Living Etc kindly invited me to give tips about how to design a kids room. (Click here to see the article in full). Often, the only time a child's room is really 'done up' (I am 100% guilty of this) is when the baby first arrives. After that, 'decor' (can we call it that?) evolves and changes as the child grows up. But often as not, it results in a hodge podge of storage, bookshelves, playtables, desks etc.   I wish someone had given me some useful tips when my babies were born for how their rooms might change through the years and I might have resisted creating a perfect vision of baby calm and actually considered the practicalities of making it usable for the years ahead.

Jane's Top Tips for decorating kids rooms:

  • Open shelving. Kids like to see their toys, to make little arrangements and collections.  Ikea's Expedit is great laid out horizontally on it's side, or get a handy man to make you something bespoke. 
  • Low shelving also creates a nice long low work top, so the kids can do lego, colouring, lay out projects without it having to be cleared off a table all the time.
  • Mixed level surfaces, a coffee table for puzzles, a work bench.
  • Younger Kids love mirror - hidden somewhere, it's an automatic peek a boo - even put some plastic mirror on the floor?
  • Nooks. It's a word I have a love/hate relationship with....but children adore having a little place to hide. It can be a curtain hung over a cubby hole, behind a door, next to a wardrobe - somewhere to hide away. It's a house, a tunnel, a ship, a tree, a reading hideaway...nope, a "nook".
  • Low level lighting. Don't just have overhead lighting. Use standing lamps and table lamps to create zones for reading, working, relaxing.
  • Colour - Kids do like colour; but not all the primaries at once!  We try to choose one or two colours (say, Blues & Greens) and then layer geometric prints, and interesting textures but keeping the palette quite tight so that the effect is interesting and cheerful but not garish. Natural colours work well for children.
  • Decoration - I'd try to stay away from cutesy, disney-ish things as the Fairy faze, or tractor faze is not going to last for ever!  Try decorating with non-pictoral wallpaper or fabric and then you can add framed posters of the current 'passion'.
  • Interesting, interactive storage.  I love these magnetic knife racks for keeping cars at a handy level!
  • Kids are just like us and we are like them. If you put them in a white box with flourescent lighting, no soft furniture and over-bright colours - they'll probably behave like monkeys. If you create a calm room, that you would be happy to be in, they'll love it too.  They might even behave....(we can live in hope!)
  • Other things we love: black board magnetic paint. Chalk art!
  • Painting lots of frames a single colour, filling with kids' art - so you have a constantly evolving gallery that looks cohesive.
  • Woodland bunkbeds. Utterly Amazing! The promised bed, below, persuaded my kids to move to London....

Read the Living Etc article here for some inspirational ideas from me,  Ursula of, Jenny Dalton of LittleBig magazine, Catherine Hooperfrom children’s boutique Little Baby Company, and Matthew Tillman at home technology specialists Tillman Domotics all shared their best design tips for children’s rooms in this inspiring article.