Homes:Our children are REVOLTING.. (and how we styled our way to a happy ending)


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Not in that way obviously…..(well actually, maybe just a little bit). Our tribe have finally all moved into their own rooms now that the loft is complete and above -5 degrees, and have been surprisingly vocal with their ideas when it has come to our homes decor – who knew?!!  They’ve clearly thought about it and expressed (with some vision), what they would and importantly, would not like. Am stunned and delighted in equal measure.
HomeJust this weekend, eldest son and his teenage mates rolled through the front door in their laconic Kevin-and-Perry-esque manner (collective noun for teens anyone?).  Shortly before they inhaled the entire contents of the fridge and descended the stairs to the playroom in the basement, they conversed in a dialect to which I am becoming accustomed but not yet able to fully understand. Its a mixture of insults (nube, lame-oh, pohn..??) and several-words-joined-together-in-a-hurry (to save time and effort I assume). In a jersey-clad, hormonal huddle, they moved as one, called to worship at the mighty alter of Xbox and then a really strange thing happened. One of them spoke quite clearly and said, “that is a REALLY beautiful mirror” and the other two (possibly three I am not honestly sure) agreed……

To assume then that all kids are completely unaware of or ambivalent to their surroundings is a mistake. Dont get me wrong, they are NOT happy to trade screen-time to particpate in lengthy hours of wallpaper selection, nor keen to help strip the (hateful) woodchip off but, given a choice on colours or designs or layout, they probably have an opinion or at least a preference.
(Top tip: don’t ask them generally what they would like their room to look like or they’ll say they want it purple with a machine that gets them dressed and like, a wall of computers….you need to narrow their options a little).

With online/direct mail specialist stores like Great Little Trading, Ferm Living and Aspace leading the charge and major retailers such as John Lewis, Next and Ikea all offering on-trend ranges for the small people in your lives its not difficult (nor expensive unless you so choose) to create funky rooms for any age group. Scratch the surface a tiny bit in web-land and there is a host of interiors sites proffering swoon-worthy items of great taste and design for your kinder. Thomas the Tank and My Little Pony are NOT your only options, (although its nigh-on bloody impossible to get anything WITHOUT Star Wars plastered all over it, that takes real persistence!)
Kids bedrooms often double up as work and play spaces too, not just somewhere to sleep and so its an opportunity to go bold on colours or pattern. If they’re a challenging size or shared, you’ve got to be thinking space-saving bunks or highsleepers and creative storage. At this point Pinterest and a good carpenter are your new best friends.
There is literally a world of inspiration online – enough to steal your sleep for a month or more. And simply search the Kids section on atmine.com and you will be blown away by the number of stylish and creative ideas you can fit in to your own home for the kids, which fall easily on the eye for you. Dont even start me on smallable.com…..
Playrooms in particular can be somewhere to really let go and interject fun, colour and themed décor without resorting to a Disney-sponsored vision of hell that Dante would be proud to include; your goal being somewhere they actually want to spend time. If you don’t have a separate space for playing in or space is at a premium, the selection of storage and accessories now readily available is SO good, it needn’t mean decorating their end of your kitchen or front room like the Cbeebies set. (Actually, the cbeebies set is quite good, but you know what I mean).
SLXLMMarmite canvas (Bloomsbury) house shelf H&M
Ikea is no big secret but H&M home, Tiger and even Amazon have some budget-level loveliness which kids can fit all that ‘precious’ stuff into at the end of a busy days play.    A word of caution when choosing; they’re fickle and change their mind like the wind, so avoid going the whole deal if you do pick a character or motif. My friend purchase the entire Dora room set including wallpaper, clock, curtains and desk…only for her little girl to cry every night because she was ‘scared of the monkey’ and didn’t really like purple because it ‘made her feel sad’.
Expensive lesson learned.
For a bedroom or a playroom/space I begin with paint or paper in a neutral colour (by neutral I mean something that goes with everything – not beige) maybe a cool grey, a denim blue or a pale, plaster pink if you want to be really on it style-wise. Then, go mad on bright or industrial accessories / a funky print and some patterned storage. Then you’ll never regret a really great rug, (the busier the better if its in a room which doubles as your space when they’re not around as it doesn’t show every tiny mark). And there is always room for a string of pom-poms or stars.
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 I know, not rocket science but I do see folk compromising their space and taste just because they’re parents. Re-claim the house ! Work with these tiny dictators and have fun making somewhere you can all have down time.. What was it Winston Churchill said..’Never, Never, Never Grow Up…..’ Right?! I am *sure* thats what he said.
There’s some very clever people out there who are happy to share their genius for the pint-sized and the heavy-of-crayon.  If you’d like the sleep-saving, fast-track edit of where to look then I am happy to recommend a few of my faves, so if you want something a bit different or like shopping the independents then give these a whirl.
                                                                                         Storage bags in various prints by Southwood Stores
 Hats & gloves, Lego, cuddly toys ….you name it, they would all happily reside in here and best of all, the kids can help fill this !! So much goodness at this online hub of energy, good design and good vibes.
www.smallable.com    Oh.My.Wow.    this is a mind-blowing department store for the design-conscious and most of it would be in my basket….. some fabulous and really original stuff . Homewares and party stationery, baskets, and much more. My absolute fave .
Joy abound. This is such a great independent site and combines a range of modern and vintage inspired items. Products that grow with your children and look equally at home in a kids room or your living room. Tick VG.
Lullabuy stocks some unique designer baby products including a beautiful array of wall stickers, wallpaper, cushions, mobiles and their unforgettable shark baby sleeping bags and furniture & toys. Yippee and three cheers for Lullabuy.
I leave it to owner Flora to describe as she basically NAILS IT….”violet and percy is a UK lifestyle and interiors shop influenced by some of my favourite things: British humour, Scandinavian cool and a pop of Mediterranean sunshine.My aim has always been to hand pick items that I love and that aren’t always necessarily accessible to a lot of people. I only stock products that I love and would buy myself.” See?  Flora must have been the coolest girl in school. Her selection is BEYOND cool and love the styling of the website too. Tres Bien Flora.
Had to include this one as though not strictly a kids interiors shop, its children’s room section is utterly fab. And the rest of the selection is a brilliant blend of ‘them and us’ stuff that would look amazing in any room in the home….because interiors are for life and living and god knows, noone needs a Frozen poster in their lounge.
Until next time…. race you to the shops !
Adventures in styling – if you like ’em, share ’em!
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