When it comes to decorating children’s bedrooms, I’ve found – like most things child-related - it pays to be decisive but flexible. Children change and grow so fast, it’s better not be dictated to by their tastes at a particular time. Allow them some influence, but create a space that is fluid and will grow with them over many years to come...
For my daughter’s room, I’ve kept the walls neutral and been adventurous with the textiles and moveable details, at each step thinking versatility – for example, could those pelmet curtains work in another room at a later date, or would this wall colour be suitable if I turned this into a study or another mini guest room. Nothing stays the same for long, so it’s worth investing in décor that is in it for the long haul.
With space limited, the starting point in this room was the wonderful Button & Sprung bed. It was the main furniture feature so I wanted to make the most of it. I was drawn to the rich moss velvet (perfect for hiding grubby finger-marks) and elaborate Rococo-style headboard, and it all went from there. Aside from looking lovely, I was struck by how well the bed is made – you can see from the quality of the drawers beneath – and this piece will last long after the little ones have stopped jumping on it. I have my eye on a few more.
Gilly Nicolson bedlinen is something of an obsession of mine. The elegant piping, in ribbon or corded stitching, makes even the messiest of bedrooms feel well-ordered and polished. Their children’s collection allows you to add a little embroidered design – a sailing boat, a toy soldier or fishing penguin – and gives a lovely bespoke touch, while the sheets feel wonderful too. I try to make the children’s beds as inviting as possible – anything that encourages them to stay in them rather than coming downstairs asking for another glass of milk. I’ve topped the bed off with a feather-filled quilt, cosy to curl up under, especially in winter – Belinda Davies is a whizz when it comes to handmade eiderdowns. Here’s to lots of sleepy heads.
I think it’s important for children to grow up around ever-changing art and visual inspiration, a space to spark their creativity and imagination. Rather than investing in a single mural or wall art, I decided to choose some popular prints that can easily be replaced as soon as they tire of them. I filled a collection of frames with pages from a current reading favourite – Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. Though solid wood and handmade, the frames, by Abstract House, were inexpensive (they are stocked at H&M Home) and above the dado rail, I added ribbon with double-sided tape. Again it’s easy to change without redecorating and the tape doesn’t damage the paintwork.
Many homes have interior bedroom windows, which are so hard to know what to do with. I wanted a window film that would work whoever was staring at it and settled on John Constable’s Study of Cirrus Clouds at Surface View – a brilliant brand for decorating a whole manner of awkward spaces. And who doesn’t enjoy a little cloud watching after all?
Window film, from £90, Surface View
THE BOOK CORNER
This book ledge was actually given to me by a neighbour, so the style has changed now, but Great Little Trading still has a good selection of similar designs. I painted it to blend into the wall as the room is so small – it’s perfect for holding a bedtime drink and nightlight, or to display my daughter’s favourite books without taking up too much room.
Star book ledge, £20, Great Little Trading Co.
I loved this Thibaut fabric as soon as I saw it – it was beautiful but had a hint of adventure, something my daughter loves, and I teamed it with this giraffe print because I figured, well, why not? A little print makes a room come alive and I love mixing and matching colours and patterns. The wall light I chose for the classic brass fitting and the playful shade (again easy to change). And the print is a beautiful illustration of my daughters and I, by the artist Maria Laura Fedi.
Mumford brass fitting, £67, and shibori linen shade, £30, Pooky