Pastels or primaries? A frieze with fairies or Ferraris? Child-friendly décor used to be a matter of making simple decisions, then applying them to a bedroom or nursery – the fickle clients were bound to outgrow it all by the time they reached school age. But things have changed radically of late.
Children have become equal partners in many of our interior-design decisions, as the needs of the junior members of our households have increasingly influenced the shape of our homes. Grown-up design sensibilities now have to find common ground with the recreational and educational requirements of our children, making the domestic arena a communal space that is truly enjoyed by all.
1 Bold colours
What’s on the agenda when it comes to trends? “Pastel colours are a bit done,” says Anna Barber, co-founder of the family-focused interior design studio House of Kin. “We love using big, strong ‘heritage’ colours. And it doesn’t have to be bright red, yellow and blue. We use bold colours that children adore – in tones that don’t give adults a headache.”
2 Shared space
Increasingly, we want to incorporate child-friendly areas throughout our homes, rather than confine them to the nursery or playroom. With open-plan living, the decision is whether or not to zone. If you choose to allocate a specific area to those with small, restless feet, Barber recommends using colour all the way down to the skirting, on the ceiling and across shelving and units to create a defined space.
Another thing to consider in areas dedicated to younger members of the household is eye level. Getting down on your hands and knees will reveal what they see – which is likely to be skirting boards and table legs. “Bring kids’ artwork and murals down,” Barber suggests.
Adding storage for toys at a level that little ones can easily access will encourage tidying, so the room transforms into a more adult-focused space come bedtime. The trend for natural fabrics and organic textiles is one that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike: think soft cotton muslins, woollen throws and sheepskin-upholstered seats. Adding layers of natural texture softens a space, creating a sensual environment that will appeal to all generations.