Drowning in Lego? Overwhelmed by primary colours? Lisa Mehydene, founder of online interiors store edit58, shares her tips for decorating children’s rooms in style
LISA’S DAUGHTER MILA IN HER BEDROOM, WITH A MINIKNOTS RUG AS A WALL HANGING. IMAGE: LISA MEHYDENE
You have seven-year-old twins – did they ever share a room?
Milla and George only ever shared a room in the very early days of their lives when they were still sleeping in moses baskets at the side of our bed! Once we moved them out of our room at three-months-old, they went into separate rooms. I was a little obsessed with them waking each other up, and wanted to avoid that at all costs!
How did you approach decorating your children’s rooms?
We moved from Singapore to London when Mila and George were two-and-a-half. I knew this house would be our home for a number of years to come and that their rooms would need to grow with them – I also didn’t want to have to go to the expense of re-decorating in the near future. I like a traditional aesthetic in a child’s room so we painted the floorboards white, the walls grey and had very simple Ian Mankin candy striped roman blinds made.
Furniture wise, we went very classic in both rooms with iron beds and vintage Ercol miniature chairs as bedside tables. We used rugs, bedding, cushions, toys, artwork and mementoes to add colour, character and warmth to each room. These things are also simple to switch up as they grow and can continue to allow their personalities and interests to shine through, whatever their age.
LISA AT HOME AND WITH HER SEVEN-YEAR-OLD TWINS, MILA AND GEORGE
Have your children had any input into how you’ve decorated their rooms?
Definitely, as they’ve grown. I tend to give them choices: which animal head/s would you like? What would you like written on your baskets? What art should we put up on your walls – X or Y? Which print for the bed linen do you prefer? That way the choice is theirs, but they are selecting from things I love! It’s compromise, shall we say?!
How do you keep your children’s rooms clutter-free?
Baskets are my go-to for keeping the kiddie paraphernalia at bay. They also really help to encourage the children to tidy up themselves, particularly the edit58 embroidered baskets. Everything has a home and it helps them know where things go when they do an end of day ’sweep’ of their space before bath time.
I also love vintage trunks. George has a lovely blue one lined with vintage wallpaper that houses his tracks and vehicles, and another with hardback books in it. Mila has a vintage pram that stores her books and she loves wheeling it over to her bed at night to select her bedtime reading material.
It’s also worth getting creative and thinking how you can actually display their toys so they look nice and are easily accessible. We use a picture shelf for this in both rooms and the children have pictures, postcards, books, souvenirs, art, figurines and toys on display and which they constantly update and rearrange.
A SELECTION OF PORTUGUESE PAPIER-MACHE ANIMAL HEADS, AVAILABLE AT EDIT58.COM
Are you precious about anything in your home when it comes to your children?
Our home is somewhere I want every member of our family to feel comfortable and completely relaxed. It isn’t a show home and it’s the children’s space as much as it is mine and my husband’s. I also think that our house is quite child friendly – we only have floorboards, all the paint on the walls is washable emulsion from Little Greene, and we are lucky in that they have their own floor in our house with their own bathroom. I turn a blind eye to the mess on the weekends by just not going up there if I can help it!
For me, the key thing is that they understand that they need to respect the space. We are strict about things like taking their shoes off, making their bed, tidying away their toys and putting their washing in the laundry basket. We’re strict about it, but that’s not to say they always do it! Those things are more important to us than worrying about items getting broken or them playing with ‘our things’.
What do your children love most about their rooms?
I recently got Mila a classic desk and chair from our local charity shop and this is without doubt her favourite part of her room now. She spends hours lifting up the lid and rearranging her stationery stash, and then writing and drawing. It’s really sweet to see. George’s favourite part would have to be his baskets full of Lego. He goes to bed each night making Lego and wakes up each morning and starts building. We had to create a cabinet for him to store his finished creations!
A SELECTION OF MINIKNOTS RUGS, ALL AVAILABLE AT EDIT58.COM
Lisa top three decorating tips…
1. Start with a neutral backdrop. I really like having a simple, clean palette in my children’s room and then allowing their things to provide the colour and visual interest. I am also a huge fan of not having carpet in their bedrooms and using rugs for warmth and texture – it’s so much easier to keep clean.
2. Style up even the most mundane of items in their room. It will help the space look pulled together and give you pleasure knowing everything has a home! For example, I store all my daughter’s shoes on a pretty tray under her wardrobe. All her hair ties and bits of jewellery go into used Bon Maman glass jam jars. Her favourite pieces of artwork are put on the wall above her desk using pretty Washi tape. Mini Liberty print suitcases hide a lot of sins, but look beautiful stacked up and are easy for her to carry around the house and play with the contents in a different room. Necklaces are hung over vintage bamboo mirrors. And of course, baskets – you can never, ever have enough.
3. Buy cheap vintage furniture. It adds character and you can paint it to make it work in the space. Plus, it’s generally well made and can take the inevitable knocks the children will provide it with! In Mila’s room we bought a vintage armoire from Ebay for about £35 and painted it. I switched the handles to pretty, childlike Nathalie Lete ones from Anthropologie. I also purchased a simple chest of drawers from a vintage shop and painted each drawer a different colour and changed the handles to glass ones. Really simple, easy to do and it now feels like something designed with my daughter in mind.
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