in a dark pattern. Hopefully, this will save your carpet or floor from messy accidents. Always put non-skid pads under rugs, for safety. B&Q do these.
Make sure the bedroom is well lit. General ambient lighting – ie a pendant light or recessed lights – will provide general light¬ing. Task lighting for study purposes and reading can be provided with a desk lamp (IKEA have good ones). Remember to also make sure the room is dark at night so that children get a good night’s sleep. A blackout blind is a simple and effective window treat¬ment and comes in a range of colours. Sup¬pliers include IKEA, B&Q and Laura Ashley.
Older kids – fantasy bedrooms
Encourage your children to think and express themselves in their own bedrooms. It should be a place of fantasies – so create themes based on their interests such as nature, machines, fairies, pirates, princesses and sailors. Add some nautical flavour with striped fabrics and accessories from Cath Kidston. Cast your little prince or princess in their own fairytale with pretty fairy lights and bunting (try Avoca) scattered around their room.
Also choose a washable floor, wipe–clean painted surfaces and washable fabrics. Vinyl is great and warm underfoot. Floorboards are good too – you can paint them and put down colourful rugs, so the inevitable mess can be easily sorted!
Contact Elaine McHale at: firstname.lastname@example.org or see www.homeinteriors.ie