Some of us can be discouraged by the idea of spending money on our children's bedrooms as we aren't sure that the designs our children love now will still be their favourites in a couple of years time. Perhaps you're in a rental & don't want to invest too much in something that isn't yours. Perhaps your child is in a room that needs to be versatile enough to work for a potential younger sibling of either gender. Whatever your situation, there are ways to make your children's zone feel like their own haven & there are ways to do it smartly, ensuring that your child doesn't grow out of their room or that the room can be handed over to a younger sibling.
1: AVOID TRENDS
My advice would be to decorate the room using colours & products that will stand the test of time, rather than adorning your child's walls with the latest Disney characters or wall to wall murals of their favourite pop stars. These are fickle, fleeting images; your child will be bored in no time and your pocket suffers. Luckily, for those that simply must follow trends or those that genuinely love what's in right now, the greys lend for a very gender neutral backdrop.
Of course every parent & child is different & some encourage their child's growth & personality to develop in different ways. However, I personally don't believe in setting the pink/blue sex stereotype immediately, I find myself asking why do we do it? I personally think it's important to let your child's personality develop around either neutral or fun filled colour, rather than the pinks-for-girls & blues-for-boys ideal. I also believe that our personalities & personal growth are driven or effected hugely by our surroundings. Be guided by them as their personality grows & react to feedback from them on certain pieces & colours in rooms, you'll quickly learn what they are drawn to & what they are disinterested in.
I think it's important to inject imagination & wit into a child's room design. Your child's imagination needs to be fed every waking moment. Think outside the box & revert to your childhood- what elements did your favourite places all have in common? For you it may have been strong colours, or a sense of adventure or cosyness, or even a particular theme.
2: Consider Colour Psychology
The issue of colour brings me onto this next tip: Be careful- & be smart- with colour. There needs to be a perfect balance when it comes to colour in a child's room. Let me explain- Greys work beautifully with canary yellow. That's a gender neutral scheme right there. Canary yellow is a friendly, cheerful colour & so, is a great colour for a child's positive mental development. However, strong yellow is also an incredibly stimulating colour, so if it can be seen from the child's eye line when lying in its cot, don't expect much sleep tonight, Mum & Dad.
Reds tend to overstimulate a child. As a rule, psychologically, red gives us energy, life, some say even power. It can also encourage aggressive behaviour & lead to an inability to focus. Hence, never place red within your baby's eye line from the changing table or your baby might do flips, wiggles & rolls when you're elbow deep. Disaster.
3: CONTROL THE LIGHT
If you have a baby or napping toddler then you will already know the Godsend that is The Blackout Roller Blind! Napping children & daytime sunlight don't mix well so I would strongly advise that a blackout blind is fitted. Blackout roller blinds are available now in so many colours & patterns that the choice is vast, there is something out there for everyone. If you would like to look at a range of roller blind options, please contact Ciara. You can even blackout laminate a fabric of your choice for a roller blind. You aren't limited to just a blackout blind of course- blackout lining can be applied to Roman blinds & to curtains too. Blackout lining isn't what it used to be either & now comes in a lightweight, soft composition rather than the heavy, stiff blackout we once knew. If you need a blackout lining sample posted out to you free of charge, please contact Ciara.
If you can fit a dimmer switch, this is the most pleasant way to wake up your sleeping babe (if you dare!) as you can regulate the amount of light shining down on your baby & gradually wake him / her up. Alternatively, try adding recess or accent lighting (LED strip lighting in or above the bookshelves, which doesn't heat up or cast too strong a light). Having a pendant light glaring down into your eyes or whizzing up the blind in one swift motion is bound to put any waking body, young or old, into a bad mood.
Side note: Under new EU legislation, roller blinds & Roman blinds must be fitted using a breakaway system. This means that if the loop chain of a blind is stressed under a certain weight, it is designed to break away or snap to allow release of any strain. This legislation states that the breakaway system must be fitted in a premises where any child 0-42 months may have access to blind pulleys. The fixed cord tensioning system now comes with Roman & roller blinds, which prevents that dangling loop from enticing children & fixes the cord neatly to the wall. Sometimes a cleat suffices, as long as the cleat has been fixed at the minimum regulation height, out of children's reach. However cleats don't look as tidy as the fixed tensioners do. See images.
4: INVEST IN FURNITURE THAT GROWS WITH YOUR CHILD
Changing tables & cots are easy to come by & can be purchased at somewhat affordable prices, as long as you know you'll get the use out of them!
It is wise to purchase pieces that you know can grow with your baby. Most cots nowadays come with the option to convert to a bed. For the Scandi fans amongst my readers, Check out Flexa in Blackrock, County Dublin. They do a fantastic range of furniture from the Flexa High Chair & Flexa Baby Bed which both convert to suit your child from newborn to 4/5+ years (bed) & 12 years (chair). Of course the furniture is an investment, but it means spending less on expendable products that don't last & filling your home with less pieces of bulky furniture.
5: ALWAYS INCLUDE STORAGE
One thing that traditional Irish bedrooms have so very little of is practical storage. It's out with the old standing wardrobe & in with long lasting, functional built-in units designed to suit a growing baby, child, teenager & possibly even a college student (if you can stick them that long!). Don't forget that toddlers & kids love to play hide & seek & create secret dens for themselves so the standing wardrobes are a bit of a hazard here as they will climb into them! Kids come with so much baggage nowadays that it's important to be able to store away the mess!
Changing units are unsightly and bulky. If you have a cot that doesn't include a changing platform (or don't want one mixed with your child's cot) then why not invest in a floating or standing unit or sideboard or even a smart desk instead? The sideboard can act as a nappy storage unit while completing a not-so-babyish look & the desk will serve its purpose down the line after school.
Side note: Of course if you're using floating units or right angled desks, be sure to include corner bumpers or pop bean bags or storage boxes under floating units until babies, toddlers & wobblers are off the ground.
Finally, an off-the-record tip for Mum & Dad:
Choose a very comfy (high back, low armrest) armchair to get cosy on & a neat little footstool to raise your legs for the night feeds and snuggles- there will be plenty of them and you will be exhausted! Don't forget a feather filled scatter cushion & a wool throw for extra comfort! Keep the chair neutral as when your little baby grows up you'll need to make way for toys & sleepovers and may wish to move the chair to another room if needs be! For practicality, steer clear of white or very pale colours on your upholstery as there will be milk spillages, throw ups & sticky little hands!
We are currently working on an original 1950's Parker Knoll armchair, which will be recovered for a young family household, to work in any room, from nursery to living room, study or bedroom. Watch this space, we'll share the before & after with you shortly!
If you have a nursery or children's bedroom you would like some advice on or if you have a project you would like Ciara to work with you on, please contact us today. No job is too small or too demanding. We offer call out consultations for colour specification, spacial arrangement, etc. We also source & supply products, have our own team of dedicated manufacturers and fitters & carry out full fit outs too. After all, we do the homework so you don't have to!
Have a great weekend everybody.
'Til next Friday,
Ciara Eloise Crosbie.
HI | Homework Interiors