As easy as child’s play

A new interiors bible shows that family life doesn’t have to mean an end to good design. By Trish Lorenz

When you have young children it can sometimes feel that style at home takes a back seat to the practicalities of family life. If you’re searching for ways to make your house feel more elegant and adult while accommodating all the ages that live there, take a look at Creative Family Home by Ashlyn Gibson, which is published next month.

The book tackles practical and decorative issues and looks at how to bridge the gap between style conscious parents, lively toddlers and everyone in between. Alongside ideas on using colour and pattern, suggestions for making the most of your space and practical storage solutions, the book also features real homes from across Europe notable for their fresh ideas on family living.

Gibson’s approach is to involve children in decorating decisions and to encourage an individual aesthetic where the whole family is given leave to express themselves. “It’s about creating a unique vibe that resonates for your family rather than a home that takes its lead from fashion,” she says.

That could mean making it a family project to collect objects for the home or taking children to art galleries to help them become inspired about choosing colours for their rooms. “I took my daughter to an exhibition that she really loved and when we came home I taped off a section of her bedroom wall and let her paint it. She created something that was really inspired by what she’d seen,” says Gibson.

It’s important to be relaxed about the process – and the outcome, too. “Kids respond to spontaneity so try not to be too structured or rigid. You need to give some guidance and inspire them but it’s important to allow their imagination to run free.”

Creative Family Home by Ashlyn Gibson, pictures by Rachel Whiting, published by Ryland Peters & Small, is published next month, £19.99,