You know how it goes. You’ve found your dream house and finally made it a home, a home you’re proud of, a place you want to be. A sanctuary with the deVOL kitchen and Baby Tyne bathtub you always dreamed of.
Then, along come children. Sticky fingers and porridge stains blot the walls, muddy footprints mark the floors and (no matter how great your objections) mounds of plastic appear, everywhere!
Of course, you say it doesn’t matter. That you’d rather have children than a show home, but deep down it does. It doesn’t have to be this way. There is a happy balance to be had as colour consultant, as Gina Oliver explains…
“With twenty years in the interiors business I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve been asked whether you can have a stylish home that looks and feels good – with kids. The answer is, of course, yes. There are many ways to do this – aesthetically pleasing storage – and lots of it, child-free zones and wipe clean walls. But, for me, adding touches of colour around your home is the best way to transform it into a comfortable and nurturing space for the whole family. Colour can add warmth and even induce calm – and what family doesn’t need that?!
How to colour code your home
If the thought of taking a paint brush to your gleaming white walls fills you with horror, then why not start in your child zones?
Pink – the colour of the moment it seems – is soothing and eases tension. It’s nurturing and compassionate. And so, boy or girl, it’s the perfect hue for a nursery.
Orange promotes joy and warmth, fun and security so it’s great for a playroom.
Lavender, heather and lilac are great for bedrooms as are mint, sage, jade and pistachio as these are all restorative, restful and calm.
Choose safe paints
When adding colour choose a paint that’s free from oils and acrylics. This means no nasty emissions or horrible smells. Go for durable and washable emulsions as these can be wiped down and stains, washed off. My personal favourite is from Earthborn. These paints are safe for people and the environment. So safe, in fact, they can be used on toys. And they’re great for children’s furniture as they don’t even need a primer.
You don’t have to go straight for the walls, or for that matter the ceiling. Yes, painted and even wallpapered ceilings are very ‘now’. Soft furnishings and decorations are a great way to add colour and can be easily changed. Start with cushions, throws and rugs and take it from there.
Gina’s nursery design
People often ask me where to start when it comes to decorating a room. Here, I’ve chosen a reversible playmat from the fantastic brand Play with Pieces UK as the focal point of this nursery design.
Unlike most playmats these are non-toxic, waterproof, easy to clean and don’t pull apart or break – and they’re ultra-stylish too.
The soft, cushioned design promotes baby milestones like tummy time, crawling and walking. I’ve styled the room around the patterned side as the Moroccan-inspired print really caught my eye, but the monochrome side would work well too.
For the walls I’ve chosen the soft blue tone of Earthborn Gingham as this creates a feeling of calm and balance. Doors, windows and skirtings are painted in Earthborn The Lido – adding a positive edge to the room. On the fifth wall, aka the ceiling, I’ve chosen a Farrow & Ball paper – Yakuturi. A calming flock of birds and a great design to see when you wake or drift off to sleep.
Accessories are key here and for me, the gorgeous Camomile London range is the only way to go. Designed in London and hand crafted in India, the style, simplicity and quality of these pieces is exceptional. The bumper in teal and cushion in ticking stripe compliment the walls and the playmat perfectly.
To add some fun and vibrancy I’ve gone for Pea’s treetop bedding. This new company’s quirky ranges grow with your child and appeal to parents wishing to avoid the, almost inevitable, character duvet. Their light green picture shelf and unicorn print look great in this setting. And the perfect finishing touch is Meminio’s memory case. Here in navy and duck egg blue.
Blue Moroccan/ Stripe Play Mat, Play with Pieces
Ticking Stripe House Cushion, Camomile London
Gauze Bumper, Camomile London
The Lido, Earthborn
Pink Leaf/Geo Play Mat, Play with Pieces
Duck Egg Large Merino Case, Meminio
Navy Merino Case, Meminio
Star/Camo Play Mat, Play with Pieces
Bedding Set, Pea
Unicorn Poster Print, Pea
Article by Rhiane Kirkby