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Creating The Best Kids Bedroom Ever!

Interiors

So the kids are at home a whole lot more these days… which probably means their bedrooms are getting more of a workout than usual! To keep them happy (and you sane), it might be time for a room reinvention, to create a space that looks and feels good, where everything has its place. Preferably packed away neatly at the end of the day.

No idea where to start? Our interiors columnist Lauren Li is here to help!

31st March, 2020

Dulux ‘Pancake Mix‘ elevates this nursery to the perfect shade of neutral. Photo – courtesy of Dulux Australia. Stylist – Bree Leech. Photographer – Lisa Cohen.

Lauren Li
Tuesday 31st March 2020

So many designers admit that their first ‘project’ was their own bedroom. It seems that designing their own rooms sparked a lifelong passion for interior design, which made me think about how our childhood bedrooms are so influential in all of our lives.  Childhood bedrooms are a place of independence, where little people can carve out their own space in the world. It’s where they go to sleep and dream, read and play – and sometimes for time-out! It’s a place to keep their books and the things that are precious to them. Kids bedrooms should be a space to spark imagination, feel safe and comforted.

I love kids’ rooms that let them be kids. There should be an opportunity for them to put their stamp on the space, even if their preferred ‘colour palette’ may not flow with the rest of the house. After all, it’s their way of expressing themselves through their surroundings, which is so important! However, at the end of the day, we need to balance their ideas with what will look good. In my experience with my daughters, their influences range from the plastic fantastic Barbie Dream House to Sylvanian Family country cottage. They need guidance!

The best kids rooms happen when their ideas are integrated into the concept for a room, but executed in a more refined way. Above all, the space should show their personality. So if that means a crazy stack of books here, a fleet of plastic trucks there, or a Barbie campervan, then so be it. They won’t be kids forever!

When I design kids’ rooms for my clients, I love to ask the kids a few questions so that I incorporate their ideas. Some kids have never given what their bedroom looks like a second thought, while others provide mood boards! It’s a lot of fun. Be careful what you wish for though, I have been asked to do a cactus/outer space theme… that one was challenging!

Dulux ‘Pancake Mix‘ elevates this nursery to the perfect shade of neutral. Photo – courtesy of Dulux Australia. Stylist – Bree Leech. Photographer – Lisa Cohen.

Dulux ‘Pancake Mix‘ adds warmth to this nursery. Photo – courtesy of Dulux Australia. Stylist – Bree Leech. Photographer – Lisa Cohen.

This is how to create a pretty pink room, while avoiding the princess clichés! The home of Melissa Harris and family. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Kids rooms don’t have to be just blue or pink! This old gold colour painted to dado height is bright and fun yet sophisticated. In the South Yarra home of Mardi Ola. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Room by Studio Giancarlo Valle. Photo –  Stephen Kent Johnson.

Room by Studio Giancarlo Valle. Photo –  Stephen Kent Johnson.

There is hardly a more classic combination than navy and tan, which is perfect for a nursery that will carry through to their teen years and beyond. Room by Nest Design Studio. Photo – Kate Monotti.

Colour

If there is one room in the house you can avoid white, it’s the kid’s bedroom! Even a subtle shift from white to a buttery cream wall (we love Dulux’ Pancake Mix, as seen above!) adds so much warmth and interest to the room, whilst still offering a calm, neutral base.

Painting all of the walls a beautiful colour creates a different feel to the rest of the house, and makes the room feel like it’s really ‘theirs’. Even painting the bottom half of the wall is a great way to introduce colour in an impactful way, without committing to the entire room.

When choosing a colour for the walls, firstly think about what kind of mood you want to create. Sometimes the first thoughts are to go fun and bright, however if you want the room to feel restful (ie. if you want young kids to actually go to sleep!) then maybe consider some more calming and muted colours.

But paint is just one way to use colour in a room, consider how fabric can add gorgeous colour. An upholstered bedhead or curtains can be a great way to incorporate colour, while an incredible canopy over the bed is sure to delight and make bedtime a little more fun!

Using an over-scaled design keeps a floral look young and contemporary. Room by Aimee Tarulli of Archer Interiors. Photo – James Greer.

Room by Nest Design Studio. Photo – Melissa Lau.

Wallpaper

Using wallpaper in a kid’s room is a lot of fun – but it can be totally overwhelming to decide on a design! The more colours in the design, the busier the room will feel. However, if the pattern is quite busy, but incorporates just a few colours, it will look more harmonious overall. I encourage my clients to consider wallpaper on all of the walls in a room, as it creates a continuous backdrop to the room, with less breaks in colour and pattern. My tops pics for wallpaper are:

1. These Walls is an Australian brand perfect for a youthful yet sophisticated look suited to tween – teenage rooms.

2. Anewall print murals to suit the wall size you need and they have some beautiful painterly and overscaled designs.

3. Sandberg is another go-to. The designs are floral but with a sophisticated Swedish twist.

4. If the wallpaper designs out there are not quite right, consider commissioning a mural from a local artist like Kelly Thompson or Leah Bartholomew.

