WORDS: ANNE SCHAUFFER IMAGES: SHUTTERSTOCK

There are two aspects to decorating a child’s room. Firstly, a theme, and then, making it functional – never over-cluttered – within that theme. Your child may know what theme they’d like, but if not, trends abound.

Pauline Parker, founder and owner, Ma Petite, suggests two: floral patterns, and back to nature. “Floral walls in both wallpaper and wall stickers are big, making walls the focal point of the room. Classic peonies and roses have taken over, creating a soft feminine space for little girls. Pair the bold flowers with solid colours on the bedding and soft finishes in complementary shades for a romantic bedroom.”

And nature? “Children’s rooms should be a place where imaginations soar. The inclusion of cute woodland, tropical and safari animals brings the beauty of nature back inside. These animals can be incorporated into all aspects of the room from hanging animal heads, wall stickers and bedding. I love including animal prints with other natural beauties such as rainbows, forest trees, and moon lights. This theme works beautifully with natural wooden pieces and woven baskets.”
Leigh Cattell Interiors’ is designer for the Simply Child brand. Leigh feels we should be mindful that this is a kids’ room and not our lounge or our chosen taste level, “but” she says, “it does need to be inspiring. It’s about creating a space which ties together through colour and texture”.

Leigh is strong on pointers to be considered first, then interpreted within the chosen theme. Some are “zones”, others are considerations. Take a bed – it can be anything from a car to a house, depending on your theme – find themed linen to pull it all together. “If your theme is dinosaurs, incorporate dino linen, dino paw vinyls on the wall, and a dino light. The entire room doesn’t need to be dino – bring the room to life through paint or wallpaper (a feature wall really helps to tie together a colour scheme).

Here are her top priorities:

Play furniture

Bring our “traditional” outdoor play, inside, by incorporating slides, climbing walls and balance boards. This is a great tool for bringing in natural texture and wood into the room design, to off-set plastic toys. Other great ways to incorporate play is through tepees or mini furniture sets, and so on.

Role-play corner

This can be a space for making forts or camp outs or tepee fun, a mini stage for concerts or even a space to set up a teddy bear school. Allow your children to be young, and use their imaginations for make-believe. This is the best kind of stimulation. It’s also something they can play with you, with friends or alone for some down time. (This could also be the bed – a draped canopy over it.)

Art creativity

There are multiple ways to achieve this. A kids table and chair set, a wallpaper roll, blackboard, or even paint the wall with chalk paint.

Domesticity

Kids love impersonating parents – the way we cook, bake, wash and iron or shop. Kitchen or countertop set ups in bedrooms work for this type of play. Include pots, pans, tea sets, mini stove and so on.

Floor space

Depending on bedroom size, allow floor space for creative games, puzzles and building. A cluttered room can overwhelm kids, so allow for easy moving around furniture to create this space.

Reading

Create a reading corner with book shelves or ledges for easy reach, along with a floor cushion or two, or a rug for comfort – a great way to spend quality time with your kids.

Accessibility

We often design elements for an adult in a kids room. Rather place storage boxes and shelves at a kids’ height to empower them to unpack or tidy up toys for themselves, as well as hanging jackets or towels on hooks at a lower level. These small changes can lead to some independence and ownership of their own bedrooms.

Storage

When decorating, make storage top of mind – it comes in all shapes and forms. Large book shelves or cubes with drawers/baskets/canvas holders for toys. Consider labels for easy pack up at the end of the day. This way toys last longer, don’t get lost and you can rotate the toys – this gets much more use out of them. Other solutions are toy boxes, sacks, standing storage bags, under-bed drawers, and school lockers in metal or mesh.