Creating a lasting effect...
14th June 2016
Like so many others, I was always adamant that my home wouldn't be overtaken by plastic toys and Barbie curtains when I had children. Luckily I had two boys, so Barbie was never really going to be a problem anyway, but I was quite careful in my choices when it came to creating the boys' bedrooms, both in my previous house in Clifton and in the country house we moved to last autumn. I wanted to decorate their bedrooms in a style that will grow up with them, one that will last as they move through the different stages of babyhood and childhood and that won't evoke that "urgh, it's SO babyish" response the minute they hit their tenth year. They have a few years to go so time will tell, but for now I am quite pleased that the bedrooms don't look too babyish for either of my boys.
Arthur, my 4 year old (and a real character with an eccentricity that I adore!) is going through a Spiderman phase at the moment. He is totally obsessed - I've woken up at 5.30 in the morning before to find him standing at the foot of our bed in his Spiderman outfit - and we have a lot of Spiderman toys as a result. This sort of thing is exactly why I went for the beautiful green toy box that I bought from a junk shop when he was born. It does a wonderful job of keeping things like Spiderman hidden out of sight (but never out of mind!) His bedroom is decorated in the Wire Haired Dachshund design which is a really sweet fabric for children without being too childish. Alongside his daxi covered armchair, blinds and cushions, he has the old bed that I had when I was little, some lovely old lamps and an old school blanket from Highgrove that is hand knitted. It makes for quite a vintage style, and the thing I love most is that I won't have to change it a million times before he turns into a teenager.
Fergus is younger at 2, and he's going through that brilliant stage of back-to-front language as he learns to talk. I find him hilarious, he really has a brilliant sense of humour. Like Artur's, his bedroom is quite vintage in style, with old books, a few vintage toys and some lovely wooden ones from Great Little Trading Company. Interestingly, both boys have played more with their older, more traditional and wooden toys than with any plastic toys and they instinctively play with them more carefully. It's quite nice to see. I chose the Blue Dachshund design for Fergus's room because it's such a lovely soft colour. He's got a beautiful old vintage bed spread too that complements the Blue Dachshund perfectly, and I've gone for a bit of a doggy theme overall, with lots of little dog pictures and stuffed toys. Again, it's a sweet look but it's not too babyish.
If I had a daughter, I might think about the Pink Dachshund, although there's always that thing with pink and girls, and I'm not sure I'd want to go down that road too much. In the end I'd probably go for an eclectic look, mixing two or three designs with a ticking stripe to bring them all together perhaps. The Quince is a cheerful colour, and you could mix that with the Quince Ticking Stripe and one other design for quite an uplifting bedroom style. The Waterbirds design would be lovely in a child's bedroom too. For me, the key is in choosing a slightly more grown-up design with nostalgic appeal, and creating that lovely vintage look with bits and bobs found at junk shops, old lamps and keeping toys to a minimum.