| 12.4°C Dublin

Kids have rights: why it’s important to involve children in the design of their own bedrooms

Close

Alice in Wonderland Inspired Bedroom by Monarch Architects with MrBunny Bed from Circu

Alice in Wonderland Inspired Bedroom by Monarch Architects with MrBunny Bed from Circu

Quiet Pond paint from Colourtrend

Quiet Pond paint from Colourtrend

Dana Kallo

Dana Kallo

Children's room by Dana Kallo of Black Fox Interiors

Children's room by Dana Kallo of Black Fox Interiors

Children's room by Dana Kallo of Black Fox Interiors

Children's room by Dana Kallo of Black Fox Interiors

Children's room from Dana Kallo

Children's room from Dana Kallo

Large Rainbow hot air balloon model from Rooms for Rascals

Large Rainbow hot air balloon model from Rooms for Rascals

/

Alice in Wonderland Inspired Bedroom by Monarch Architects with MrBunny Bed from Circu

One of the basic principles of interiors is that the design should flow from one room to another, creating a sense of continuity between the spaces. Children’s rooms are the exception. They’re not just another room; they’re another world.

In a kid’s room we’re opening a door into a different universe,” says Dana Kallo, principal of Black Fox Interiors. “It’s almost like set design.” During the pandemic, children spent a lot of time in their bedrooms. There were multiple downsides to this, but one of the major positives was that many kids began to take an interest in design. “Some of them are very talented and it’s important to them that they have their own space.”

Close

Quiet Pond paint from Colourtrend

Quiet Pond paint from Colourtrend

Quiet Pond paint from Colourtrend

While parents prioritise storage and timeless design, the kids draw their inspiration from TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. Expect requests for LED strip lighting, gallery walls, loft beds, gamer desks, and TikTok dance studios. Not all their suggestions may be suitable for the average Irish home. For Kallo, the main thing is to engage them in the design process. “If possible, school-age children should be involved in their room redesign. It gives them the opportunity to understand choice and the work required to achieve it. They will appreciate their room more if they’re contributing to it.”

Smaller children, who may not have a notion of budget, can be offered a choice of two affordable items. But it’s also important to listen to the dream.

When redesigning children’s rooms, most parents are concerned to create a room that will stand the test of time. For Kallo, this is a relatively straightforward process. “The best way to start is by transforming the room in a neutral canvas. Choosing the important pieces of furniture like bed, wardrobe and desk in white, grey, black or natural wood finish is a good way of future-proofing the room. Using this as a base for the room design, we can now layer decorations and accessories that are more colourful and bold, themed or hobby-inspired. These are the elements that we expect to change as children grow up and move on to the next favourite cartoon, game or movie.”

Close

Dana Kallo

Dana Kallo

Dana Kallo

While there are many engaging themed children’s beds on the market, furniture that is not age-related will last longer and plain design can be masked with accessories. Take, for example, a toddler who likes Peppa Pig. A themed toddler bed from Littlewoods Ireland costs €299. Parental refusal is both rational and reasonable. Consider sweetening the deal with a Peppa Pig duvet set (€29) and –  if you want to go the whole hog – a set of Peppa Pig curtains (€33). Combine them with an (ageless and cordless) blackout blind from €32.

Home & Property Newsletter

Get the best home, property and gardening stories straight to your inbox every Saturday

This field is required

If a child has their heart set on an actual themed bed, consider upholstering a simple headboard with themed fabric that can be changed over time. And, when an item is finally outgrown, and is still in reasonable repair, pass it on to someone else.

In Ireland, children are often assigned to the smallest room in the house. “Trying to make their tiny room a suitable place to play, study and sleep might be asking too much from one single room,” Kallo says. If the room is very small, a separate study space in another part of the house might be more feasible than squeezing in a desk. It’s also better for sleep hygiene. People of all ages sleep more peacefully in a room where they don’t also work, but that’s not always possible.

Close

Children's room by Dana Kallo of Black Fox Interiors

Children's room by Dana Kallo of Black Fox Interiors

Children's room by Dana Kallo of Black Fox Interiors

Many of the kids’ bedrooms designed by Black Fox Interiors include built-in furniture – beds, desks and storage – which make excellent use of the available space. “If you want something to last a very long time, bespoke furniture is the way to go. It’s well-made, sturdy, and you can specify what you want. But it’s expensive.” In some projects she’s reduced the overall cost by combining built-in beds with off-the-peg flatpack storage units from Ikea.

Its modular forms allow for flexibility and when correctly assembled it will last a lot longer than if cobbled together by someone who loathes flatpack furniture. “Be careful to check the weight allowance,” she warns. “You don’t want to overload it.”

Close

Children's room by Dana Kallo of Black Fox Interiors

Children's room by Dana Kallo of Black Fox Interiors

Children's room by Dana Kallo of Black Fox Interiors

As with all aspects of interior design, lighting tends to be neglected in the planning. Children’s room are often left with a single central pendant that is inadequate to their needs. People of all ages need task lighting where they might be reading or studying and ambient lighting to relax. “I’m a big fan of wall lights for kids’ rooms,” Kallo says. “And I prefer decorative fairy lights to the more aggressive LED strips, although they’re popular too.”

In terms of aesthetics for children’s rooms, the trend seems divided between a muted Scandi look and a rowdy assemblage of primary colours.

“The Scandi-style looks fabulous in a magazine but you only have to empty out a box of Lego on the floor to ruin it,” says Jim Mason, co-owner of Rooms for Rascals. “I think that’s why parents tend to go for brighter colours. It’s easier to hide the mess. I think that’s what parents want at the end of the day.”

Close

Children's room from Dana Kallo

Children's room from Dana Kallo

Children's room from Dana Kallo

It’s four years since Jim and his wife, Imelda Mason, launched their online store. Based in Co Kildare, they’re planning to open a bricks-and-mortar store before the end of the year. The idea came to them when they were decorating for their own children. “We were buying stuff for the girls and wondering why it cost so much,” Jim admits. “We thought there was a gap in the market.” That gap falls somewhere between the chichi nursery décor beloved of wealthy urbanites and the international superstores.

Rooms for Rascals stocks interesting decorations for kids’ rooms. “We try to keep it as sustainable as possible and we try to keep the prices down.”

Their best sellers are models of hot air balloons (from €24.50 to €120 depending on size), which hang from the ceiling. “People buy them as gifts but I’ve also sold them to adults who want to keep them for themselves,” Jim admits. Wall murals (€82) are also hugely popular as are their children’s rugs in washable cotton (from €69 to €229). “We spot things that we love and then we sell them,” he says, “That’s how we do it.”

Close

Large Rainbow hot air balloon model from Rooms for Rascals

Large Rainbow hot air balloon model from Rooms for Rascals

Large Rainbow hot air balloon model from Rooms for Rascals

One thing that he’s noticed, though, is that gendering kids’ décor has gone out the window. “That’s massively changed and we’d try to steer away from it anyway. Parents are trying to keep their kids’ rooms gender neutral. Even the balloons – the rainbow ones are our best sellers.” Because who doesn’t need a rainbow coloured hot air balloon!

See blackfoxinteriors.com, roomsforrascals.ie, littlewoodsireland.ie


Most Watched





Privacy