As the school summer holidays edge closer, our thoughts turn to keeping our youngsters occupied within the home. Andy Richardson, Managing Director at interior design specialists, Edward Thomas Interiors discusses design inspiration for children’s bedrooms and how to make these spaces memorable, playful and functional.
Typically, children’s bedrooms tend to be the smallest rooms in the house but in our experience, are often the most memorable. Thinking about when a family arrives to view a show home, our aim is for it to appeal to all ages; with younger children you want to create surprise and delight that makes them instantly want to play, and with older children you want to stir imagination for creating their own private space. Ultimately, it’s about giving parents peace of mind that their children can feel comfortable in new surroundings.
So where do we start? Essentially it’s a combination of realism, aspiration and playfulness. We want to think about what will entertain children but also demonstrate the room as a functional space. Rather than just standing in the doorway, we want house hunters to come into the room and explore. Themes are a fantastic way to achieve this – not only can it create a wow moment for a youngster but also appeals to the inner child in every adult!
We’ve styled bedrooms as safaris, princess castles, farmyards, boats and even in line with popular films like Paddington Bear or Spiderman. Beds made bespoke in the shape of London buses, tractors, chicken coops or VW camper vans can really make a statement and are especially indicative of the staycation/outdoorsy lifestyle we’re all experiencing. For older children or teenagers, we keep a more neutral style and try to think about their interests – are they into sports, fashion, travel, films? How might we capture this with accessories, wallpaper or artwork?
Of course we also want to be thoughtful and functional with our designs. Children like to collect things, whether that’s toys or mementos from holidays or day trips, so there needs to be plenty of storage. We want to encourage play and hobbies – so something like a small table and chairs where they can have tea parties or build forts could be included. Since the pandemic, we’ve also been adding areas for home schooling. The lockdowns have been really awkward for children so we want to make their learning spaces fun, like a reading corner or arts and crafts bench. Lastly, it is important children feel included so simple things like hanging mirrors or pictures lower so they can see can them make a big difference.
One of the biggest barriers when styling children’s rooms is that their tastes change very quickly so we have to think about how designs can evolve. In many of our themed bedrooms, we use hand painted murals – while these can be really eye-catching and a focal point, they can just as easily be removed by re-painting or wallpapering. Accessories and lighting are another way to transform a room – don’t dismiss the local car boot or flea market for second-hand or vintage pieces that can be upcycled at minimal cost.
I suppose my overall message is to have fun with it, children’s bedrooms are just as much a sanctuary as adult ones so let personalities be expressed and imaginations run wild!
Images: A selection of young children and teenage bedrooms as designed and styled by Edward Thomas Interiors.