Mary Boston, founder of Firefly Interiors, designed the interiors for Cupcake, the member’s club and spa for mothers, fathers and mothers-to-be. ‘Gloriously single’ (her words, not mine) and without children, Boston described the job as a ‘baptism of fire’. This is what she learnt about planning rooms with little ones in mind:
1. Don’t be a snob, make friends with Ikea – The Swedish designers are second to none, especially for children’s storage. Teach children to tidy up with Ikea’s Troffast range, plastic units with multi-coloured drawers in different sizes. The Ikea Mammut range of plastic children’s furniture with bulbous elephantine legs is cheap as chips and stylish.
2. Choose designs that last into adulthood – Cissy Cook creates 3D retro name boxes using vintage images of spitfires, sailing boats, butterflies or flowers. Each image and letter is meticulously cut out making it a unique artwork. Susie Watson’s shabby chic fabrics, that take you back to a pre-war style, work for children and won’t date.
3. Think colour psychology - Sleeping in a brightly coloured room is not restful. Avoid red and bright yellow as they don’t aid sleep. Use soft colours in a child’s bedroom.
4. The fridge is only so big – Showcase children’s drawings using metallic paint (such as Marabu Magnetico) to make your wall magnetic. Hang a stainless steel sheet from Ikea’s kitchen department (ensure there are no sharp edges) or paint blackboard paint below hip height.
5. Buy a Magic Eraser - Wet this slightly brittle sponge to remove marks on walls. Wipe over with a slightly damp cloth if necessary after use to remove residue. It’s genius, a must for any parent. Buy them from Poundland, Robert Dyas or Amazon.
6. Sew a textured quilt – Go mad with texture, colour and noise and make a quilt using plastic foil, wool and pom poms from Hobby Craft. Perhaps a nesting job for the few weeks before giving birth?
7. Balance texture, colour and function - The under-fives are learning very manually and need constant stimulation. Think in those terms when designing. Use plenty of texture like cushions with mirrors in, contrasting colours and interesting rugs. I like the educational and design-led Hand Made wallpaper from Paper Boy wallpaper; it’s a collection of shadow hand puppets.
8. Make a mural interactive – Budget depending, commission a muralist (like Anna Smith of muraldesign.co.uk) to paint a wall. To keep it interesting, choose a theme like an aquarium or jungle that can be changed with repositionable wall stickers from Becky and Lolo.
9. Dig the lava lamp vibe – Placed high out of reach, a lava lamp makes a hypnotic alternative to a nightlight. They're mesmerising and provide a warm, gentle glow.
10. Treat your home as an evolution - Don’t be too precious about your furniture. If children damage or scribble on it, think of it as part of their (the furniture, not the offspring) charm.Reuse content