Kids rooms don’t have to be just blue or pink! This old gold colour painted to dado height is bright and fun yet sophisticated. In the South Yarra home of Mardi Ola. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Kids bedroom from the home of Melissa Harris in Box Hill. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Kids’ bedroom from the home of interior architect Edwina Gelann and family. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A kids’ bedroom from the Melbourne home of interior designer Karin Altman. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Kids bedroom in the home of Rachel Castle and family. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The teenage bedroom from the home of Chloe Quigley and family. Photo – Eve Wilson.

Art

There is absolutely no reason that kids shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy art in their bedrooms. There are so many types of artwork – consider prints, vintage posters, fabulous tea-towels by Third Drawer Down, mobiles and even kids’ own masterpieces!

Art can also be found in more traditional gallery spaces, however, broaden your search to markets (like The Big Design Market), Etsy, antique stores and auction houses. Try using different coloured frames and arranging them in creative ways.

Artists such as Pete Cromer, Rachel Castle and Hello Miss May are great places to start. Check out the collections by Pinky’s Store, Contemporary Editions, Minted and Paper Collective.

The Sorrento weekender of Kate from Kip & Co features clever under bed storage in the kids bedroom. All bedlinen and blankets from Kip & co.  Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

The kids’ room in Jac + Ash Rowan’s Fitzroy North home. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Front-facing perspex bookshelves from Ubabub, in the adorable kids’ bedroom in the Fitzroy apartment of Imogen Milford. Photo – Amelia Stanwix. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Plywood crates by Like Butter, in the kids bedroom in the home of Georgie Cleary and Pino Demaio. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Storage, shelving + keeping things tidy!

Storage is key in keeping my sanity at home, but I’ve found that there is some storage that works better than others. To get the kids to pack up their own things (I can dream right?), storage needs to be accessible. High shelves don’t work, because they simply can’t reach them, so opt for low shelving and cupboards. There needs to be a combination of open and closed storage; they like to keep some of their favorite things on display, whilst games can go in a cupboard.

Too many baskets filled with toys can just take up floor space, so put your baskets into shelves. The key is to have a place for everything to go – lego, games, toys and barbies all have a ‘home’.

Kids love to have a special drawer or cupboard for their precious things (mostly consisting of rocks from the garden, erasers from Smiggle and stickers). Mustard have a great range of lockers that make perfect bedside tables for small people.

Plyroom do an open shelf that suits books and baskets, with a range of furniture that suits little kids and transitions into pieces to keep for life.

Ubabub design and manufacture a clear acrylic shelf, the Booksee that allows the books to front face so that kids can easily see and access their books.

Pinky’s Store has cute colourful crates that stack.

The String Pocket is a perfect way for them to display their favorite toys (let’s face it, maybe your idea of a nice wooden handmade toy is different to the Shopkins and matchbox cars given to them by the grandparents) but almost anything displayed on this nifty Swedish system looks good.

Gorgeous kids bunks in the home of Alex McCabe of Kip & Co. Photo – Amelia Stanwix. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A tent-style bed in Finn’s bedroom in the Fitzroy apartment of Imogen Milford. Photo – Amelia Stanwix. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Kids quadruple bunks (!) in the gorgeous Eltham home of Sunni Hart and family. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

Kids bedroom in the Warrandyte home of Emma Clark Gratton. Photo – Caitlin Mills. Styling – Annie Portelli.

A sweet kids bedroom in the former home of Poppy Lane and Scott Gibson and family in Eltham.  Photo – Annette O’Brien.

Sleep Zone

Bunk beds are having a moment. They certainly have the novelty factor, especially custom-made bunks, with curtains for added bonus points! Bunks give kids the kind of space where they can hide and feel cocooned and safe. A little shelf to keep their favorite books close, with a reading light inside makes bedtime a little more enticing. Well, we can hope!

In terms of bedlinen – this is the quickest and most affordable way to add impact easily to a kids room. Letting them choose their own bedlinen (from an edited selection!) is a way that they can take pride in their own choices too. A great way to create a room that looks cohesive is to select the bedlinen first and then choose a wall colour based in the bedlinen. Afterall, the bedlinen selection is limited compared to the paint colours available!

Pony Rider, Kip & Co, Sage & Clare, Rachel Castle, Society of Wanderers, Little Louli and even your local Adairs proves there is absolutely no shortage of gorgeous bedlinen for kids!

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