Ask the designer: Decorating for children

Q Our new arrival is due this summer — any advice on decorating a baby’s room that will last?

A. Firstly — congratulations. As well as creating a soothing and tranquil space for your new arrival, a nursery should provide a practical space for storage, feeding and changing your baby. Consider investing in a cot that converts to a toddler bed in time, and a chest of drawers with a changing area on top that can be removed once baby is older. A wardrobe with lots of shelving and pull-out baskets is invaluable, both for sorting items and concealing clutter. In terms of decor, the easiest option is to keep the flooring neutral and paint the walls in your chosen colour. Accessorise with co-ordinating bedding, wall decals and blackout curtains or blinds.

Planned properly, the nursery should see your child right through the toddler years.

Q. My 6-year-old twins’ shared bedroom is due a makeover — how can I decorate it to suit my son and daughter’s very different tastes?

A. My suggestion is to keep the base colour of the floor and walls relatively neutral — then let them go crazy within their own personal zones. If the beds are against separate walls, you could paint them each a different colour. Then co-ordinate with bedding that combines the two colours. Customised headboards or bespoke painted lettering would also help give each child their own space within the shared bedroom area.

A giant magnetic notice board at either bed is a great idea to display their personal artwork and posters, etc.

Q. We’re converting our garage into a playroom for our four children, aged 3-9 years — but what type of flooring and storage is best?

A. Most people use laminate flooring for a playroom as it’s durable, attractive and easy to clean. I recommend Balterio laminate flooring — but linoleum or vinyl are good options too. Finish with a large rug for added comfort for little feet. Regarding storage, with four kids consider having one full wall of storage — incorporating shelving, drawers and large pull-out baskets or containers to keep everything tidy. Put up wall hooks to keep coats and schoolbags off the floor. Lastly, invest in a sofa or bean bags for when they run out of energy.

Q. I’m dreading the thought of redecorating my teenage daughter’s bedroom — where should I begin?

A. A teen’s room must fulfil many criteria — chief among them sleeping, relaxing, studying and socialising with friends. From the positioning of the bed to the study desk and chair, planning each element of the design with precision will help avoid having to face another redesign in a year’s time. You should also encourage your daughter to collect images of the styles, colours, etc., that appeal to her. Teenagers love to personalise their space — so think about introducing a feature wall that’s unique to your daughter, such as digital wallpaper made from her favourite photo.


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